Diaries of a Plant Powered Dietitian

Soups

Detox Sweet Potato & Carrot Ginger Soup
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Just in time for spring, this delightful soup features some key ingredients to kick start your metabolism and support the body systems that play a role in detoxification. Sweet potatoes and carrots are rich in B vitamins, carotenoids, Vitamin A, and vitamin C, which are cofactors needed to support detoxification in the liver. Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin (which gives it that distinctively bright orange hue), and protects against oxidative stress and reduces inflammation, while gingerroot supports healthy digestion and garlic keeps the immune system thriving.

Try this soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top, or sprinkle with cilantro. It’s also tasty if topped with chopped peanuts or sunflower seeds.

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 35 minutes Yield: 3 quarts (approximately 12, 1 cup servings)


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. (16 oz.) of carrots (approximately 4 medium carrots)

  • 1 small sweet potato (approximately 4 oz.)

  • 1, 2” knob of fresh ginger root *use 1 tsp. of dried ginger if fresh is unavailable

  • 1, 1” knob of fresh turmeric root *use ½ tsp. of dried turmeric if fresh is unavailable

  • 1 medium white onion

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juiced from about ½ large lemon)

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

  • 3 cups vegetable broth

  • 1, 13.5-14 oz. can of lite coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen)

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil

Toppings (optional):

  • Unsweetened Greek yogurt

  • Fresh cilantro

  • Shelled sunflower seeds or chopped peanuts

Directions:

  1. Prep the ginger and turmeric by peeling each root (with a paring knife or vegetable peeler) and then grating with a fine toothed cheese grater or mincer. You should end up with minced ginger and turmeric root.

  2. Peel and dice the carrots into approximately ½” rounds. Wash and peel the sweet potato and slice lengthwise and then cut into 1”pieces. Dice the onion.

  3. Heat coconut oil in a medium sized soup pot. Add diced onion, sweet potato, and carrots and sauté until fragrant and softened slightly (the onions should start to turn translucent in about 6-8 minutes). Add the garlic, salt, pepper, ginger, and turmeric and cook another 2-3 minutes.

  4. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Check your veggies to see if they’re sufficiently softened – if not, continue to cook until soft enough to be blended.

  5. Add the coconut milk and lemon juice last and stir. Puree in batches with a blender or handheld immersion blender until smooth.

  6. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, toasted sunflower seeds or chopped peanuts, or fresh cilantro

Three Bean Chili

Even though it’s already the middle of March, it still feels like winter in Idaho! Since the snow was coming down today, I decided to capitalize on more comfort food cooking before spring arrives. This easy yet delicious chili recipe doesn’t include any “fancy” ingredients so you can probably use what you have lying around in your cupboards already! It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser! Plus, it’s packed with protein and fiber from black beans, pinto beans, and kidney (red) beans. The key to a savory, just slightly sweet chili is the addition of cinnamon to this recipe.

This chili is vegan as is, but feel free to add any toppings you desire, such as avocado, shredded cheese, or sour cream. I served it with cornbread.

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 40-50 minutes Makes approximately 8, 1 cup servings

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Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper

  • 2 small to medium carrots

  • 1, 14.5-15 oz. can each of black beans, pinto beans, and red (kidney) beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1, 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (I used organic)

  • 1, 14.5-15 oz. can diced tomatoes with no salt/spices added (I used organic)

  • 1 yellow onion

  • 4 cloves of garlic

  • 1 Tablespoon cumin

  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided

  • Black pepper to taste

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 Tablespoon high-heat cooking oil like grapeseed or avocado oil

Optional Toppings:

  • Sliced avocado

  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

  • Shredded cheese

  • Cilantro

  • Lime wedges

  • Tortilla chips or cornbread

Directions:

  1. Prep your veggies: Wash, peel, and chop carrots into roughly ¼” rounds (discard the root and stem tips). Wash and dice the bell pepper into square-like pieces (remove seeds and inner core). Peel and chop the onion. Peel and mince the garlic cloves.

  2. Heat oil over high heat in a large soup pot. Add the carrots, bell pepper, onion, and ¼ teaspoon of salt and sauté 6-8 minutes until onions are translucent and veggies are softened slightly.

  3. Add the minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, cinnamon, remaining salt, and sprinkle with black pepper. Coat well and stir to combine.

  4. Add the beans, crushed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes. Add 1 cup of water, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until carrots are sufficiently softened and chili is aromatic.

  5. Spoon into bowls and add your toppings or serve with cornbread. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info (per serving):

206 calories, 39 g carbohydrate, 12 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 2 g fat, 10 g protein, 797 mg sodium

Natalie Colla
Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

With all the cold weather we’ve been having lately, I have really been in a soup mood. This hearty and flavorful tortilla soup features corn, black beans, and red peppers. It’s very easy to make and requires minimal prep time. This soup is all about the toppings so don’t be afraid to pile them on!

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Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and chopped

  • 1 small jalapeño, seeds removed and minced (optional – adds a kick!)

  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes in juice (I used Hunt’s)

  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can sweet yellow corn, drained and rinsed

  • 5 cups vegetable broth (I used Better than Bouillon no chicken broth)

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • Juice from 1 lime

  • 1 small head of chopped fresh cilantro

  • Avocado oil for frying (may use grapeseed or any high heat oil you prefer)

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional Toppings

  • Tortilla chips

  • Diced avocado

  • Diced green onions

  • Shredded cheese

  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Directions

Step 1: Coat the bottom of a large soup pot with avocado oil and heat on medium-high. Add the onion, red bell pepper, and jalapeño pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Be careful not to burn!

Step 2: Add the beans, corn, diced tomatoes, cumin, and chili powder and stir. Add the vegetable broth. Bring soup to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until fragrant and vegetables are heated through and softened.

