Posts

Fresh Vegetable Minestrone Soup

This fresh vegetable minestrone soup is packed with fresh veggies and herbs — it is truly amazingly delicious and healing. It’s like a hug in a bowl… Food really is the best medicine!
fresh vegetable minestrone soup

We are not vegetarians here in my house. I lean that way, but the rest of my family does not. So, oftentimes when I make a vegan or a vegetarian dish, some people — who shall remain nameless — don’t feel like they’ve had a “real” meal. They feel gypped. I, of course, think this is ridiculous, but sometimes it’s just not worth the fight or even an explanation.

And then sometimes I can make a vegetarian dish that’s so hearty, nobody thinks twice about it. That’s this Fresh Vegetable Minestrone Soup. It’s so jam-packed with so many things, nobody will miss the meat.

Vegetable-forward soups are my favorite kind of soups. Don’t get me wrong, I love a meatball soup and my Cheeseburger Soup is a huge favorite in my house.  BUT, they are not my beloved fresh veggie soups.

Some people like creamy, smooth soups. Some people like hearty, chunky soups. I love them all. This Fresh Vegetable Minestrone Soup is of the hearty, chunky variety and it is awesome. It’s a great clean-out-the-fridge soup because really, almost anything you’ve got will taste great in this recipe.

I like to add lots of immune-boosting ingredients to my soups and this one is no exception.  Oregano, scallions, and garlic are present in this recipe. Each one of these ingredients packs a big immune-boosting punch and together they are exceedingly powerful, making it perfect for the cold damp months of winter here in New York. And, because I’m not concerned with keeping this soup completely vegetarian, I like to use bone broth for the base of it — extra healing power!

One of the things I teach my clients is that’s it much easier to stay on track with whatever healthy eating/lifestyle plan you are on, if you always keep a big pot of soup in your fridge. I love to make one soup each week and then I can have something healthy and delicious to eat when I come home ravenous. This soup serves this purpose really well because it makes for great leftovers — I’ve even eaten it cold straight from the fridge. Others in my house will heat it up with some Parmesan cheese on top or with a piece of crusty bread hidden at the bottom of the bowl. Have it your way…

If you are a vegetarian soup fan, you will also love my recipes for White Bean And Kale Soup, Slow Cooker Vegan Split Pea Soup, and Paleo Carrot Soup.

boost your immune system

For more great ways to boost your immune system, download my free ebook: How To Be Healthy When Everyone Else Is Sick.

And, if you want to switch up your minestrone game, take a look at all of the minestrone recipes on Feed Feed — they look awesome!

 

fresh vegetable minestrone soup

Here are some of the amazing healing ingredients in this Fresh Vegetable Minestrone Soup:

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Scallions, as I tell you often, are one of my favorites. In Chinese medicine, the root of the scallion is a healing herb (Cong Bai). I always keep scallions on hand in my refrigerator so that I can whip up a batch of cold and flu fighting tea (scallion roots and ginger) the second anyone feels that scratchy throat coming on. It helps the body sweat out toxins. Scallions are antiviral and antibacterial; they are good for the common cold and general nasal congestion — just don’t eat too many if you have a fever.

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.

Zucchini cools your body off and makes you feel better during those hot days of summer. It helps your body release excess heat and it will make your mind feel more calm.

Oregano is a powerful antioxidant and it is great at fighting bacteria. It’s also known as an herb that brings joy and happiness to people. I even just bought a bottle of oregano essential oil and I put a drop in our smoothies a few weeks ago when Steve had a cold… it’s powerful stuff!

Potatoes are good at soothing ulcers and neutralizing acid in the stomach and they help relieve constipation. These tubers also can help relieve arthritic inflammation. So, even though sweet potatoes are thought of as the white potato’s more nutrition sister, regular old potatoes can be just what the doctor ordered.

Broccoli has a lot of potassium and is great for brain function; it also has magnesium and calcium to help regulate blood pressure. It’s also good to clear your body of excess heat and it actually can help your vision too. I love foods that make you feel better mentally as well as physically, and broccoli is one of those foods — it can lessen feelings of irritability.

It is true that spinach contains iron, but it’s this vegetable’s lesser-known qualities that really hold my admiration. Spinach contains a substance that helps eliminate prostate cancer. It’s also great for your bones and also for memory loss. Diabetic patients may find that eating spinach helps combat excessive thirst and can even be good for night blindness. Spinach can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium, so calcium-rich foods should be avoided when eating this leafy green.

Parsley has been shown to reduce tumors in the lungs and to neutralize the effects of carcinogens, including cigarette smoke. It is high in vitamins A and C, and is good for your heart. This herb is also a natural breath freshener. So, if you have a chance to use more than a few sprigs as a garnish, go for it.

