YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Yellow Squash Crockpot Soup

This soup, perfect for fall days and nights, cooks up beautifully in a crock pot. If you put together all the ingredients in the morning, the house will smell heavenly all day, and the soup will be ready to eat when dinnertime comes. On the other hand, if evening time works better for prepping the ingredients, the house will smell heavenly when you wake up, and the soup will be ready at lunchtime and also keep til dinnertime.

Two strategies contribute to the flavor of Yellow Squash Soup. The first is slicing of vegetables thinly, which increases the available surface area, increases absorption of spices into the vegetables, and makes more flavor available to all the taste buds in your happy, waiting mouth. So take your time, and cut the vegetables thinly. Not paper thin, just thin. The second is slow cooking, which is a wonderfully reliable way to enhance flavor and make everything taste the very best it possibly can.

2 long yellow (zucchini-type) squash, medium
2 carrots, peeled and sliced in 1/4-inch slices
1/2 Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced very thinly
4 stalks celery (leaves included), sliced very thinly
1/3 cup quinoa
1/3 cup green mung beans (hard, unsprouted)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
one whole lemon, sliced in half cross-wise
water to fill a large crockpot half way (approx 1 quart)

  1. Cut each yellow squash in half lengthwise, and slice thinly to create half-moons. Add to crockpot along with carrots, onion, celery, quinoa, and mung beans.
  2. Add olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and mustard seed.
  3. Fill the crockpot halfway with water. Allow to cook on low setting for 8-12 hours, but feel free to leave for longer if necessary.
  4. Squeeze the juice of the two lemon halves into the soup just before serving.

Hearty appetite, and happy fall!


Sweet New Year Soup

Tonight, as the sun slips below the horizon, we will begin our celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. Traditional Rosh Hashanah foods tend toward the sweet and the circular: sweet for a sweet new year, and circular to represent the seasons that run one into the next, year after year, around and around. Instead of the usual braid, we even twist our challah (egg bread) into a round this time of year.  Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Golden Gazpacho Soup

You can think of gazpacho as soup and salad, both, at the same time. It will make a great first course at a nice dinner, but you can also take it to work for lunch (maybe with Mary’s Gone Crackers or a slice of toasted whole-grain bread). It would also make a scrumptiously satisfying mid-afternoon snack. Continue reading


Curried Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Soup

Everything Yotam Ottolenghi touches turns to gold. If you don’t already have one of his cookbooks [Ottolenghi (2008), Plenty (2010), Jerusalem (2012)] in your home, prepare yourself. YO takes flavor to the next level. Look at this list of ingredients – I’ve used them all, but never to such glorious effect. And it’s not just flavor. He takes texture to the next level, and color. Surely his kitchen has more than three dimensions. Continue reading




YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: After-Thanksgiving Turkey Soup

No introduction is really necessary for this recipe. Just pop on over to the supermarket for some scallions and a little knob of ginger if you need, and make this soup with your leftovers. There’s a good chance you already have all the other ingredients. It’ll take all afternoon to cook, but only 10 minutes to throw together. The biggest time investment is looking through the bones for bits of meat. But don’t feel the need to go crazy looking for every last piece. Feel free to stop when you feel like it. It’ll be enough, and it’ll be worth it. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Fennel Vegetable Soup

The folks where I work are always coming up with the most sublimely delicious recipes. This is one. If you’ve never eaten fennel, you are in for a delicious treat. Raw, it’s crunchy and sweet, a bit like celery with a faint whiff of licorice. Cooked it’s a different vegetable altogether. A great addition to any vegetable soup recipe, it is a total team player, happily absorbing other flavors from the pot at the same time as it shares its own. Fennel comes in bulbs, and the easiest way to cut it up, no matter how you intend to use it, is to slice it in half from top to bottom, and then to slice the half-bulb into thin blades, all of equal length and width, as you work around the bulb. Continue reading



YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Vegetable Borscht

I wanted to share this vegetable borscht now(!) so that, hopefully, you’ll have time to make it the week (freeze), day (refrigerate), or at least the morning before you plan to serve it. Which means that, at the very least, you’ll want to make this recipe first thing in the morning to give its flavors time to blend. Besides its deliciousness, another one of the great things about this recipe is the fact that it meets the requirements of a great many different kinds of nutritional approaches. There’s nothing like making many people happy, all at the same time. And that’s not something that should be taken for granted, either! Continue reading