Posts filed under ‘Soups and Salads’
Healing is a journey. Besides the physical, it’s also emotional and mental, and just like seasons in life, it can be difficult while beautiful at the same time. I’ve learned to slow down and take time to really breath, or even have a good cry. I’ve learned to really appreciate sleep and listening to my body instead of my “normal routine”. My hope is that this doesn’t come off as complaining or whining, but more as a self-check and better understanding of myself and what my body wants and needs.
For the past 3+ years, I was up by 5 or 6 am and wouldn’t be in bed until midnight or 1 am. Even though I was making healthy food choices and working out, the constant rush-rush, go-go lifestyle and sleep deprivation finally caught up with me.
Add candida, adrenal fatigue, constant sinus infections, viruses and food allergies… my body hit a point and said “NO! Slow down!”. No wonder my body wasn’t keeping up…even though I tried to convince myself I was SuperWoman, that’s far from reality.
My priority now is healing… slowing down, and making sure I get a good night’s rest. If I don’t get enough sleep one night, I’ll take a nap or sleep longer the next night and call it an early evening.
Another thing I’ve enjoyed is simplifying, and that goes for cooking too. Batch cooking and making meals that don’t require 20+ steps or 30 different ingredients. I’ll get the urge to try out a more time-consuming recipe but simple recipes such as this roasted carrot and beet soup are tasty and no-hassle!
This soup is silky in texture, a bit earthy from the beets and cumin and comforting. It’s appropriate for this time of year too –looks a little like Halloween with the orange base and the green “cheese”!
Cumin-Roasted Carrot and Golden Beet Soup
Grain-free, Nightshade-free, Gluten-free, Vegan/Vegetarian Option, Dairy-free, Paleo-friendly, Egg-free, Nut-free, Sugar-free, Soy-free
6-7 medium organic carrots, peeled (if desired) and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2-3 medium golden beets, peeled (if desired) and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (can use red beets but will change the color)
2 shallots, chopped into chunks
1 Tbsp olive oil (can sub coconut oil or butter/ghee if you do dairy)
1/4 tsp ground turmeric, divided
rounded 1/4 tsp ground cumin, divided
1/2 tsp dried thyme, divided
1/2 tsp sea salt (I used smoked sea salt for a smoky flavor)
2-3 cups bone broth, low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock/broth (use veggie if vegan/vegetarian), or more to reach your desired thickness of soup, I prefer a thicker soup
2-3 tsp lime juice (or lemon juice for a different flavor)
For serving (optional)
chopped cilantro or parsley for serving, optional
Summer squash “cheese” or non-dairy cheese, optional but adds depth of flavor
If you like a little texture in your soup, cubed or sliced avocado
aluminum foil (to create foil packets)
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lay two large squares of aluminum foil down, placing carrots in the middle of one square and beets in the middle of the other. Divide the shallots evenly and place on top of each.
2. Combine herbs, spices and salt in a small bowl (turmeric through salt).
3. Drizzle each of the veggies with 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil, then sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the vegetables.
4. Fold the foil up, creating a seal with each packet and bake for 30 minutes or until tender, the carrots cooked a bit faster than the beets, so check them at 30 minutes.
5. Add roasted veggies and remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Top with cilantro or parsley, squash cheese and/or avocado and enjoy warm!
*If you prefer to roasted your carrots and beets on a baking pan instead of in foil packets, that’s an option too. I like how the foil packets steam the veggies a bit first and then after opening the pouches, I can brown them a bit.
Stovetop Preparation: You can always sauté the carrots and beets first a bit in a dutch oven, add the spices for 30 seconds until fragrant. Then add broth and remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook until the carrots and beets are tender and soft, about 15-20 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree or add soup to a blender on high until velvety smooth (Yay Vitamix!). Season to taste with more salt and lime juice if desired.
Slow cooker meals are a lifesaver after a long day of work. I get home, I’m hungry and I’d prefer not to spend a couple hours in the kitchen. I’d rather heat up or whip up something quick to eat and be able to enjoy “free time” outside of work in the evenings. While cooking is certainly a passion, it can seem more like a chore at the end of a busy day.
When I find a recipe that can be used as a base for multiple meals, it’s a definite winner. This slow cooker pulled chicken is just that. I served this dish as a filling snack over a half of an avocado, over a bowl of cooked grains and lentils with green onions, as an add-in to a smoky veggie soup and as the main dish with some cabbage slaw and pickled onions. You can also serve this in a wrap, over a salad, in a panini, as a pizza topping or as a topping to a baked potato or yam. Can you say endless possibilities?