Bone broth is filled with bone marrow and essential fatty acids — these things promote optimal brain health. It also contains glycine, which is an amino acid that helps with memory, concentration, stress, and focus.  You can make your own bone broth, but you don’t have to anymore. Bone broth is now available in tons of markets. It’s sold in boxes just like chicken or vegetable broth. The glucosamine in bone broth can reduce inflammation and strengthen the bones. It’s also great for your skin, hair, and nails. This is a great thing to use for a quick soup base, or to just sip on during the day. Sometimes I’ll have a hot cup of bone broth first thing in the morning for a quick healing pick me up.

fresh vegetable minestrone soup

Fresh Vegetable Minestrone Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: dairy free, gluten free, grain free, nut free, vegetarian option, vegan option
Cuisine: soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This Fresh Vegetable Minestrone Soup is simple, delicious, and healing. It will boost your immune system and keep you healthy!
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 leek, cleaned well and sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 scallions, sliced (make sure to put the roots into the soup too -- they are a Chinese herb that will help keep colds away)
  • 1 cup tiny potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 med zucchini, quartered lengthwise, then sliced
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp toasted onion powder (or substitute any onion powder)
  • 1 qt bone broth or vegetable broth
  • 1-1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups broccoli florets, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup small-shape grain-free pasta (or pasta of choice)
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over med heat.
  2. Add garlic, leek, bay leaf, and scallions (with roots). Saute, stirring, 5 min.
  3. Add potatoes and carrots. Cook, stirring, 3 min.
  4. Add zucchini, cook, stirring, 2 min.
  5. Add tomatoes, oregano, parsley, onion powder, broth, and vinegar. Let simmer about 10 mins or until the potatoes are just cooked through.
  6. Bring to a boil and add the pasta, broccoli, and spinach. Reduce heat and let simmer until the pasta is al dente, about 5- to 10-min.

fresh vegetable minestrone soup

Paleo Vegetable Kugel

This paleo vegetable kugel is light and healthy!

paleo vegetable kugel

One of the first things my mother-in-law asked me to cook was a kugel for Passover. She wanted a real kugel, as she put it, not one of my healthy recipes. So, she gave me a recipe and asked me to follow it. I think that kugel had two sticks of butter in it and a bucket of matzo meal!

This year, I won’t be home for Passover.  A few months ago I had to postpone a trip because I had the flu and the only time my sister and I could reschedule for was Passover week.  So, I had to decide between the traditional family seder or a trip to Anguilla with my sister to celebrate our big birthdays… I picked the trip… so don’t judge me… I will, however, miss this paleo vegetable kugel!

Here is my healthy answer to kugel. It’s delicious and it’s made with tons of fresh veggies and a little bit of oil and tapioca flour. Steve and I ate it for dinner last week as I was testing out the recipe. It’s a kugel (even if not as traditional as my mother-in-law would like) but it’s healthy and it’s good enough to serve any time of year.

And the leftovers are awesome for breakfast. A few sunny-side-up eggs served on top of a plate of this kugel… oh my, it’s like an awesome breakfast hash…

If you are looking for a great Paleo dessert to serve, try my Paleo Lemon Cake recipe.

paleo vegetable kugelpaleo vegetable kugel

This is the healthiest kugel in the world:

Leeks are known as “grass from the sun”. They are especially beneficial when the whether is still warm but starting to turn cold, or still cold and starting to turn warm (Spring and Fall). They are great for the liver and at helping the body relieve itself of toxins. Leeks are also good at helping constipation; they help the body rid itself of toxins in the digestive tract.

Potatoes are good at soothing ulcers and neutralizing acid in the stomach and they help relieve constipation. These tubers also can help relieve arthritic inflammation. So, even though sweet potatoes are thought of as the white potato’s more nutrition sister, regular old potatoes can be just what the doctor ordered.

Sweet potatoes are good for your digestive system. They can be good for both constipation and diarrhea. These orange gems also help rid your body of excess water, are good for breast health, help people with diabetes and actually can help ease night blindness. In olden times, it was common in China to rub mashed sweet potatoes on poison insect bites to remove the toxins. I still haven’t tried this, but if need be, I will!

Zucchini cools your body off and makes you feel better during those hot days of summer. It helps your body release excess heat and it will make your mind feel more calm.

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!

Tapioca is a starch that comes from the cassava plant. It’s not really a flour in the traditional sense; it’s grain and gluten free. It’s good for your circulation and your digestion. Oftentimes I will make recipes with tapioca flour — it seems to crisp things up well and it works as a great thickener too.

paleo vegetable kugel

Paleo Vegetable Kugel
Author: 
Recipe type: Passover, paleo, vegetables, casserole, side dish
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: What Jew Wanna Eat
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
Here's a great healthy side dish that's traditionally served for Passover, but it's good enough for any time of the year!
Ingredients
  • 2 large leeks, slices and soaked in bowl of cold water to remove any dirt
  • 1 large baking potato, peeled, sliced very thinly, and then cut into tiny pieces
  • 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled, sliced very thinly, and then cut into tiny pieces
  • 2 unpeeled medium zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup tapioca flour (here's a good one)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2-/2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus and extra 2-tsp to grease the pan
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large skillet.
  3. Add the leeks and some salt and sauté until they start to brown, about 15 minutes.
  4. Put all of the chopped vegetables into a large bowl. Add the sautéed leeks and the tapioca flour. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the eggs and stir until combined well.
  6. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with 2 tsp of oil.
  7. Spread the vegetable mixture into the dish.
  8. Bake until the top starts to brown a bit, about 45 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes.
  10. Cut into pieces.
  11. NOTE: When I cut this when it was too warm, it was hard to keep some of the pieces in neat squares, so if you can, let it cool completely (even in the fridge) before you cut it. I will say, though, that it was just as delicious when I cut it hot even if it didn't look quite as pretty!

paleo vegetable kugel