Soups & Stews

Food Friday: Mediterranean Kale & White Bean Soup with Sausage

Soup, soup, soup! As I write this it is rainy and cold outside so a warm soup is the perfect companion. This is one of my favourite soups and was found in Fine Cooking Magazine in 2008 by my mom. This soup is so easy to prepare, low in carbohydrates, higher in protein and full of nutrients. A bowl of this soup also quenches the desire for a little spice, and you can adjust this to your liking.

For those who find kale a little too rough for your liking, which is the case when eaten raw, this is a great recipe to try. Steaming or simmering kale softens it, making it easier on your digestion, but still providing you with all the beneficial nutrients. Kale is a great source of fiber, helping with constipation and high cholesterol. It is also high in many vitamins and act as an antioxidant. Aim to include cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, to your diet 4-5 times per week, in soups, salads, smoothies etc.

As for the sausage, be sure to buy good quality meat. You typically need to eat less of it if it is good quality. I buy mine from either the farmers markets, a good butcher or Pete’s. The spicier the better in this soup for me.

With more colds and flus going around this winter, the amount of garlic and onion in this soup helps to stimulate the immune system. Drinking ginger tea or supplementing with vitamin C and/or D can go a long way as well.

Without further ado…the recipe.

Mediterranean Kale & White Bean Soup with Sausage

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb. sweet or spicy Italian sausage (about 3 links, turkey or pork)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • One-half small yellow onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into small dice
  • 1 rib celery, cut into small dice
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 lb. 3 oz. can cannellini or white kidney beans, rinsed and drained, or 2 cups cooked dried beans
  • 1 lb. kale, rinsed, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces (8 cups firmly packed)
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest (optional)

Recipe:

Remove the sausage from its casing and tear it by hand into bite-size pieces.  Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a 4 or 5 quart heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate, leaving any rendered fat in the pot.

Add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to the pot, increase the heat to medium high, and add the onion.  Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the carrot and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften and brown, about 2 minutes more.  Be sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Stir in the garlic, pepper flakes, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute more.  Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat.

When the broth reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium, add the sausage along with any collected juices, and half the beans.  Mash the remaining beans with a fork or wooden spoon and add them to the pot, stirring to distribute.  Stir in the kale, adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, and simmer until the kale is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.  Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest (if using) and season to taste with salt and pepper.

NOTE: You can add more sausage and broth to your liking. Best made ahead and reheated – hence a great lunch!

Enjoy!

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen

 

Food Friday: Ginger Turmeric Soup + the Therapeutic Effects of Turmeric

If you are looking for a flavourful warming soup that is also helpful in detoxifying and soothing your stomach, look no further. My sister shared this recipe with me, and since it has had rave reviews by me and many of my patients. It is a simple meal to prepare and packed with superfoods ginger and tumeric. 

It seems as though turmeric is the new “fad” food, with turmeric soups, turmeric teas and turmeric milks etc, therefore I wanted to shed little light on this spice so you know WHY you are eating it. It is great to be consumed liberally in your diet, however when specific medicinal effects are desired, higher doses should be used.  

Turmeric is a perennial herb of the ginger family and is the major ingredient in curry powder for its flavour and colour. It has a plethora of uses from anticancer, liver and heart protective, soothing for the digestive track, and most notably as an anti-inflammatory for pain and autoimmune conditions. The active component is called curcumin. In terms of its anti-inflammatory effects, studies have shown curcumin to be more effective than cortisone in acute inflammatory, slightly less in chronic inflammatory, and with no toxicity or side effects. 

Unfortunately turmeric is poorly absorbed. Studies have shown that 40%-85% of an oral dose of turmeric passes through the GI track, leading to even smaller dose of curcumin. For this reason, it is important to use a higher quality product with a greater bioavailability. As well for its therapeutic effect, a higher dose is necessary of this higher quality product, around 1200-1500mg turmeric for around 200-300mg curcumin absorption. Much higher than what you would get in one teaspoon of powder. Patients of mine that start taking a higher quality supplements at a higher dose, notice their pain decrease much more quickly. 

Again, eating it liberally is good, however if you suffer from any specific issue you may need to supplement at a higher dose with a good quality supplement. 

Consult a health care practitioner to figure out the correct dose for you, and potential drug interactions with these higher doses.  

