A Healthy Thanksgiving Soup

Healthy Thanksgiving Soup

A lot of people associate Thanksgiving with a plate full of turkey and a bunch of other stuff smushed onto the plate. But sometimes its nice to switch it up a little and add a course or two, slowing it down, adding an extra layer of civilization to the crazy, energized occasion with friends and family. This porridge-like soup does the job pretty well, and although it is super rich and creamy, it is actually vegan, so you wont weigh your guests down too much before the main turkey event, and everyone at the table can enjoy it, whatever their dietary considerations.

pumpkin, potato & leek soup

1 pound red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into quarters
1 pound or about 2 cups (or more if you love pumpkin) cooked fresh pumpkin pulp or canned equivalent.
2 leeks, trimmed and cut into quarter inch pieces
1 parsnip, diced
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 quarts vegetable broth (or chicken broth for non-vegan)
2 tsp. herbes de provence
1 cup raw pumpkinseeds (pepitas) Read More

5 Spice Eggplant with Soba Noodles

Yay! Two of my favorite things, eggplant with Chinese 5 spice and soba noodles, rolled into one dish. I have been wanting to try this for a while and finally got around to it, and I am really glad I did. You could probably also add other veggies to this like roasted peppers, chopped spinach, and-or steamed bok choy, for example, to give it more dimension, but I love it like this, just simple and straightforward. Enjoy!

5 spice eggplant with soba noodles

8 ounces dried soba noodles (look for 100% buckwheat if possible-it’s healthier)
1 large regular, or 3 Japanese eggplants
2 tbsp. tamari or liquid aminos
2 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. rice vinegar (unseasoned)
4 tbsp. mild oil like grape seed
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. Chinese 5 spice
1/2 tsp. garlic chile sauce or other hot sauce Read More

When Chicken Salad Just Won’t Do

The other day I was plugging away working in my office when that familiar, mid-day hunger craving snuck up on me. Sometimes, when we don’t properly manage our flow of  food fuel throughout the day, we can get the wrong kind of craving at the wrong time. Suddenly, all I wanted was some meat, mayo, and bread made from highly refined flour and sugar. Luckily, I don’t keep any of those things around my kitchen! So I mustered up enough focus to remember, that I have been wanting to experiment with a vegan version of the classic luncheon chicken or egg salad. Here is what I came up with about 20 minutes later, and it turned out pretty yummy.

curried chickpea salad sandwich

1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 medium onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbsp. vegan mayonnaise (or regular for non-vegan)
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 cup raisins, currants or mixed dried berries (I used mix of raisins, cranberries, and blueberries)
1/2 cup cashew pieces (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste
Your favorite healthy bread
Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, and-or other favorite sandwich fillings

In a small mixing bowl, combine the chickpeas, celery, onion, cilantro and set aside. In a separate small mixing bowl, make a dressing by combining the mayonnaise, honey, mustard, and spices. Add the dressing to the chickpea mixture, and using the tines of a fork smash and mix everything together. You want to smash the chickpeas into the mixture to the extent that they blend well and become dough-like with the other ingredients, while maintaining a few whole or partially smashed chickpeas intact, giving it a nice cohesive texture. Add the fruit and the optional cashews. By the time you are done mixing, it should look and feel like curried chicken or tuna salad, just to give you a point of reference. Be sure to add salt and pepper to your desired taste.

Make a sandwich with your favorite healthy bread and fillings, or enjoy served over a bed of lettuce, or in the center of a halved and cored avocado. I used Ezekiel bread and made a yummy sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and cucumber. Ezekiel bread provides extra complete protein, making this sandwich an ideal vegan recovery meal for people who are working out or training for a physically taxing event.

I’m Going Hummus for the Holidays!

If you are looking to break out of the old school of holiday-friendly dips, especially where your health is concerned, but you want to hang on to some characteristics that appeal to the autumn and winter senses, consider giving this dish a try. It works well as a dip, a spread, or a topping for a holiday canapé. I have even just enjoyed it fresh and still warm, folded into a pita or tortilla with fresh crisp greens, cucumber, and tzadziki. Actually, any time of the year, this twist on hummus punches lots of nutrition, and can fill you up fairly easily with the right kinds of calories.

sweet potato hummus

2 average sized sweet potatoes
1 3/4 cups cooked garbanzo beans (or 1 15-oz. can)
1/2 cup tahini
1-3 cloves garlic (depending on how much you like garlic)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (or regular if smoked is not available)
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh parsley for garnish

First cook your sweet potatoes. You can either boil them whole and unpeeled, fully immersed in water, or bake them with a few holes poked into them in a 400º oven, also unpeeled. Either way, it takes about 45 minutes to cook them through.
While the sweet potatoes are cooking, get the rest of the hummus going by putting the garbanzo beans, tahini, garlic, olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika, nutmeg, and lemon juice into a food processor. Pulse the mixture until it is broken down enough for the garlic to be chopped and incorporated.
When the sweet potatoes are cooked, drain and peel them by rubbing the skin off or cutting in half and scooping out the flesh. Discard the peels into your compost. Add the sweet potatoes to the food processor and pulse some more until they are mixed in and the hummus is smooth, or to the consistency you like. I like my hummus with a little bit of texture still intact. Add salt and pepper for taste and give it a couple more pulses in the food processor.
Serve warm immediately, or refrigerate for later.