Category Archives: Soups

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Post Halloween Detox

Post-Halloween Detox!

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If you or your kids plan to eat a lot of Halloween candy, then I highly recommend that you plan a pot of Mung Soup with Vegetables for the day after! According to Ayurveda, mung beans are one of the healthiest foods on the planet and the greatest source of vegetarian protein, because they’re so easy to digest. This soup is made from whole mung beans, which have a scraping action. Translation: eating cooked mung beans will detoxify the body, specifically the colon, liver, kidneys, and the lymph system.

You can make a simple mung soup with a few spices and serve it with vegetable sides or, as I do, you can cook the soup with vegetables to make it a heartier dish. My preferences are Swiss chard and winter squash or a combination of

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Bring on the Cucumbers!

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Ayurveda’s common-sense dictum is that opposite qualities balance one another—whether in the body, the mind, or the emotions. So, to quell the last of the summer heat, I call for balance and say, “Bring on the cucumbers!”

In this lovely summer soup, the cooling power of cucumber is augmented by coconut milk, cilantro, and mint, all which cool the metabolism even further. Fresh ginger, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, and lime all aid digestion besides being richly flavorful. They are also warming foods, which bring balance to the dish for vata and kapha types, who tend to be cold natured.

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Zucchini Soup in 20 Minutes or Less

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If you like zucchini, you will love Creamy Zucchini Soup. This tasty soup will help you make an easeful transition from summer to fall. And another thing about this dish that is great is that it takes no more than 20 minutes to make, start to finish!

 

During September and October, and even into November in some places, zucchini is being harvested before the first big frost. As the nights are getting cooler in many parts of the country, this warm, gingery vegetable soup is a perfect accompaniment to a veggie burger, a pasta entrée, or a sweet potato stuffed with black beans! As cold and flu season approaches, one

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Mushroom Lentil Soup

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With so much cold and flu circulating in every public place at this time of year, I started eyeing the shiitake mushrooms at the grocery store today… and then invoked the Goddess Annapurna to help me create a delicious approach to mushroom soup. This Mushroom Lentil Soup is just that—a dish that’s definitely for mushroom lovers, as it boasts a hearty amount of the immune-boosting shiitakes.

The neutral-flavored red lentils, also known as masoor dal, give the soup substance as well as protein and iron. I use a mixture of traditional Ayurvedic spices (cumin and coriander to balance agni) along with classic American herbs (rosemary and sage), which you might expect to find in a mushroom bisque. You can add a couple of tablespoons or more of wine if you wish—just a little adds a nice dimension to the flavor.

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Creamy Broccoli Soup for a Vegetarian Valentine’s Day

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If you’re still pondering what to make on Valentine’s Day to balance the chocolate you’re planning to devour, consider this creamy broccoli and sweet potato soup recipe that I created just for you, dear readers! This recipe was born of a desire to take broccoli soup to an unexpected place after finding nothing but broccoli-cheese soup on restaurant menus for decades! And it fits nicely into the niche of hearty soups that can serve as a one-dish meal for busy cooks, with red lentils serving as a protein base.

I use fresh almond milk made in our Vitamix to make it “creamy,” but, of course, you can use

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Auspicious New Beginnings with Black-Eyed Peas!

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Ask any Southerner how to start the new year in the most auspicious way, and they won’t even blink before naming a bowl of Hoppin’ John or some other version of peas and greens—like this vegetarian Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Collards! Serving such a dish on New Year’s Day is thought to bring good luck because long ago black-eyed peas reminded someone of coins. The greens are said to bring prosperity because greens are associated with green cash. If you enjoy food history, you can read more about this legend at Southern Living  and Epicurious.

My Black-Eyed Pea Soup is filling because of the generous proportion of peas, and it is made even more satisfying by the addition of butternut squash, a favorite winter vegetable. If you serve this soup over rice, like a traditional Hoppin’ John, you will need little (if anything!) else at your New Year’s Day table.

How can you make your New Year’s Day even more auspicious?

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Refreshing Summer Soups: Roasted Beet and Fennel

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It’s summer—at least it feels like it after a week of 88 to 90 degree weather here in Raleigh, North Carolina—so bring on the cool specialties like this Roasted Beet and Fennel Soup. Cool soups are a perfect way to refresh yourself when you’re over-heated.