Ginger Turmeric Soup

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 big carrot sticks
  • 1 large sweet potato, or 2 small
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp turmeric, ground
  • 2 tsp (madras) curry powder (or curry paste)
  • 2 tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 4-5 cups veggie stock
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Peel and roughly chop the carrots and sweet potatoes and place on a baking sheet. Toss everything with a drizzle of olive oil, and a good amount of salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes, or until everything is golden brown.

3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat a bit of oil over low heat, and add the chopped onion and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and cook until translucent. Add the turmeric, curry powder, and grated ginger and heat just until fragrant (30 seconds). Add the coconut milk and stock, and bring to a gentle boil, cover, and reduce to a low simmer. Add water to thin out if necessary.

4. Add all of the roasted veggies to the pot. Leave the pot uncovered and turn the heat off. Allow it to cool for a bit and then puree in a high speed blender.

5. Taste and adjust the spices to your liking.

Enjoy!

In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen

 

(Photo credit: www.juliannehough.com)

 

Food Friday: Moroccan Fall Vegetable Stew

fall.jpg

Well it is officially fall! My favourite season. So far, fall in Nova Scotia isn't too shabby with warmer temperatures sticking around during the day, but we will soon see the colours start to change and scarves making the yearly come-back. 

Another sign of fall is finding a variety of squash at your local market. For me that happened last week when I found the hard to find delicata squash at the Halifax Forum Market! Finding this squash only means making my favourite moroccan fall vegetable stew, from the Whole Life Nutrition cookbook. This is a wonderful stew that celebrates the flavours of fall with warming spices rich in beta-carotene and antioxidants. It a great dish if you are avoiding meat, gluten or dairy, filled with nutritious squash, potatoes and carrots, and topped with a little sweetness. It may seem like a lot of ingredients but it comes together easily and is worth it. I serve it over a little quinoa with a side green salad. This stew never fails to impress!

Ingredients:

                                     The delicata squash :)

                                     The delicata squash :)

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom (I get mine from Bulk Barn)
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 3 medium red potatoes, diced
  • 1 small delicata squash, peeled, and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup Zante currants (or regular, again from Bulk Barn)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (to make your own, soak overnight and cook)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dried figs, chopped
  • 3/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
  • fresh mint for garnish

Recipe:

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat, and add the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, then the cardamom, curry powder, salt, pepper and cayenne. Saute and stir a few minutes more.
  3. Next add the carrots and potatoes. Stir well to coat with the oil and spices. Saute-stir for about 5 minutes, then add the squash and stir. Add the currents, tomato sauce, chickpeas and water. Place a lid on the pot and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary.
  4. Toast the almonds for about 10 minutes at 350F (or in a toaster oven like I do). 
  5. Before serving, sprinkle the figs and almonds on top of the stew. Top with freshly chopped mint. (Or save some nuts and figs for leftovers). Serves 4-6. 

Enjoy!

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen 

(Photo credit: divinedestinationcollection.com, nesfp.org)

Food Friday: Summer Tomato Harvest Soup

Zucchini galore these days! There are many ways to eat them this summer - add them to bread, muffins, stir-fry, spiralize for noodles or add them to a soup. I am a big fan of summer soups, since they are quick nutritious meals for lunches at the office but also warming, since our bodies don't recognize its summer when we sit in the office all week. This soup is similar to chili, but full of summer veggies you can find at your local market. Steer clear if you are on an inflammation diet, or suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, since it contains nightshade vegetables, which can be inflammatory. This recipe is from one of my favourite cookbooks OhSheGlows. 

Ingredients:

Tomatosoup-Dr.Karen
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, if desired, and diced (optional but recommended)
  • kernels from 2 ears fresh corn, or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels 
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 (24 oz/680g) jar or can crushed tomatoes (I crushed a can of whole San Rem tomatoes myself)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 (15 oz/425g) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Optional toppings - sliced avocado, fresh lime juice, cilantro

Recipe:

Serves 4; Prep time - 20 minutes; Cook time - 30 minutes

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Stir in the bell pepper, jalapeño, corn kernels, and zucchini. Raise the heat to medium-high and salute for 10 minutes more.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, broth, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring the soup to a low boil and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the black beans and simmer for 2 minutes more.
  5. Scoop the soup into bowls and garnish with your toppings of choice (mine are avocado, lime juice, and lots of cilantro - good for the liver!) 
  6. Enjoy!

Do you have any favourite summer soup recipes to share? 

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen