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Slow Cooker Vegan Baked Ziti Soup

This slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup is comfort food times two in one healthy bowl: it’s a combination of 2 old favorites: baked ziti and hearty soup!
vegan baked ziti soup

I love to take old fashioned comfort foods and turn them into something that tastes just as good as I remember them tasting when I was a kid, but that actually can heal my body. In my house, these comfort food recipes are usually everyone’s favorites. This slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup is a new creation, but I’m betting it quickly makes it to “favorite status”…

Right now, I think the top rated comfort food recipe is my Cheeseburger Soup. I make this all of the time… I mean, waaaayyyyyyyy too often. But OMG it is sooooo good!  So, I figured I should create a new soup with the same healing yet comforting vibe. Enter: Slow Cooker Vegan Baked Ziti Soup.

We are all creatures of habit.

I guide people out of their comfort zones every day. Because it’s so important. Soooooooo important…

I just love when someone steps outside of their box with me. Let’s face it — it’s so much easier to stay in our comfort zone than step out of it. But, we all know that nothing good comes from stagnation. You’ve got to leap in order to fly… you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince… if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you… blah, blah, blah…

Sometimes, you just need to throw those cliches in the trash and find someone to guide you out of your comfy box.

I remember, in one of my old careers (and yes, I’ve had several…), I got to meet Walter Cronkite. And what this genius said has always stuck with me. He said he loved his job as a newsperson, but that every single night before he went on the air, he had to put his head between his knees because he felt like he was going to vomit. This was because every single night he stepped out of his comfort zone and into the unknown by interviewing people who were unpredictable and never gave expected answers… every single night was different.

What a way to live. And I mean that in a great way. What a way to live!

I’ve made a habit of stepping outside of my comfort zone as much as possible. Maybe not every single day, but yes, every single week.

If you want to step outside of your box, sign up for a free phone consultation with me and we will step together. Let’s chat and figure out how to create awesome changes in your body, your mind and your spirit… I just love this stuff! So, CLICK HERE and you’ll be taken directly to my calendar so you can sign up for a time that’s convenient for you… do it now!

Oh my, that’s quite a tangent I went off on. All because of the phrase “comfort food”.

So, back to this comfort food recipe for slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup. It really is comforting. It really does taste like baked ziti. I made it with lentil pasta, and a really creamy vegan mozzarella cheese and I drizzled some great basil pesto on top. And, of course, I hid some superfoods inside — hemp seeks and Chinese herbs… so healing!

I want to thank Alissa at Connoisseurus Veg because it was her genius recipe for Slow Cooker Vegan Lasagna Soup that was my inspiration for this recipe.

So, make this slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup. Or, try my recipe for Paleo Beefaroni — that’s a great comfort food too.

slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup

I’m on a big customized-recipe-creation kick right now… let me customize a recipe for you that will work for whatever’s going on in your body now… I’m such a geek that I really do get excited about doing this. So CLICK HERE to be taken directly into my calendar to sign up for your free phone consultation.

slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup

Here are some of the great healing ingredients in this slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup:

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!

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.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

Lentils help lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, are high in vitamin B and protein, and have hardly any fat. They are a good source of long-term energy and are very high in fiber. These tiny legumes also help with digestion and they are the perfect protein to eat in the summer because they actually clear the body of excess heat; long ago, cold lentil soup was prescribed for patients with heatstroke or fever.

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.

Huang Qi is like magic; this Chinese herb builds qi/gives you energy… you can really feel it working while you are eating. My family makes fun of my excitement for herbs, but they also are happy to reap the rewards when they eat my herb-infused foods, so think about trying out some herbs the next time you boil a pot of something…

I added a few sticks of raw Shan Yao. This Chinese herb is actually Chinese Yam, and it’s great for energy.

slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup

If you make this slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup, please be sure to let me know in the comments below. I love hearing how you like a recipe, and I love to answer your questions! If you make it, be sure to take a photo and tag me and post it on Instagram.

