Spring veggies are coming! It is already looking and feeling like spring (maybe even summer with the warm days), I have wisteria and roses blooming in my yard and the teeny tiniest sprouts of my cana lilies are popping up. Soon our spring veggies will arrive in the farmers markets, in fact the Moreland Farmer’s Market opens May 4th!
While fresh from the market veggies are the best tasting (and healthiest), frozen comes in a close second. Frozen produce is picked in season and flash frozen keeping vitamins and nutrients intact and allowing us to enjoy corn, peas, okra and other delicious summer veggies in the dead of winter.
This spring green soup utilizes fresh spinach, mint, and parsley and frozen peas. I made a double batch this week and while it makes a lovely meal by itself, I have been experimenting with adding toppings like shredded chicken, sunflower seeds, and a splash of olive oil. I know I say this about a lot of my recipes, but this one is SO EASY! All you have to do is chop your veggies (and they are going to get pureed so no need to worry about precision), saute for a few minutes, then blend everything together. If you have an immersion blender it will come in handy here. If not you can puree the soup in a blender, or vitamix, just be very careful when transferring it from the pot.
To make a vegetarian version omit butter, sub veggie broth for chicken stock, and sub cashew cream for yogurt.
Try this recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below…
Spring Green Soup
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 leek, while and light green parts chopped
- 2 tsps sea salt
- 3 cups of chicken stock
- 5 cups fresh spinach (about 6-8 oz.)
- 2 1/2 cups frozen green peas (12 oz.)
- 1 cup plain (unsweetened) Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice (1/2 of a lemon)
- Heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add leeks and salt and saute for 5 minutes, or just enough to soften the leeks. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add peas and spinach and cook 3-4 minutes, or until spinach is wilted. Turn off soup and let it sit for a minute.
- Carefully transfer soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender right in the pot). Add yogurt, parsley, mint and lemon juice and blend until the soup is smooth.
- To serve, garnish with a few sprigs of mint, a squeeze of lemon or a splash of olive oil. Can be served warm or chilled. Enjoy!
Anne McCranie is a Portland (Sellwood), Oregon based personal trainer and licensed massage therapist. She offers this recipe to tickle your taste buds. Please see your medical professional for specific dietary advice.
What can I say, I’m on a bit of a soup kick this winter. As a matter of fact I have a pot of Tom Kha Gai soup simmering away as I type this.
What about soup for breakfast?
While not so common here, there are many cultures that start their day with a warm bowl of nourishing soup. My friend Minga offers this breakfast soup recipe featuring highly nutritious chicken broth and eggs. Eggs have gotten a bad rap over the years. I consider them to be a health food and eat eggs almost every day. Eggs provide high quality proteins, vitamins, nutrients, minerals and good fats.
Growing up in Thailand most of our breakfasts were savory. Often we would have noodle soups, rice soups, meats, veggies and eggs of all kinds to nourish us deeply for a day of activity. Personally, a day without eggs is akin to a day without water. We eat eggs every day unless there is a crisis and we can’t get local farmers’ eggs with golden yolks.
This is one of the soups we love to have in the morning designed after congee, but without the starchy rice component. The recipe below is for 2 people. Feel free to double it or triple it depending on your family size. Red Boat fish sauce is a must in this dish to make it taste really Thai. It’s the only fish sauce I have found without sugar in it.
- 2 cups of Thai chicken broth with some of the meat returned to the broth
- 5 eggs
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- salt to taste
- julienned ginger
- chopped cilantro
- chopped green onion
- dried shrimp
- fried garlic
- Heat broth and chicken in pot at a medium heat until lightly boiling. While the broth is heating, blend the eggs in a bowl with a hand blender or mix with a blender.
- Pour the mixed eggs into the broth slowly while stirring. Turn the heat to low and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Add fish sauce and salt to taste.
- Serve in portion sized bowls and garnish to taste!
Thanks to Metta River for use of this recipe and photo. Visit Shawn and Minga’s website for more yummy and healthy recipes, and news on their upcoming workshops.
Shawn Kinsella is a Certified Nutritional Therapist and Licensed Massage Therapist here in Portland. He uses evidence-based nutritional counseling to create a personalized nutrition program that helps restore balance, harmony and vitality to your body.