Did you notice that I said “cool” rather than “chilled”? Let’s zoom in on that thought.

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Welcome Spring with Asparagus Soup

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Magnificent spring! O, how we welcome your abundant blessings! For my toast to spring I offer you, dear readers, this easy asparagus soup recipe, a sneak-peek from Sacred & Delicious: A Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook.  It’s still cool enough during these early spring nights to enjoy the warmth of  a delicate vegetable soup, though this is one of the few vegetable soups that I also enjoy at room temperature on a warm day.

When I initially crafted this recipe, my intention was to make a creamy soup, but the asparagus smelled so good before I added milk that I served it dairy-free and have ever since.  If you love dairy and are able to digest it, you can certainly add some real cream, say 1/4 to 1/2 a cup. Or add a swirl of whole coconut milk for a sensual flourish when you serve the dish to your grateful guests.

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Slow Cooker Mung Soup with Vegetables

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Even though it was 84 degrees in parts of North Carolina this week, the word is out that the North winds are headed our way.  By the weekend much of the country will be under the spell of an autumn chill. What better time to pull out the slow cooker and start a lovely pot of soup? (In case you’re not familiar with the term “slow cooker,” you may know of it by the original manufacturer’s name: Crockpot® or the new hit, Instant Pot.

A slow cooker can be invaluable for vegetarians and omnivores alike, but it helps to know a few tricks that make a  slow cooker meal worth savoring.

Instead of loading all of the ingredients into the cooker before bedtime (or in the morning before leaving for work), save the real flavor-makers for when you get home:

1. Sauté dried spices such as cumin, coriander and turmeric in ghee or oil on your stove-top before adding these ingredients to the slow cooker. If you leave spices in the cooker for 6 to 8 hours, they can actually burn … says the voice of experience.

2. If you cook soups and stews with onions, slowly brown the onions in ghee or oil until they caramelize (20 to 30 minutes). This additional step will infuse your final dish with a layer of flavor that you just won’t get by cooking onions in water or stock all day.

3. Add fresh herbs the last 15 minutes before serving so that they don’t over-cook.

4. To keep vegetables flavorful, steam them 10 to 15 minutes before finishing the soup with salt, ginger and garlic, if you eat garlic.

So, you may ask,  what DO you leave in a slow cooker all night or day?  Legumes!

You can apply these tips when you cook this hearty mung soup recipe, a gussied up version of the classic Ayurvedic dish. I make this hearty dish once a week on an ongoing basis because it helps to keep the digestive system clear.  When mung soup is served during panchakarma (Ayurvedic detoxification) programs, it’s very simple: cooked mung beans, salt, bay leaf and a few spices.  That describes the base of my soup recipe, one I modeled after a recipe I learned from Dr. Smita Naram, a renowned Ayurvedic pulse master, a pharmacologist and… an excellent cook! She created many delicious recipes  for a successful restaurant in the panchakarma clinic she founded with her husband, Pankaj Naram, outside Mumbai, India.

When I’m cooking for our regular diet at home,  I like to add onions for extra flavor and vegetables for a more substantial dish. It’s a thick soup so it may suffice for your meal, or you can serve it over quinoa or rice.

With Halloween approaching this evening, it’s a great idea to make a batch of mung soup this weekend — particularly if you or your kids eat too much Halloween candy!

Happy eating!

 

 

 

 

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Make Your Own Stock, Please, for Exponentially More Delicious Soups!

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Photo by Candice Stark

Nothing compares to the taste or healing power of a fresh soup stock created from pristine vegetables teeming with nutrients. If you thrill to the taste of fine food, then the boxed or canned stuff doesn’t quite cut it! I cannot tell you how many friends who have dined with us report that their rendition of my latest soup recipe didn’t measure up to what they tasted at our table. I always follow such a comment with the question, “did you make the soup stock or use a box?” Inevitably, to a person, they had skipped this vital step. This is my most unscientific research to emphasize that making fresh stock is always worth planning ahead and investing a few more minutes of your time!

This easy vegetable stock has a gentle flavor but it adds depth to any recipe. Please note that I specify Light Grey Celtic Sea Salt,

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