Slow Cooker Vegan Baked Ziti Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup, vegan, comfort food, vegetarian, slow cooker
Cuisine: recipe inspired by: Connoisseurus Veg
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This comforting vegan soup is so healing, so delicious, and the slow cooker does all the work!
Ingredients
  • 1 qt vegetable broth
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ¾ cup dry green lentils
  • 2 Tbs hemp seeds
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • Optional raw Chinese herbs: Huang Qi, Shan Yao
  • 3 oz baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 6 oz green lentil penne (or pasta of your choice)
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • 1 cup vegan ricotta cheese
Instructions
  1. Put the vegetable broth, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, dry lentils, hemp seeds, Chinese herbs, and crushed tomatoes into the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 3-1/2 hours.
  3. Open the cooker and add the spinach and pasta.
  4. Cook on high for 8 minutes (or until the pasta is cooked al dente).
  5. Ladle into bowls.
  6. Top each bowl with a dollop of pesto and a dollop of vegan ricotta cheese.
  7. Enjoy!

slow cooker vegan baked ziti soup

Creamy Lentil And Kale Stew

This creamy lentil and kale stew will warm you up and keep you healthy…

creamy lentil and kale stew

I follow lots of vegan food bloggers, and let me just say that so many of these blogs are drool-worthy. As soon as I saw a recipe for lentil stew from Veggies Don’t Bite I knew I’d be making it soon. This recipe is awesome. I learned from Sophia’s awesome blog that the original recipe is from one of my all-time favorite vegan blogs, Oh She Glows… wow, these women are talented.

Anyway, I made the recipe with a few minor changes (because I’m just always have to take a little creative license…). It’s so good. I use cashews in so many recipes, but I would never have thought to use them here! This stew is so creamy (thanks to the cashews) that it tastes like heavy cream was added… but it’s vegan and so healthy!

Creamy lentil and kale stew is just that. It’s creamy. And it’s filled with lentils and kale. And lots of turmeric. And delicious veggies and spices. This is great on a cold winter day.

Right before I started typing this post, I went into my fridge and took out the leftover stew and transferred it to my freezer because I cannot even think of getting rid of it even though there’s a good chance that everyone here would throw things at me if I served it again this week. Sometimes something is just so good that I can eat it over and over again all week long. My family… not so much…

You also really should try my recipe for Lentil Vegetable Soup.

creamy lentil and kale stewcreamy lentil and kale stew

There are lots of awesome healing ingredients in this creamy lentil and kale stew:

Lentils help lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, are high in vitamin B and protein, and have hardly any fat. They are a good source of long-term energy and are very high in fiber. These tiny legumes also help with digestion and they are the perfect protein to eat in the summer because they actually clear the body of excess heat; long ago, cold lentil soup was prescribed for patients with heatstroke or fever.

Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric.

Kale is everywhere these days. It is extremely nutritious, and because it to so popular you can find it already washed and prepared in lots of markets. My cheat for this recipe was that I bought this kale already cut up and washed at the market. If you are using a whole bunch of kale, make sure you clean the leaves thoroughly and remove the center thick stems if they bother you (I don’t like to eat these think stems when they are raw). This dark leafy green is a great source of fiber and calcium. It’s also rich in many minerals, including magnesium, iron and potassium. One serving contains 200% of the daily requirements of Vitamin C and 180% of Vitamin A.

Cashews are really a multi-tasking nut. I use them all the time so I say it all the time: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts. Most of the fat in cashews is unsaturated and is made up of oleic acid; this is the same acid that is found in olive oil, making these nuts a heart-healty choice. The cashews give this dressing a velvety, creamy texture.

Carrots help strengthen the organs in your body. They also are good for the eyes (this is their claim to fame) and they promote healthy digestion. Many moons ago, people used to make carrot tea to ward off measles and to prevent cancer. Carrots help detoxify the body and in today’s world of Chinese medicine, they are prescribed to ease constipation and tonsillitis.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is also 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….

Celery actually helps stop bleeding — so if you or anyone you know has just had surgery, start adding celery to your dishes! Celery is also great to help lower blood pressure and it’s been known to help with insomnia.

Creamy Lentil And Kale Stew
Author: 
Recipe type: stew, comfort food, lentils, soup
Cuisine: vegan, paleo, whole30, vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
This vegan, paleo-friendly stew is so creamy that you won't believe it's dairy-free. This one's a keeper... I'll be eating it all winter long!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup dried french green lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups cleaned kale, torn into pieces
Instructions
  1. Blend the cashews with ½ cup water in a blender until smooth and creamy (I used my Vitamix -- I'm not sure how creamy this would get with a regular blender).
  2. In a large soup pot, heat the oil.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots to the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Saute, stirring often, until the veggies are starting to soften, about 6 minutes.
  5. Stir in the thyme, turmeric, and cumin, and stir 1 minute.
  6. Pour in the tomatoes, lentils, broth, and 1-1/2 cups water.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered 30 minutes.
  8. Stir in the kale and the cashew cream and cook an additional 10 minutes.
  9. Ladle into bowls and serve with your favorite crusty bread (I used paleo toasted bagels) or a nice crisp green salad.
  10. Enjoy!

