Seattle is experiencing our first “winter-storm” this weekend with high winds and rain. That type of “stay-indoors” weather always inspires me to make a huge pot of soup, which is what we’re doing today.
Root vegetables are very grounding and beneficial for the high-stress, fast-paced lives that many of us live these days. Because root vegetables grow underground they are able to absorb large amounts of minerals and other nutrients from the soil. In addition to their grounding properties, root vegetables have a whole host of other benefits.
Carrots are a super-food that contain beta-carotene, which is great for eye health, and can cut your cancer risk for many types of cancers in half. Beets are another super-food that are high in potassium, and rich in iron which helps to tonify your blood. The phytochemicals in Fennel help to aid digestion, contain detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties, and are also great for heart health too. Onions and Garlic are also super-foods that can greatly reduce risks for some types of cancers, help build stronger bones, and they contain quercetin which can help treat allergies naturally. Ginger, one of the top super-foods, aids in digestion, has anti-inflammatory properties, reduces cancer risk, and is warming (great for winter.)
By combining root vegetables you can create a variety of soups loaded with health benefits and amazing flavors. My mom made lots of hearty soups as I was growing up, throwing in whatever ingredients were on hand. She taught me to cook pretty seat-of-the-pants and I still cook this way today. Sometimes I reference a recipe to get ideas, but I usually modify it based on what’s in my galley (boat-kitchen for you land-lubbers.)
I realize that many people are not as comfortable cooking this way, so here’s an easy recipe for a delicious Root Vegetable Lentil Soup. In this recipe we’ll add lentils (another super-food) loaded with protein to the root vegetables. Feel to free to substitute vegetables, depending on what you have on hand.
Root Vegetable Lentil Soup
1 quart unsalted organic vegetable or organic chicken broth
1 26oz. box chopped tomatoes (we use unsalted Pomí brand, use any canned chopped tomatoes but watch sodium content)
1½ cups dried lentils (washed)
3 carrots, cut into ½” segments
3 celery stalks, cut into ½” segments
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
2 beets including tops, chopped
½ head cauliflower, chopped
½ head broccoli, chopped
3 cups of greens coarse-chopped (your choice: arugula, chard, kale, spinach, etc., mix and match)
1 cup chopped parsley
¼ cup red-wine vinegar or fresh squeezed lime juice
2 TBSP gluten-free Tamari (soy sauce)
1 TBSP fresh-grated ginger root
1 TBSP black pepper (to taste)
1TBSP non-salt multi-spice (we use Trader Joes 21 Seasoning Salute or Mrs. Dash) Try adding other spices of your choice, to taste: Basil, Cumin, Ground Coriander, or Garam Masala, etc.
Combine all ingredients into a large stock-pot or spaghetti pot, and simmer over low heat for 30minutes or longer.
Total time: 1 hour (30 minutes prep-time, 30 minutes to cook.) This recipe makes 6-8 servings of soup. We generally add more veggies each day for a couple of days and change up the ingredients and flavors as we go. Experiment and enjoy!