Diaries of a Plant Powered Dietitian

Soups

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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

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!