creamy lentil and kale stew

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Bowl

Pasta rules! And this roasted red pepper pasta bowl is awesome!

roasted red pepper pasta bowl

Yay! Another great, fantastic, awesome, deliciously healing, yet paleo AND vegan pasta dish that tastes like real, classic, homemade Italian pasta. Wow, that was a mouthful! But I honestly don’t know how to accurately describe the awesomeness of this dish without using so many adjectives…

If you know me at all, you know that I will try any and every pasta that I see if it’s paleo. Some are truly awesome. Some… not so much. This lentil pasta is one of my favorites. (See the recipe below for where you can buy it.) It really has the texture and taste of traditional whole wheat pasta. For real — no one will know.

I made this dish a few days ago and I got to do one of my favorite things — feed an unsuspecting guest… My daughter’s boyfriend was here and I was in the kitchen experimenting and I made these pasta bowls. You know young men — they are always hungry… So, he gladly accepted a pasta bowl and ate it. Now, he knows my bent toward all things healthy, so after he ate half of it, he looked up and asked: “Is it real pasta?” I just smiled. He knew the answer, but continued to eat with gusto. Success! After that my daughter ate it and also loved it. The list continued from there. So, to Sam, my willing taste-tester, you are welcome in my kitchen any time!

This pasta is made so amazing by the delicious (and oh-so-easy) creamy roasted red pepper sauce. And then, a few drizzles of pesto and a dollop of cheese (I used a great vegan creamy cheese) and some crisp fresh arugula and fragrant basil. Really, this roasted red pepper pasta bowl is the complete package! I have to send an shoutout now to one of my favorite blogs: Half Baked Harvest, because she came up with the original recipe that inspired me to create this version — ingenious!

If you are looking to try another paleo pasta recipe, try my Vegan Fettuccine Bolognese.

roasted red pepper pasta bowl

Here are some of the amazing ingredients in this roasted red pepper pasta bowl:

Bell peppers help with indigestion. If you are feeling bloated and full from over-eating a lot lately, consuming bell peppers will help reduce this feeling. They are also good for blood circulation and research has shown that they are good for people with a low appetite or anorexia. It used to be common in China to use bell pepper tea to soothe indigestion.

Lentils help lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, are high in vitamin B and protein, and have hardly any fat. They are a good source of long-term energy and are very high in fiber. These tiny legumes also help with digestion and they are the perfect protein to eat in the summer because they actually clear the body of excess heat; long ago, cold lentil soup was prescribed for patients with heatstroke or fever.

Cashews are really a multi-tasking nut. I use them all the time so I say it all the time: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts. Most of the fat in cashews is unsaturated and is made up of oleic acid; this is the same acid that is found in olive oil, making these nuts a heart-healty choice. The cashews give this sauce a velvety, creamy texture.

Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (I love to do this), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects.

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….

Arugula has a good amount of calcium and it also contains vitamins A, C and K. It is rich in potassium and it’s extra beneficial in the summer because it actually cools the body down. This delicious peppery green is also believed to be a libido booster. One of the first things I learned when I started really taking care of my health through proper nutrition, was to substitute dark greens for lighter greens whenever possible. One of the easiest, tastiest, and healthiest switches you can make is to swap out some of your lighter salad greens for peppery, dark arugula.

roasted red pepper pasta bowl

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Bowl
Author: 
Recipe type: pasta, paleo, vegan, Italialn
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: Half Baked Harvest
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This pasta is paleo, vegan, creamy, and healing! Oh, and did I mention it is awesomely delicious and so easy to make...
Ingredients
  • 16-oz jarred roasted red peppers
  • 10 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup raw cashews (you can buy them here)
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves (plus more for serving)
  • 12 oz pasta -- I used a paleo, lentil pasta (you can buy the lentil pasta here)
  • a few handfuls of fresh arugula
  • small jar of vegan pesto (whatever kind of pesto you like will be great)
  • 4 dollops of a creamy cheese (I used Kite Hill's vegan cream cheese with chives and it was perfect)
Instructions
  1. Boil the pasta al dente.
  2. Put the red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, cashews, and ½ cup basil into a blender (I used my Vitamix, so it was really quick). Whiz it up until smooth and creamy.
  3. Drain the pasta.
  4. Toss the pasta with as much sauce as you like.
  5. Divide the pasta between 4 bowls.
  6. Top with pesto, arugula, cheese, and extra basil leaves.
  7. Enjoy!

roasted red pepper pasta bowl

Vegan Macaroni And Cheese

Yes, you can have creamy mac and cheese and stay healthy… try this vegan macaroni and cheese… it’s so good!

vegan macaroni and cheese

I have been pretty much dairy-free for too many years to count. And, for the last several years I eat mostly grain-free too.
And, honestly, there’s not too much that I feel I’m missing. That is, except creamy pasta dishes.