Step 3: Uncover soup and add the lime juice and fresh cilantro. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper if desired. (Note: I did not add salt to this because I didn’t think it needed it, but if you use low sodium broth you may need to).

Step 4: Spoon soup into bowls and top with tortilla chips and any additional toppings you desire. Enjoy!

Note: I like to give credit where credit is due, so I adapted this recipe from a slow cooker tortilla soup recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod (available here).

Roasted Autumn Squash and Apple Soup

This delightful soup features butternut squash and apples that have been roasted in the oven as well as pumpkin puree and a dash of cinnamon to get your fall taste buds kicking. It’s basically a culmination of all things fall in a warm pot of soup. Butternut squash and pumpkin are rich in carotenoids, which are antioxidants that help fight signs of aging and play a role in cancer prevention. They are also good sources of vitamin C, an important immune system booster, and high in fiber, which can delay the rise of glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream after a meal. I served this soup with rosemary sourdough bread and topped with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of truffle oil.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

*Note: this recipe requires a blender or immersion blender

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash (a ¾ lb. squash makes about 2 cups mashed)

  • 1 cup 100% pure pumpkin puree

  • 1 Granny Smith apple

  • 1 carrot stalk (about 12” long)

  • 1 celery stalk (about 12” long)

  • 1 yellow onion

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 1 tsp. cumin

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • ½ tsp. allspice

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • ¼ tsp. black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 cups vegetable broth/stock (I used Better than Bouillon vegetable broth)

  • Optional garnishes: Greek yogurt or truffle oil

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut off the stem and a small bit of the bottom on the butternut squash and slice in half lengthwise (from top to bottom). Scoop out the seeds with a large spoon (you can discard the seeds or keep them for later to roast them). Drizzle lightly with a little olive oil and place face down on a sheet pan. Core your apple and cut into slices, then dice into 1-2” chunks. Toss lightly with olive oil and place next to the squash on your pan.

Step 2: Bake squash and apples in the oven for about 30 minutes until tender and easily pierced with a fork. Note: the apples may be done before the squash.

Step 3: While the squash is baking, prepare vegetables. Peel carrot and cut off the rough ends and slice into rounds. Dice celery and onion. Mince garlic cloves.

Step 4: Once the squash and apples are done baking, remove from the oven and let cool completely before gently peeling the skin from the butternut squash with your hands (the skin should easily separate from the flesh). It will turn out like a squash mash – put in a small bowl and set aside.

Step 5: Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot that will be deep enough to hold the soup. Toss in the onions, celery, and carrots and sauté until fragrant and softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes. Add spices (cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper), apples, butternut squash, and pumpkin puree and mix. Add the vegetable stock and stir well. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 6: Once the soup is done simmering and has thickened a bit, gently puree either with a handheld immersion blender or transfer in batches to a regular blender and puree on low (be careful not to burn yourself).

Serve with warm crusty bread (I used rosemary sourdough bread) and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and/or a drizzle of truffle oil. Enjoy!

Curried Lemony Lentil Soup

This recipe a culmination of some of my favorite lentil soup recipes, and I added a good bit of lemon and kick of curry to give it something extra special. I just love lentils - loaded with protein and fiber, they make a very filling meal and can be added to a variety of soups, salads, and wraps. This soup uses the juice of half a lemon, but feel free to give it an extra squeeze with a lemon wedge just prior to serving for an extra lemony flavor. It also calls for topping with chopped fresh cilantro - this isn't just a garnish but adds more flavor, so don't skip this step!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (from vegetable bouillon; I use Better than Bouillon)
  • 2 carrot sticks, peeled and chopped into 1/2" pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, halved and chopped into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a large lemon
  • 1/4 cup lightly chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Saute onions for 3 minutes or until translucent and fragrant, then add carrots and celery and saute for another 3-4 minutes, or until softened.

  2. Add spices and garlic and saute another 2 minutes

  3. Add lemon juice, broth, and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are cooked (they should be chewy and soft, but not mushy).

  4. Serve in individual bowls topped with cilantro and an extra lemon wedge for garnish. This soup also goes great with warmed pita bread!

Natalie CollaSoups
Tomato Basil Soup

The rain was drumming softly on the roof the other night and the leaves have started to turn their brilliant fall colors, so I thought this would be a perfect night to whip up one of my favorite homemade tomato soups. This soup is perfect for cold days, but one of the reasons I love it is because it's so EASY and takes under 45 minutes to make, which is a huge plus for me and my hectic schedule. This soup is wonderful with sourdough toast or grilled cheese sandwiches.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 - 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 - 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (in their own juice)
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable stock made from vegetable bouillon*
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/3 cup half and half (or plain soymilk if vegan)
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
  • Grated parmesan cheese for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large (3-4 quart) saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Chop the onions and add to saucepan, sautéing gently until translucent and fragrant (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the garlic and heat for 1 minute, being careful not to burn. Add the canned tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, and basil. Stir all together well.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and tomato paste and cover, simmering on low for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the half and half or soymilk. Using a handheld immersion blender, gently puree the soup. You can also transfer the soup in batches and puree in a blender.
  5. Serve topped with additional basil or Parmesan cheese.
  6. *I always use Better than Bouillon (either the "no chicken" vegetarian bouillon or the vegetable bouillon) for all my soups rather than vegetable broth. I find that it provides a much more savory flavor that is needed for vegetarian soups. Simply mix 1 tsp. bouillon with 1 cup water and boil.

Prep Time: 5 minutes         Total Time: 30 minutes              Servings: 16 (8 oz. cups of soup)
Per serving: 48 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrate, 1.2 grams protein, 2 grams fat

Natalie Colla