February 28, 2014

Soup!

During this last moon cycle before spring equinox, I like to strengthen immunity and soothe my winter-weary spirit with soup. Here are some tips to cook ahead and be flexible with this delicious one-pot wonder. 

The Building Blocks of Soup


Protein: Next time you cook protein like beans, eggs, chicken, beef, tempeh, or tofu, make a double batch for soup. Perhaps you a roasted a chicken earlier in the week, or boiled pinto beans for tacos — whatever you have leftover will make the perfect addition to your soup.

Grains: Did you eat millet, rice, buckwheat, or oats recently? All of these make a great add-in to enrich soups and offer filling fiber. If you don’t have any left over, rice noodles and oats (yes, savory oats are delicious!) cook quickly and are terrific in soup.

Vegetables: Have leftover cooked broccoli, kale, or carrots? Blend veggies and add them to your broth! Not only does this put leftovers to good use, but it’s a great way to sneak added nutrients into your meal without your kids even knowing they are eating veggies.

Slow Cooker Magic
Let soup cook during the day! Slow cookers are helpful: simply throw some ingredients in before you leave the house and by the time you get home you’ll have a delicious stew waiting to be served. 

Try this general guideline: three parts liquid (try chicken or vegetable broth), one part protein, one part starch (beans or whole grains) and tons of vegetables. Layer them with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and raw grains on the bottom, raw vegetables and spices/salt in the middle, cooked protein on top - all covered with liquid.

To prepare slow cooker soup ingredients ahead, set aside an hour on your day off to divide out chicken/beans, potatoes, veggies, whole grains, and anything else you want in your soups into re-sealable freezer bags. On busy days, you can simply dump the bag in the slow cooker on your way out the door in the morning.

Slow Cooker Soup Recipes

Mung Bean Vegetable Soup
You will need:
1 cup cooked mung beans (about 1/2 cup dry beans)

2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
2 large yellow onions
4 stalks celery
½ inch fresh ginger root
1 turnip, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 bunch collard greens, chopped
1 teaspoon each: garam masala and coriander seed powder
½ Tablespoon each: cumin seed powder and turmeric root powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish of cilantro if desired

Soak beans at breakfast and cook in slow cooker overnight (from 6pm to 6am for example).
Rinse and drain in the morning. 
To the bottom of the slow cooker, add oil and rice.
Add all the vegetables
Add spices.
Add cooked mung beans. 
Cover with 5 cups stock (chicken or vegetable).
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

***
Zucchini Soup
You will need:
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 large yellow onion
1 inch fresh, chopped ginger root
Salt and pepper to taste (1 teaspoon each)
1 teaspoon each: turmeric, coriander, cumin and thyme
4 large zucchini, chopped into crescents
1 bunch fresh basil

In a slow cooker, add oil, onions, ginger, and spices.
Add zucchini.
Cover with 3 cups water or stock.
Cook for 6 hours on low heat.
Wash and chop 1 bunch basil. Add to soup, stir, and turn off heat.
Blend soup with immersion blender or in food processor. Enjoy!

***
Tuscan Ribollita Soup
You will need:
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 onions, peeled and chopped into crescents
3 carrots, chopped into cubes
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup vegetable stock (make your own or choose a brand with no sugar)
1 cup cooked cannellini or great northern beans
1 sprig fresh rosemary OR 2 Tablespoons dried rosemary
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
½ cup rolled oats
Soak beans at breakfast and cook in slow cooker overnight (from 6pm to 6am for example).
Rinse and drain in the morning. 
To the bottom of the slow cooker, add oil, celery, onions, garlic and carrots. 
Add sauteed sausage if using.
Add beans.
Add the kale and oats. 
Add the tomatoes with their juices, broth and rosemary. Add 3 cups water.
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

2 comments:

Jennifer Guerin said...

What great, simple advice on building a great soup. Thanks, Lisa. Tuscan Ribollita, here we come!

Lisa Mase said...

Thanks Jennifer! Enjoy! A little taste of Italia...:)

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