💚💚💚 Spring Smoothies 💚💚💚

💚💚💚 Spring Smoothies 💚💚💚

Smoothie love!
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A non-negotiable for me is drinking up a green smoothie every. single. day. I see the smoothie as a vehicle for the nutrition I want to be SURE that I get each day: a variety of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals (depending on the ingredients), the living enzymes from raw plant foods which aid digestion, and loads of fiber to keep the small intestine scrubbed and my intestinal villi buoyant (so  my nutrient uptake is top notch).

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SPRINGTIME TUSCAN MINESTRONE SOUP

Springtime Tuscan MinestroneSpring has sprung in the Pacific Northwest, which means that nutrient dense baby greens and sprouts are plentiful.  Not to mention an abundance of asparagus--which, let's be real, is ONLY worth eating in the springtime when it is fresh and tender.

Fresh spring-y veg and herb is great to eat raw, but I also love to toss these bright greens into light soups, when there is still a chill in the air and I want something to warm my bones! Because this soup uses a lot of fresh light veggies, it will cook up pretty quickly. Don't let the long ingredient list fool you. Most of the work is in the rough chopping of all these beautiful vegetables.

This soup's amazing flavor, is brought to you by all the lemon and garlic in the broth--PLUS the super sassy drizzle of basil-parsley pesto, swirled in right before serving.

I shared this recipe and the Wondrous White Bean Spread recently at Chucks Produce in Vancouver. It's great fun to share a bunch of laughs, cook delicious food, and enjoy it together--on a particularly blustery spring day. Here I am getting ready to chop chop chop...

Denise_Chucks

For more information about upcoming cooking demos and such, check out my cooking demos--or other services!

To the the soup!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups cooked cranberry beans-or other white bean (or 1 can)
  • 6 cups stock, water, or combination of the two
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 portobello mushroom, cubed
  • 5 oz dry pasta of your choice, about half a box (I like ditalini)
  • A large handful of asparagus, diced
  • A large handful of green beans, diced or julienned
  • Approx. 2 cups greens, roughly chopped (try chard, spinach, kale, collards, green cabbage, spinach—or a combo!)
  • 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to tasteFOR PESTO
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh herbs (I used basil and parsley)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup nuts (pistachio, walnut, cashews, pine nuts )**optional
  • 1-2 cups olive oil (depending on how thin you wantto go and how much you want to save for later--and you might as well!)

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a heavy bottomed soup pot, sauté onion, celery, garlic and leeks in olive oil until fragrant and translucent.

2. Add one can of cranberry beans with it’s “juices”. Using your wooden spoon crush some of the beans in the pan. This will make for a “slightly thicker “creamier” broth.

3. Add stock or water, salt and pepper, and the juice of 1 lemon.

4. Bring liquids to a low boil. In the meantime, clean and chop veggies. Cube portobellos, dice asparagus, julienne green beans, rough chop greens, and set a aside.

5. Once the broth is gently boiling, add the pasta and the mushrooms. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until pasta is tender.

6. While pasta is cooking, make pesto. In a food processor add fresh herbs, garlic cloves, nuts (if using), and begin drizzling in olive oil as you pulse. You want the pesto to be pretty thin, so that it drizzles, so continue to run until pesto is smooth.

7. Once pasta is nearly done, al dente, turn heat to low, add asparagus and cook for 1-2 minutes.

8. Turn off the heat, add the rest of the veggies and cover. Veggies should become slightly tender, but not mushy.

9. Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh cracked pepper and a generous swirl of the pesto.

 

NOTES:

This will make a pretty big batch of soup, which is great because you can save some

This vegan version would be tasty with some non- vegan add-ins such as:

  • grated parmesan or Romano cheese
  • a mild chicken sausage
  • ground turkey or chicken*If adding meat, toss it in before step one.

Enjoy!