When I serve something that looks like this vegan macaroni and cheese, anyone who knows me backs up and asks what it’s made of. I can’t say I blame them because I’ve tried to replicate dishes like this with some pretty strange ingredients.

I experiment with lots of creamy pasta recipes. I mean, I do this a lot. Because pasta is awesome. It’s always been my favorite food. It’s the food that I find to be the most comforting food around.

I don’t post most of my experiments because truthfully, a lot of grain-free, dairy-free pasta dishes that are supposed to taste creamy and pasta-like really aren’t that good. But when I find a good one, I get really excited. And this vegan macaroni and cheese recipe is really, really good.

The sauce is made with potatoes, carrots, nutritional yeast, and coconut milk. I know it sounds a little odd, but the texture and look are just perfect. It’s so creamy and the nutritional yeast gives it a cheesy taste. My non-vegan husband ate big bowls of this.

The pasta is made from lentils. Just lentils. This is a great find (see the recipe below for details on this awesome grain-free pasta). The texture really is like traditional pasta… it’s my new favorite pasta.

If you like the feel of this dish, take a look at this recipe for another type of vegan cheesy pasta!

vegan macaroni and cheese

Here are some of the great ingredients in this dish:

Lentils help lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, are high in vitamin B and protein, and have hardly any fat. They are a good source of long-term energy and are very high in fiber. These tiny legumes also help with digestion and they are the perfect protein to eat in the summer because they actually clear the body of excess heat; long ago, cold lentil soup was prescribed for patients with heatstroke or fever.

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.

Turmeric is a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric.

Nutritional yeast gives things a cheese-y taste without using any dairy and it adds amino acids and Vitamin B, so it’s perfect here.

Carrots help strengthen the organs in your body. They also are good for the eyes (this is their claim to fame) and they promote healthy digestion. Many moons ago, people used to make carrot tea to ward off measles and to prevent cancer. Carrots help detoxify the body and in today’s world of Chinese medicine, they are prescribed to ease constipation and tonsillitis.

In Asian medicine, we use coconut to strengthen the body, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding. Coconut kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes.

vegan macaroni and cheese

Vegan Macaroni And Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: pasta, casserole, comfort food
Cuisine: recipe adapted from:Vegan Yumminess
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This mac and cheese really is reminiscent of the creamy cheesy pasta I remember from my childhood. But this one is grain-free and dairy-free.
Ingredients
  • 12 oz cooked pasta (I used this brand of grain-free lentil pasta)
  • 1 med baking potato, peeled, diced
  • 1 large carrot, thickly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 3 Tbs nutritional yeast (I like this kind)
  • ¼ cup coconut cream from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk (I buy these in bulk)
Instructions
  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add the potatoes, carrots, and onion.
  3. Boil until the veggies are soft; mine took 13 minutes.
  4. Dip a measuring cup into the veggie cooking water, and save ½ of a cup of it, then drain the veggies.
  5. Place the cooked veggies in a blender with all of the remaining ingredients, except the pasta. Add the reserved cooking water.
  6. Blend until smooth and creamy (I used my Vitamix for this).
  7. Pour the sauce of the pasta and stir until well-combined.
  8. Enjoy!

vegan macaroni and cheese

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

This vegetarian shepherd’s pie tastes even better than the traditional version!

vegetarian shepherd's pie

I go through different food phases all the time. Sometimes I’m in a vegan phase or a vegetarian phase or a pescatarian phase… that’s why when I’m asked to label how I eat I usually say I am a flexitarian. To me, this means I eat healthy, but I like to switch it up depending on how my body feels at a particular time or in a particular season.

Right now I’m in a vegetarian phase. I’ve been eating vegetarian, but without the cheese. It’s kind of in between vegan and vegetarian. So, I’ve been saying no to meat and fish, but yet to eggs and butter. And I feel good… I don’t know if this will be a long phase or a quickie, but I like it!