Let’s not forget the BBQ sauce — Apple cider vinegar is such a versatile ingredient and I love love LOVE the taste! It’s bold and tangy, and adds a lovely zip to dishes from soups and salad dressings to marinades and main dishes. While lemon and lime juice have their places, apple cider vinegar has a place in my heart all it’s own. Naturally, when I came across Lauren’s recipe for a Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken and Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ sauce, I knew I had to make it.
This month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment was Lauren’s delicious and crafty blog Sew You Think You Can Cook. I knew Lauren was a great match when I came across fun flavor combos such as her Hummus Waffles with Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Sweet Potato and Chorizo Hand Pies, Coconut Shrimp with Bloody Mary Dip and Parsnip and Blueberry Baked Oatmeal. While I chose her Pulled Chicken and Apple Cider BBQ Sauce, with my newfound love for parsnips, you can be sure Lauren’s baked oatmeal will be made in the next week or so!
I made a few changes to Lauren’s recipe based on what I had on hand. I had a combo or chicken breasts and boneless, skinless chicken thighs and I really loved the flavor that the richer thigh meat lent to this dish. I swapped out the sweetener for maple sugar and used smoked salt instead of regular sea salt. I made a special grocery store run to buy gluten-free beer…I didn’t want to swap that out so I could stay true to the recipe, though now I have several bottles of beer to experiment in other recipes :) Thanks Lauren for this recipe, I’ll be making this again!
Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or a combo (I used 2 chicken breasts, 4 chicken thighs)
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp granulated sweetener (maple sugar, sucanat, coconut sugar)
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard powder
1 tsp cayenne (can reduce if you are sensitive to spicy food)
1 bottle or can (12 oz) gluten-free beer
sea salt and pepper to taste (I used smoked salt)
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper generously. Place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl combine paprika, garlic powder, sweetener, mustard powder, and cayenne. Sprinkle over the chicken.
3. Pour beer into the slow cooker. Cook on LOW 5-7 hours until the chicken shreds easily.
4. Serve as a sandwich, wrap, over grains, over avocado, as a pizza topping, on top of a salad and drizzle withe apple cider vinegar BBQ sauce (recipe below).
Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free
1 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 Fresno chili pepper, deseeded and halved
2 tbsp sweetener (coconut sugar, maple sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 – 30 minutes, or until a desired consistency is achieved. Remove the garlic and chili pepper, if used.
Our local health food store has this luscious West African Peanut Soup that they feature in their hot bar on occasion. There’s something about the soup that screams “comfort” (…and eat me of course!). It combines some of my favorite foods in one dish- sweet potatoes, nut or seed butters, greens and coconut milk.
After inquiring about the ingredients used in their soup, I knew I could come up with my own version that I could make anytime…without having to wait whether it’s offered on the menu that day. Dare I say that I might even like this version better? Maybe because I added some of my favorite veggies and punched up the creaminess with the coconut milk…I even enjoyed this cold right from the fridge for lunch one day when I didn’t have a way to heat up the soup at work.
This stew (or hearty soup) is a great way to kick off this Fall season and warm up on chilly evenings :)
If you aren’t familiar with Berbere, it’s a lovely warm Ethiopian spice mixture with a bit of heat made with chile powder, paprika, ginger, coriander and several other spices. It pairs really well with the sweet potatoes, tomato, nut butter and veggies and can be used in a variety of ingredients – . I purchased this spice mix in bulk, but if you are looking to make your own, try this homemade mix.
West African Stew
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Nut-free Option, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free, Paleo-Friendly
1 Tbsp coconut oil or other neutral oil
1-2 medium carrots, small diced
1 large or 2 small stalks of celery, diced
1 small yellow or white onion, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled (if desired and cubed, about 4-5 cups, I used a combo of white and orange flesh)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and minced (omit if you don’t like spicy)
1 14.5oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can full-fat coconut milk
32 oz low-sodium vegetable broth or stock
2 tbsp Berbere spice mix (I like the flavor punch, but you can use 1 tbsp if you like less spicy, mild flavors)
1-2 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos, gluten-free soy sauce tamari or coconut aminos (use coconut aminos for soy-free & paleo)
3/4 cup chunky or creamy peanut butter, sunflower seed butter (for nut-free) OR almond butter* (I’ve tried all 3 versions)
2-3 cups greens, rough chopped (chard, collards, kale, spinach)-optional
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
juice from one small lime
For serving (Optional but oh-so-good)
Cooked rice, quinoa or your favorite grain (omit for grain-free and/or Paleo)
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Chopped green onion
Chopped peanuts, slivered almonds or sunflower seeds
- In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add garlic, sweet potato chunks, and jalapeño and saute another 3-4 minutes until onions are cooked through, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in broth, coconut milk, tomatoes (undrained), Berbere spice mix, and Braggs/aminos and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, roughly 20 minutes.
