Back to Basics: Green Soup

Green soup with sriracha, mmmm!

I’m really looking forward to my workshop, ‘Food as Medicine’, that I am preparing for the Women’s Wellness Weekend at Becket-Chimney Corners.  I have been thinking a lot about which foods are truly medicinal for me.  When I’m not feeling well there are certain foods that always make me feel good, especially when my Candida is getting out of balance because of too much stress, too little sleep or hormonal fluctuations.  I realized that my go to Green Soup recipe is at the top of my good for me foods list.  And I have not been eating it! It’s so important to eat the foods that best support a healthy you and I think it’s time to incorporate Green Soup back into my diet.

This is the soup I ate while recovering from Candida, it’s very low in carbohydrates, very high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and easy to digest.   Green Soup goes really well with all sorts of herbs and spices that encourage a healthy internal balance.  It’s basically an immune boosting multi-vitamin you can eat as often as you like.   A few servings a week is about the right dose for me, enough to keep me healthy but not so much that I’ll be bored to tears eating it all the time.  It freezes well so I can make a big batch, put it into single serving containers in the freezer and take one out when I need it.  It’s very helpful for me to have some meals planned in advance that require only that I heat and eat.  If I don’t plan anything ahead I sometimes end up making less than awesome choices.  Here’s my basic recipe for Green Soup along with a few heat and eat serving suggestions so that you can customize the flavor of the soup.  This is very important as far as getting medicinal doses of different spices and herbs as well as keeping you and your taste buds happy!

Green Soup ingredients: leeks, kale, zucchini, broccoli, jalapeno and garlic.

Green Soup ingredients: leeks, kale, zucchini, broccoli, jalapeno and garlic.

Ingredients:

4-6 Tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil  (this is the only significant source of calories in the whole recipe so don’t be shy!)

3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped or pressed

1 jalapeño, chopped.  Add more or less or none at all.  I used a whole one and still added spice to the finished soup.

3-4 large leeks, white/light green parts only, sliced thin in half moons

3-4 medium zucchinis, chopped into roughly 1 inch cubes

Veggie broth, about 4-6 cups

1 bunch of spinach or kale (I used kale today and really like the flavor!)

1 bunch of broccoli chopped into bite sized pieces.

*A note about broccoli:  My grandmother, who was a young girl during the great depression, explained to me that broccoli stems are for eating.  I often peel them and grate them up with cabbage when I make coleslaw.  Today I peeled the rough bits towards the end, chopped them up small and added them in with the rest of the broccoli.  Unless you are going to feed the stems to your farm animals or add them to your worm bin, please consider eating them!!

The Procedure

Over low-medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed soup pan add your oil, garlic, jalapeño and leeks, sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the leeks are wilted and soft.

Sautéing leeks, garlic and jalapeno in olive oil.

Next, add in all the zucchini and keep on sautéing until the zucchini is soft.  About 8-10 minutes.

Add in the veggie broth, about 4+ cups to start with.  Honestly I never measure, I just pour water from the kettle and add a few of those handy broth concentrate packets from Trader Joe’s.  You can add more broth for a thinner soup but I prefer mine thick and more like stew.  Get the broth hot by turning the heat up to medium.

After you have added all the veggies adjust the broth so that the veggies are barely covered.

As soon as the broth is hot add in the broccoli and kale/spinach and cook until just tender.  DO NOT overcook the broccoli, over done broccoli is not awesome and a whole pot of over done broccoli soup will not get eaten.  I know because I have done just that and it was sad.

Remove from heat, use a wand blender or regular blender (make sure to vent the blender!!) to puree the soup.  Adjust for salt and add more broth if you want.

Now you have basic Green Soup.  I like to portion mine out into large servings, the soup is really low in calories so be generous with portion size!  Keep some in the fridge and some in the freezer for later in the week.

This is all the soup I had left over plus the big bowl I ate for lunch!

Variations….they are limitless but here are a few to start:

When you want to re-heat refrigerated or frozen soup, start with a tablespoon of oil in a pan large enough for the soup.  Heat up your spices over medium-low heat until they are fragrant and then add the soup and heat til it’s warm.  Add fresh or dried herbs at the end.

*another note: I think microwaves are weird and I don’t trust them so that’s why my instructions are always for the stove top.

Italian style: fennel, cumin, chili flakes, more garlic in olive oil.   Then basil, parsley and oregano to the warmed soup.

Curry: your favorite curry powder mix in coconut oil, heat then add coconut milk with the soup.  Add cilantro and or parsley at the end.

Sautee mushrooms in butter with salt and black pepper.  Add the soup and mix together.

Top with a dollop of unsweetened greek yogurt, or goat cheese,  this is especially great on spicy green soup.

You can eat this soup cold, like a green gazpacho, just add cilantro and parsley, a splash of vinegar and hot sauce.

Today I added some sriracha and about 2 teaspoons of raw apple cider vinegar directly into my soup bowl for a tangy, spicy flavor.  There are more variations, I will post them as I try them out.

Please post your own suggestions and favorites!

Zucchini Pancakes

Here’s my favorite way to eat up all those zucchini’s and save the left overs for a colder zucchini-less winter day!  Dana came up with this recipe and we think it’s ready for prime time so….here ya go!

Oh yeah, as with many of my/our recipes the measuring is approximate and the total carb count is low, though this recipe does call for flour (We used chick pea flour for flavor and because it’s lower in carbohydrates and higher in fiber).

Ingredients:

8 Cups shredded zucchini, salted and set in a collander to drain for 15-20 minutes

2 small onions, chopped fine

2-4 cloves of garic, or more if you want! Pressed or chopped fine.

zest of a small lime

a Tablespoon or so of lemon juice

oregano, black pepper and more salt to taste (these three are all optional and delicious)

4 medium sized eggs, beaten

about 1 Cup of flour, chick pea works great, oat flour or whole wheat works too.

The Procedure:

Shred the zucchini, by hand if you want a work out or with your shredder Cuisinart attachment.  Toss the shredded zucchini with salt and let it drain in a colander over a bowl.  I know it’s tempting to skip this step but it is crucial to ending up with yummy pancakes instead of globs of mush.  You’ve been warned!

Beat the eggs in a large bowl (large enough to accommodate all the ingredients), add in the onion, garlic, lime zest, lemon juice, oregano and black pepper.

Go back to your sweating zucchini and give it a good squeeze.  You can save the zucchini water for soup or you can be super hardcore and just drink it, it’s good for you!  Squeeze as much water as you can, let it rest and squeeze again.  When you’re zucchini is significantly reduced in size and it’s drained for a good 15 min and you’ve pressed out a good deal of delicious zucchini water you are ready to add it to your egg and seasoning mixture.  Mix everything together.

The mixture will be soupy, which is where the flour comes in.  Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time till your zucchini mix is like thick muffin batter.  You are now ready for frying!

I used my large cast iron skillet to cook these since I use my large cast iron skillet for everything.  Add organic vegetable oil to generously coat the pan and heat to medium high.  You can make these pancakes as small or as large as you want just be sure to get them nice and brown on each side.  Set them on a plate covered with paper to absorb the excess oil.  Serve immediately, topped with fresh goat cheese and more oregano or, let them cool and wrap them up individually and store them in the freezer.  They make an excellent quick meal, just unwrap and pop them in your toaster oven or under the broiler.

Do you have an other suggestions or tips to make this recipe even better?