Fennel and Lentil Salad

fennellentil
fennellentil

I have gone kind of banana's for fennel. This crisp, crunchy, subtly anise flavored bulb of a vegetable is just a delight, for your tastebuds, and your health. So imagine my delight when my friend Jennie from Peregrine Farm, brought over a big banging bag of veggies (because she is awesome), and in it were multiple fennel bulbs! Fennel is a healing food that does wonders for the digestion, as well as the super star organs like your kidney, liver, and lungs. I find that eating more fennel, and drinking teas infused with fennel, really do wonders for any sort of bloating experience as a result of eating. I love to incorporate raw fennel into a salad with a simple mix of baby greens and a pungent mustard-y dressing.  A fennel salad after a heav-ier meal is a really great idea if you want to cleanse your palate a beat the bloat. I find the subtle fennel flavor surprising, in a refreshing way!

fennel
fennel

If you don't enjoy that anise flavor, but still want to reap the benefits of fennel--not to fret! Lightly cooking fennel drastically reduces the licorice-like flavor, yet retains the bulbs tantalizing attributes. When considering cooking fennel, think of it like celery, both in texture and cooking approach. A light sauté in olive oil is delicious, using it in soups and stews like you would celery would work as well. For this recipe I chose to braise the fennel with olive oil,  balsamic vinegar and a hearty handful of leeks-(also courtesy of the aforementioned banging bag of veggies).

The balsamic added a sweet and earthy flavor to the fennel, and the lentils, that I found to be delicious. You could definitely turn this salad in a different direction by dressing with a mustard and olive oil based dressing, or even going the indian curry flavored route. It's up to you, but if you like balsamic, give this version a try.

Ingredients:

3 cups brown or green lentils, cooked

2 fennel bulbs and stalks, chopped (reserve the fronds)

2 leeks, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 tomatoes or about 1 1/2 Cups, diced

1/2 cucumber, chopped

1 spring onion, chopped

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/2 cup Olive Oil (approximately--use to taste)

1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar (approximately--use to taste)

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions: 

1. You will want your lentils to be cooked already, so if they are not, get that going on! Lentils don't need to soak, so you can cover them in about an inch of water and cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Once cooked, rinse and add to a serving bowl.

2. Warm a frying pan and add about 1-2 Tablespoons of the olive oil and the chopped fennel. Let sautéfor about 3minutes on medium heat. Add a pinch of sea salt and cook for about 2 minute more.

3. Add the chopped leeks to the pan and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until the leeks are quite tender.

4. Stir in about half of the balsamic into the pan, and make sure to coat all the veggies. Cover and let cook for 7-10 minutes. I prefer my veggies to be pretty firm, so I only braised for about 7 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, thinly slice the carrots and chop the tomatoes, spring onion, cucumber, and parsley. Add to the bowl with the lentils and gently mix.

6. When cooked to your liking, remove the fennel and leek mixture from the heat and Add  to the lentil mixture.

7. Add the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to the salad. Combine, and add more of any as you see fit!

8. Finely chop some of the fennel fronds and sprinkle on top of the salad, and/or use for garnish.

To Serve:

Salad is tasty served at room temperature, or slightly chilled.

Make it a meal  by:

  • Serving in a pita
  • Wrapped in chard or a steamed collard greens
  • Served over rice or quinoa
  • Mixed with orzo pasta
  • Tossed with feta cheese or parmesan shavings

Enjoy!

Fennel and Lentil Salad

Author:

Denise

Ingredients

  • 3 cups brown or green lentils, cooked
  • 2 fennel bulbs and stalks, chopped (reserve the fronds)
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes or about 1 1/2 Cups, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil (approximately--use to taste)
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar (approximately--use to taste)
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. You will want your lentils to be cooked already, so if they are not, get that going on! Lentils don't need to soak, so you can cover them in about an inch of water and cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Once cooked, rinse and add to a serving bowl.
  2. Warm a frying pan and add about 1-2 Tablespoons of the olive oil and the chopped fennel. Let saute for about 3minutes on medium heat. Add a pinch of sea salt and cook for about 2 minute more.
  3. Add the chopped leeks to the pan and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until the leeks are quite tender.
  4. Stir in about half of the balsamic into the pan, and make sure to coat all the veggies. Cover and let cook for 7-10 minutes. I prefer my veggies to be pretty firm, so I only braised for about 7 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, thinly slice the carrots and chop the tomatoes, spring onion, cucumber, and parsley. Add to the bowl with the lentils and gently mix.
  6. When cooked to your liking, remove the fennel and leek mixture from the heat and Add to the lentil mixture.
  7. Add the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to the salad. Combine, and add more of any as you see fit!
  8. Finely chop some of the fennel fronds and sprinkle on top of the salad, and/or use for garnish.