Minga Lily is an integrative therapist fusing traditional Thai medicine, energy assessment, yogic exercises and dialogue addressing the psyche. She assists her clients in developing ongoing self-care practices to alleviate pain, restore balance and encourage optimal health. Minga enjoys working with clients of all ages who are motivated to maintain self-care routines that sustain and enhance the work she does with them.
Learn more about Shawn and Minga at www.mettariver.com
Ok last month I gave you a salad recipe so this month – cake!
My buddy Rachel is a self proclaimed “megan” meaning she is gluten free, dairy free and consumes mostly meat, veggies, fruit and some grains. So my sweetie Jack found this cake recipe for her birthday dinner last month. It was a big hit!
I love that (besides being delicious) the recipe is fairly easy to put together and contains ingredients you should be able to pick up at any grocery store. While I would hardly consider cake health food, the apples provide vitamin C, soluble fiber and powerful antioxidants that have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, Alzheimers, cancers and other diseases. Cinnamon has been shown to regulate blood sugar and walnuts are linked to improved brain function. So have an occasional piece of homemade cake and enjoy!
We experimented with sweet vs tart apples and I favored the sweet. The original recipe called for Golden Delicious. The cake has a chewy, brownie like consistency and you really do need to cook it for an hour to get it cooked all the way through. Try this recipe and let me know what you think.
Rachel’s Gluten Free Apple Cake
- 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cups white sugar
- 1 cup light olive oil
- 3 eggs
- 4 small apples – peeled, cored and chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 inch pan (I recommend butter) and lightly flour (I used rice flour).
2. Whisk first seven ingredients (flours to salt) in a bowl.
3. Whisk sugar, oil and eggs in a separate bowl.
4. Stir sugar mixture into flour mixture and combine well. Fold in apples and walnuts.
5. Pour and press batter into pan. The batter will be very thick – use your hands to mush it into the pan.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for one hour, or until a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
I’ve been on a soup kick this winter and wanted to share one of my favorites, Tom Kha Gai. Spicy, savory and rich with coconut milk this winter soup will warm your bones. This version calls for chicken breasts and chicken stock.
Cooking for vegetarians? Sub veggie stock for the chicken stock and add veggies (celery, carrots, potatoes…) instead of chicken. This recipe is pretty forgiving so feel free to experiment.
- 1 quart chicken broth
- one 15 oz. can of coconut milk
- 1-2 whole dried thai chillies diced, or a pinch of dried chile flakes
- 1-2 inches of freshly grated ginger
- 2 sticks of lemongrass
- 2 thinly sliced chicken breasts
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp of brown sugar
- juice from one fresh lime
- 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
- small bunch of chopped green onions
- handful of cilantro
- one thinly sliced red bell pepper
1. Bring chicken broth, coconut milk, dried chillies, ginger, lemongrass (and any additional veggies) to a boil. Simmer for ten minutes.
2. Add sliced chicken breast and cook for two minutes.
3. Add fish sauce, brown sugar and lime juice.
4. In separate serving bowls assemble mushrooms, green onions, cilantro and red peppers to your liking (this recipe should make four large servings).
5. To serve, pour soup over veggies. Cover and let sit for two minutes.
I came upon a version of this recipe while I was home for the holidays and wanted to share it with you. Carrots are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, and potassium and the shrimp and eggs pack a protein punch. Try this and let me know what you think.
- 10 – 12 large carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch matchsticks
- 2 cups small to medium shrimp
- 4 boiled eggs
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 1 tbsp creole mustard (sub brown or dijon if needed)
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/4 cup diced red bell peppers
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- salt and pepper to taste
- hot sauce to taste
Set a bowl of ice water in the sink. Peel and devein your shrimp. Bring a large pot of water to boil and poach your shrimp 1-2 minutes until just pink. Scoop them out and place in the ice bath. Poach carrots in your shrimp water until just tender and scoop them out and into the ice bath. Separate eggs whites from yolks and dice the whites. In a large bowl mix the yolks, mayonnaise, mustards and oil. Mix in peppers, garlic, onions and add salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Drain your carrots and shrimp. Mix the cooled carrots, shrimp and egg whites with the dressing and serve.