This vegetarian shepherd’s pie recipe is awesome. Instead of being filled with meat, it’s piled high with lentils, mushrooms, peas, and corn. And, it’s topped with real mashed potatoes. Yup, authentic, buttery, creamy, mashed potatoes (but without the cream)… so good…

I’ve seen (and made) several variation of shepherd’s pie recipes, including really meaty ones and some vegan ones. This is the first one that I’ve made that’s vegetarian. The healthy veggies are sautéed with great spices and they go so well with the buttery taters that it’s just awesome. If you are looking for a vegan version, one of my favorite blogs, Minimalist Baker has a great one that also uses lentils.

Truthfully, I think I probably stacked more mashed potatoes on top of this vegetarian shepherd’s pie than anyone in their right mind ever would, but I wouldn’t change a thing…

One of the ways I was able to rationalize using such a big layer of mashed potatoes was by boiling the potatoes in a pot with some great Chinese herbs. I added some raw Huang Qi and some Dang Shen (see below to learn more about why these herbs are so great) to my pot of boiling potatoes so the great medicinal properties of the herbs infused into my heap of potatoes — so, why not eat a lot of them…?

If you are looking for another great recipe using lentils, try my Lentil Vegetable Soup.

vegetarian shepherd's pie

There are a lot of reasons to make this recipe for vegetarian shepherd’s pie (other than as a vehicle for sky-high mashed potatoes):

Lentils help lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, are high in vitamin B and protein, and have hardly any fat. They are a good source of long-term energy and are very high in fiber. These tiny legumes also help with digestion and they are the perfect protein to eat in the summer because they actually clear the body of excess heat; long ago, cold lentil soup was prescribed for patients with heatstroke or fever.

I love mushrooms. In Chinese medicine, mushrooms ARE medicine. They are herbs. They are one of the most healing foods around. In China, mushrooms have been used for many years as part of a natural cancer treatment. They are one of the best immune-boosting foods around.

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.

Green peas are good for the digestion, especially if you are feeling constipated. In the olden days, people used to drink pea juice with their meals to avoid indigestion.

Corn is one of the things I won’t buy unless I can find it organic; it’s a crop that’s just too heavily sprayed with chemicals and so much corn is GMO that I really like to be careful. I used fresh corn for this recipe but feel free to use frozen if that’s what’s available to you. Corn helps those who have hepatitis, heart disease, and hypertension. Cornsilk is also a Chinese herb (Yu Mi Xu). It’s often used to reduce edema,  and can reduce the symptoms of some painful urinary conditions.

Turmeric is also a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric.

Huang Qi is like magic; it builds qi/gives you energy… you can really feel it working while you are eating. My family makes fun of my excitement for herbs, but they also are happy to reap the rewards when they eat my herb-infused foods, so think about trying out some herbs the next time you boil a pot of something…

I also added Dang Shen to the boiling water. To the novice, this herb looks like ordinary thick twigs. To me, these sticks are like gold. I added these herbs for energy; to raise my qi. If you are feeling fatigued, I highly recommend looking into some of these herbs.

vegetarian shepherd's pie

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: casserole, comfort food
Cuisine: vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Here's a comfort food, healthy casserole that's also vegetarian. Heaps of mashed potatoes top lentils, mushrooms and vegetables... it's easy and delicious.
Ingredients
  • 1-1/4 cup dried lentils, cooked until done, but not mushy
  • 8 medium/large yellow potatoes, unpeeled, cut into large chunks
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 3 Tbs grass-fed organic butter
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 portabella mushroom caps, cut into small dice
  • ½ cup green peas, cooked (I took the easy way out and bought them from a salad bar)
  • ½ cup organic corn, cooked (this came from the salad bar too)
  • leaves from 2 large thyme sprigs
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
  • ½ cup tomato sauce (homemade, jarred, or canned)
  • 2 sticks of raw Huang Qi (an optional Chinese herb)
  • 1 stick of raw Dang Shen (an optional Chinese herb)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Boil the potatoes along with any Chinese herbs you are using in a large pot of salted water. Cook until the potatoes are soft. Drain the potatoes and discard the herbs.
  3. Mash the hot potatoes together with the butter and salt and pepper to taste. You can do this by hand or with a food processor (I used the processor).
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil.
  5. Saute the onions, garlic, and mushrooms for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the veggies are softened.
  6. Add the cooked lentils, peas, corn, spices, and tomato sauce. Stir, cooking, for about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Spoon the lentil mixture into a 9x9-inch baking pan. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top.
  8. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the inside is hot and bubbly and the top starts to brown. If your casserole dish is overflowing (like mine was), you may want to put something under the dish to catch any oozing filling.
  9. Enjoy!

vegetarian shepherd's pie

Lentil Vegetable Soup

This lentil vegetable soup is so healing and so comforting!

lentil vegetable soup

I make soup all of the time. I mean All. Of. The. Time. Unfortunately, I’m not quite as organized as I’d like to be, so oftentimes I make a great pot of soup for dinner, we eat it, we love it, and then there is not enough left for me to photograph. This means that some of my best creations never make it to the blog.