Notes

Salad is tasty served at room temperature, or slightly chilled.

Make it a meal by serving in a pita

Wrapped in chard or a steamed collard greens served over rice or quinoa

Mixed with orzo pasta tossed with feta cheese or parmesan shavings

3.2.1311

Baby Greens with Sprouts, Daikon and Fennel

IMG_7750.jpg

IMG_7750

There is nothing I love more than a big old bowl full of salad! Salads are an excellent addition to any diet, I like to recommend a salad a day as a great way to get loads of fiber, antioxidants, and chlorophyll in one fell swoop.

A fresh green salad is also a nice palate cleanser at the end of a meal, so try shaking things up and serving the salad--LAST. Great for digestion and to freshen the breath. This salad especially is a boon for digestions, specifically because of all the fennel. Fennel is great for digestion, reducing bloat, it's a liver cleanser, and just stupendous all around. Plus,  it is all over the farmers markets right now.

IMG_7131

Green leafy’s—the more the merrier.

Spring is a superb time to go wild with leafy greens. There are so many varieties right now, gorgeous lettuces, spinaches, chards, endless varieties of kales, pea shoots,  tatsoi and bok choy--just to name a few. I like to use a variety of  leafy greens in my salads for a couple of reasons. For one, it is nice to use a wide variety for the different tastes, textures and nutrients that leafy green provide. For two, I think that using a little bit of this and little bit of that really extends your produce. Most leafy greens will last for a week or more (greens purchased at your farmers market will last two weeks plus!!), and so why not have them all last through the week, by using a pinch of lettuce here and a handful of spinach there.

IMG_7153

Sprouts are simply the best.

Sprouts are a nutritional powerhouse, and given their youthful tenderness, we are able to easily assimilate the nutrients found in sprouts. Sprouts are a phenomenal addition to salads and sandwiches. And add a surprising crunch to light soups as well. I love mung bean sprouts with miso!

Sprouts are also very easy to grow on your own. You simply need some sprouting seeds (I love broccoli, mung beans and lentils), a jar for the sprouts to grow in, and a method for rinsing and draining the sprouts a couple of time a day. I have some nifty little sprouting lids, though cheese cloth would work nicely too.

Maintaining sprouts is also a super fun chore for a child chef in the house. It is fun to watch them grow, the maintenance is pretty manageable (rinse, drain, repeat.), plus what better way to get kids invested in eating them than having them grow them for the whole family. I recommend!

IMG_7693

Ingredients:

A big bunch of Leafy greens—big variety, spinach, baby kale, lettuces, endive, pea shoots, arugula, bok chou, tatsoi, parsley, chard

1 C lentil sprounts, mung bean sprouts

2 stalk celery, chopped

1 C daikon radish, chopped

1 medium sized fennel bulb, chopped. Include stalk and fine leaves too!

1 C purple cabbage, chopped

Dressings:

3 T olive oil

2 T apple cider vinegar

2 T quality mustard

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Mix her all up and enjoy!

Baby Greens with Sprouts, Daikon and Fennel
Author: Denise
Ingredients
  • A big bunch of Leafy greens—big variety, spinach, baby kale, lettuces, endive, pea shoots, arugula, bok chou, tatsoi, parsley, chard
  • 1 C lentil sprounts, mung bean sprouts
  • 2 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 C daikon radish, chopped
  • 1 medium sized fennel bulb, chopped. Include stalk and fine leaves too!
  • 1 C purple cabbage, chopped
  • Dressings:
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T quality mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
Instructions
  1. Lightly chop greens into manageable sized pieces.
  2. Add other chopped ingredients
  3. Mix dressing ingredients together. I like to add to a pint jar and shake vigorously!
  4. Dress and toss salad approximately 30 minutes before serving. The vinegar will soften the more robust leaves in a very tasty way.
  5. Serve and enjoy all those wild and wonderful greens!