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.

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thin
2 ribs celery, rinsed and sliced very thin
1 medium bulb fennel (sliced, top to bottom around the bulb, into thin blades)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
15-ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cups kale, washed VERY well, deveined and shredded
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, until softening, stirring often. 2. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and fennel. Stir often, approx 5 minutes more, until vegetables begin to wilt.
3. Add tomatoes, kale, 5 cups water, salt and pepper.
4. Allow to boil, immediately reduce heat to medium, and simmer 25-30 minutes, until all vegetables are tender. Stir in the parsley and serve. Serves 4.

Thank you to ClevelandClinicwellness.com for a prior version of this beautiful recipe.


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Simply Black Bean Soup

Sometimes you need to get something on the table pronto-quick-fast! This delicious black bean soup is for those times.

2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
16 oz. salsa
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
optional garnishes: avocado, cilantro

Add half the black beans to a medium-sized pot along with salsa, broth, cumin, and chili powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 10 minutes more.

Blend until smooth with an immersion blender. Add remaining black beans, and heat for 5 minutes.

Garnish with avocado and/or cilantro, if desired.

Thank you to pulses.com for this recipe!

 


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Red Pepper Bisque

If you’ve been looking for a way to branch out and eat more different vegetables, this is it. Every color in your diet represents a different phytonutrient, and every phytonutrient is like a building block for your good health. That’s why it’s important to eat the rainbow, to maximize the number of different colors on your plate, to spread your bets. If you have been feeling like you could use a little more on the red side of the spectrum, make this.
It takes just a few minutes to whip up this Red Pepper Bisque and IT IS GOOD. The original version comes from Food Babe, who has been generating terrific buzz on the subject of cleaning up our food supply and putting pressure on BIG COMMODITY FOOD to do the same. She has got it all figured out, and she’s on your side.

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YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Lentil Soup & Sweet Potatoes

You know how much I love slow cooking and crock pots, greens and sweet potatoes. Put this delicious recipe up to cook on Sunday, and you’ll be all set for days. Consider it your “standby dinner” in case you get stuck in traffic, or at the office, or in a turnstile or a revolving door, or between a rock and a hard place. Or stuck for an idea. Or just plain don’t feel like cooking when you get home. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Roasted Garlic, Parsnip and White Bean Soup

Here’s a soup to, yes, satisfy your sweet tooth! One thing I really love about certain foods, like garlic, parsnips, and onions (tomatoes, too), is that their sweetness develops rather dramatically when you roast them or leave them to cook slowly. And, frankly, there just aren’t enough parsnip recipes around for my taste. Remember though, that if you want to be able to enjoy the subtle sweetness of foods like these, you will want to moderate your intake of sugar and especially corn syrup, both of which tend to overwhelm your tastebuds and raise your threshold for tasting the lesser (though more complex and satisfying) kinds and amounts of sweetness in fruits and vegetables. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Zucchini & Dill Soup

This is such a good project for the abundance of zucchini in your friends’, neighbors’ and coworkers’ gardens! You can make the soup now, with fresh zucchini, or you can make it in a few more months with frozen zucchini. Then again you can make soup now, and freeze that instead of raw cubes of zucchini. If you use frozen zucchini, remember to saute it a little bit longer. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Spicy Black Bean Soup

I’m trying to get you to eat more beans, in case you can’t tell. Peasant food, rustic. Old-fashioned. From the old country. Why did they eat so many beans? Beans are the only food on the planet that’s rich in both fiber and protein. This makes them very special, filling, nutritious. And inexpensive. So eat your beans! Thank you to Mark Bittman, and How to Cook Everything Fast, for the original version of this recipe. If you use canned beans, dinner can be ready in 15 minutes. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Chicken with Yellow Split-Pea Gravy

I made up this rather elegant recipe one Sunday a few weeks back when I got tired of looking at a package of yellow split peas that had been in the cupboard for a very, very long time (no, I’m not going to tell). Embarrassing. Here’s what I did: Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Rice & Collards Soup

Last year I was asked to give a talk on vitamins and minerals. For lack of a more inspired approach, I decided to go in alphabetical order, plodding through all these micronutrients like an elementary school teacher. As part of the talk I shared ideas for good sources of the various vitamins and minerals. To my delight and surprise, I discovered that greens were a source of almost every vitamin I mentioned! Who knew? Greens even have tons of orange and yellow nutrients, like beta-carotene. The dark green pigment hides the lighter ones, but they’re still there. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup is the perfect vehicle for adding all kinds of heat (pepper, chili), nourishing fat (olives, coconuts, sesame, sunflower seeds), bite (onion, garlic), green (cilantro), red (tomato, chili pepper). Am I missing anything?!

Oh yes, it’s guaranteed to warm you from the inside out!! That’s important to remember when this Tuesday’s temperature is forecast to be minus 8 degrees. The good news? There’s a chance you may not notice if you eat this soup! Continue reading