I have made a version of this soup at least 3 times already. Each one has been delicious. And, I’m proud to say, that finally, I cooked it during the day, while it was still light enough for me to take some decent pictures.  Yay… here it is!

I love a good lentil soup.

I love a great vegetable soup.

This is a great lentil vegetable soup!

And this version is filled with sliced up collard greens. OMG… it’s so good! And don’t even get me started on the health benefits of collards (really, just look below and I’ll list them for you…).

I also love to freeze some of my soup leftovers so that on a night that I don’t feel like cooking (yes, it does happen…) I can just defrost some and have a great dinner.

This time that didn’t work so well. I’ve been trying not to use plastic anymore; I much prefer glass. I see people freezing things all of the time in glass mason jars. I’ve had it work a few times, but like this time, sometimes the jars crack. Such a waste! It all looked good… I took the filled lentil vegetable soup jar out of the freezer, set it on the counter, and within 10 minutes, an entire side of the jar fell off! I mean, it really just slid away from the rest of the jar!

For those of you who have had success freezing foods in mason jars, will you pleeeeeeeeeeeaaaasssse share your secret with me????????

Anyway, none of this should take away from the deliciousness of this soup. It’s hearty and healthy and warming and yummy…

Just look at the pictures below. The first one shows the beauty of the tomatoes I had and the sliced up collards. The second pic is of my all-time-favorite Chinese herb, Huang Qi (Astragalus). You don’t have to add Chinese herbs to your soup, but I just had to show you these raw Huang Qi sticks. They are like magic; they build qi/give you energy… you can really feel it working while you are eating. Yes, I know, my family makes fun of my excitement for herbs too, but they also are happy to reap the rewards when they eat the soup, so think about trying out some herbs the next time you make a pot of soup…

If you want a soup that’s really really good, but not a lentil-veg soup, try my Hot And Sour Soup recipe.

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There are lots of great things in this soup:

Lentils help lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, are high in vitamin B and protein, and have hardly any fat. They are a good source of long-term energy and are very high in fiber. These tiny legumes also help with digestion and they are the perfect protein to eat in the summer because they actually clear the body of excess heat; long ago, cold lentil soup was prescribed for patients with heatstroke or fever.

Collard greens are great for you. They help build strong bones, lessen constipation, help reduce stress and act as a detoxifying food. They have almost no calories but do have a lot of fiber. They contain vitamins A, C, and K and are filled with minerals like calcium and manganese. One of the best things about collards is that they are great at preventing the buildup of bad cholesterol.

Celery actually helps stop bleeding — so if you or anyone you know has just had surgery, start adding celery to your dishes! Celery is also great to help lower blood pressure and it’s been known to help with insomnia.

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….

Carrots help strengthen the organs in your body. They also are good for the eyes (this is their claim to fame) and they promote healthy digestion. Many moons ago, people used to make carrot tea to ward off measles and to prevent cancer. Carrots help detoxify the body and in today’s world of Chinese medicine, they are prescribed to ease constipation and tonsillitis.

lentil vegetable soup

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lentil Vegetable Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This soup is the perfect combination of lentil soup and vegetable soup. And it is so healing and delicious!
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ large red onion, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 bunch collard green leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • 1 lb heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 1 qt vegetable broth (here's one I use)
  • 3 (or more) spicy piquillo peppers, sliced (I used the marinated ones at my local olive bar) (you can buy these)
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 raw pieces of Huang Qi (Astragalus) (optional)
  • microgreens, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and saute until the veggies start to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and and cook, stirring, for 3-minutes.
  4. Add sliced collard leaves and stir for about 2-minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and stir until combined.
  6. Pour in the broth.
  7. Add the peppers and lentils.
  8. Add raw Chinese herbs if using.
  9. Stir in parsley.
  10. Bring to a boil.
  11. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  12. Cover and let cook about 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, but not mushy.
  13. Ladle into bowls and garnish with micro greens if desired.
  14. Enjoy

 

lentil vegetable soup