Starting today we’ll be featuring Freshness Farms enthusiast and health coach, Christine de la Cruz in a monthly column called “Christine’s Crossing”. With Christine’s wellness-oriented coaching you’ll learn how to incorporate Freshness Farms produce into everything from soup to main courses to juice and smoothies—like her sneaky zucchini noodles and vibrant beet and carrot juice. This week Christine shares how to turn a refrigerator bursting with veggies into a warming potful of vitamins and flavor….
I have a confession to make: as a health coach, I love to eat and prepare healthy food, but I am a lazy cook. I don’t really like to follow recipes or spend a lot of time slicing and dicing. Confession two: I don’t mind eating soup in the middle of summer. In summer we have a tendency to mostly eat raw or cold foods, which can be tough on our digestion and cause bloating. Warm soup is easy on our systems, plus it’s really nice to have a potful of something quick and healthy at the ready when we are hungry! Making soup is a great way to use up any produce we have overflowing—which we can all relate to in the best possible way. Right now my fridge is loaded with the last great delivery from Freshness Farms, and I want to use up every last bit, while it’s at the peak of freshness.
Having admitted I’m a lazy cook, it’s lucky that I own a Vitamix high-speed blender. I put my veggies in the Vitamix, cover them with water and let it do the chopping for me. No recipe, no measuring. Just throw everything in and give it a whirl.
I use what I have from Freshness Farms (this week celery, kale, garlic, parsley and beet greens) and toss in other odds and ends lingering in the fridge, as well. Once processed, the veggies go from blender to pot. The great thing about this soup is that I can tailor it to my liking with the herbs and veggies I have on hand. I also love to finish it off with some fresh miso. Not only does miso paste add a pleasant saltiness and creamy texture, since it is fermented, miso is an excellent addition to our diets. Fermented foods add good bacteria to our digestive systems (as probiotics, as opposed to the antibiotics we might take to kill bacteria) that help curb cravings. Miso not only aids digestion, it is high in antioxidants and strengthens our immune systems. You’ll find miso in a health or natural food store in the refrigerated section.
And though this soup is easily pulled together without measuring a thing, here are instructions for the “real” cooks out there who might appreciate the specifics!
Creamy Vegetable Soup
Ann’s notes: Christine purées her soup, then adds the kale. If you enjoy a chunky soup, try puréeing just half the batch, leaving the rest as is. Either way this soup is just right for a soothing back-to-school lunch: Ladle into a thermos and zip into a backpack with a hug.
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 inch piece peeled ginger
- 1 cup beet greens
- 1 zucchini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium head of cauliflower
- 1 sweet onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 cups filtered water or stock, or enough to cover the ingredients
- 3 tablespoons organic, unpasteurized white miso paste
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil or any fresh herbs you have on hand
- 1 cup kale
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt (or to taste)
- Rough chop all of your vegetables and greens, keeping them separated.
- Add carrots, celery, ginger, beet greens and zucchini to a large soup pot with the olive oil and sauté for 5 minutes over medium high heat.
- Add cauliflower to the pot with onions and garlic. Cover with filtered water and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft. When cauliflower is fully cooked, puree the mixture with an immersion blender or process in a blender.
- Return mixture to the pot and add miso paste, herbs, kale and sea salt. Let the warm soup wilt the kale, then serve!
Christine de la Cruz is a native Minnesotan who moved to balmy California after freezing for far too many years. After taking time off from a career with the San Jose Sharks to raise her daughter and son, she decided to pursue her lifelong interest in health, by training as a health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. To learn more check out Christine’s website and introductory video at onthehighwaytohealth.com, her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/OnTheHighwayToHealth?ref=hl or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ann’s Recipe Links and Quick Tips:
Try a kale sandwich. Yes, that’s right, kale on a sandwich.
Peel a beet, then cut into long, thin strips (a julienne peeler or mandoline slicer works well for this). Toss with balsamic vinaigrette and toasted walnuts. Add an apple cut into thin strips. Toss lightly to combine. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.
Substitute broccoli into Christine’s soup. Or just add it into the mix.
Cut broccoli into florets (use the stem too) and sauté with lots of chopped garlic in a bit of olive oil. Add chunks of fresh tomato and a drained can of white beans when the broccoli is bright green and barely tender. Cook for another minute or two until tomatoes have softened.
Try an easy Indian-inspired broccoli sauté. Add other veggies too, if you like.
Or a fragrant Thai-inspired curry.