- Remove 1/2 cup of the hot soup broth and place in a small bowl. Stir in the nut/seed butter and whisk until smooth (this helps prevent clumping and even distribution), then add back to the soup and stir again.
- Toss in the chopped greens and cook for a few minutes wilted.
- Stir in the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Taste and season with additional lime juice, liquid aminos, salt and pepper if desired.
- Ladle into bowls, garnish with grains, green onions, chopped nuts/seeds and additional cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top and enjoy!
*I’ve made variations of this soup…feel free to make it your own! I’ll add in sliced mushrooms, swap out orange for purple sweet potatoes, add in greens, throw in some leftover cooked grains if I need to use some up, etc.
Squash is an everyday staple at the moment – from zucchini and yellow squash to butternut, acorn and kabocha, I eat it all…all the time. Im finding it interesting that some of my favorite foods that used to agree with me are simply off-limits for now. Take peanut butter and nuts for example, I had several varieties on a daily basis and now my stomach just can’t handle it. Gluten-free grains such as rice and quinoa fall into the same category.
Starchy vegetables have been the easiest for my body to accept – carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash, and beets are being consumed by the pounds. I wish I could tell you I was joking! I never thought I could eat so many foods with an orange hue…and I can’t tell if my hands are tinted orange from the constant prep of these ingredients or if it’s a result of all the Vitamin A I am consuming. However, orange is better than a green or purple glow so I won’t complain too much ;)
A variation of this soup is made on a weekly basis as a back-up option for quick lunches, last minutes dinners or an easy snack. Sometimes I’ll throw in some sweet potatoes in place of the cauliflower or add some coconut cream for richness with some spices for a different flavor. This soup is versatile and comforting, feel free to experiment with add-ins for serving to jazz it up a bit — Avocado, baby greens, infused oils, more roasted carrots or squash cubes (if you like a bit of texture in your soup) and caramelized onions are all great options. If you’re looking to bump up the protein, I imagine cooked white beans, quinoa, shredded chicken or hemp seeds would compliment this soup quite well. If you like to make dishes ahead, whip up a big pot of this soup and reheat throughout the week!
Triple Squash Veggie Soup
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Vegan/Vegetarian option, Nightshade-free, Paleo/AIP-friendly
2-3 cups cauliflower florets*
3 medium carrots, diced
1 1/2 cups bone broth, low-sodium veggie broth or chicken stock (use veggie stock for vegetarian/vegan)
2 stalks celery, rough chopped
1 medium onion or 1 leek, rough chopped (optional but adds flavor)
1 medium zucchini, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 medium yellow squash, chopped into 1 inch cubes
cooked flesh from 1/2 medium spaghetti squash (about 2 cups)**(see notes below)
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 – 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
freshly ground pepper to taste
Drizzle of olive oil (about 1-2 Tbsp, I used garlic-infused oil)
fresh juice from 1 lemon
drizzle of apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar (or more lemon juice. I like a generous drizzle but I enjoy the acidity)
For serving (optional)
drizzle of olive oil (I used garlic Italian herb infused oil) – pictured
handful of leafy greens (baby spinach, kale, swiss chard) – pictured
zucchini cheese (recipe to come) or your favorite cheese
fresh avocado, cubed or sliced
fresh chopped herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro)
1. In a medium dutch oven or soup pot filled with 3 inches of water over high heat, add cauliflower, carrots, celery and onion to a steamer basket and cook until almost tender (roughly 5-7 minutes).
2. Add zucchini and yellow squash on top and steam for another 2 minutes or so until tender and let cool slightly. Reserve some of the cooking water just in case you need to add it to a blender.
3. Add broth, rosemary, olive oil, lemon, vinegar, salt and pepper to a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix). Top with steamed veggies and puree in a until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. If you have a smaller blender, you may need to do this in batches, please be careful with hot contents in a closed blender!
4. If you want the soup thinner, add a bit of reserved cooking liquid. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, lemon juice etc and serve!
*Cauliflower adds creaminess to the soup, but you can swap this out for cooked sweet potato (Japanese sweet potatoes are a favorite!) or even white potato if you can eat them. White potatoes are not nightshade-free, paleo or AIP friendly (just in case you need to follow that eating style).
**To cook a spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the strings and the seeds. Cook cut-side down at 350F for 30-40 minutes until tender, based on the size of the squash. Sometimes I will put a couple tablespoons of water to steam in the bottom of a baking pan to steam it a bit while baking. After you remove the squash from the oven, let cool and take a fork to scrape out the “spaghetti” looking strands/flesh. If you like soup with some texture, don’t blend the spaghetti squash and add it in at the end for serving.
Notes: if you want to bump up the protein, feel free to add your favorite protein of choice – cooked beans, shredded chicken, hemp seeds or cooked quinoa if you’d like!