Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms

With cold weather knocking at our doors, we tend to turn to comfort foods to please both palate and soul. Made with love, care, and life-affirming intentions, a good soup is an instant heart-warmer.

This Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms is sure to be filling for both body and spirit. The parsnips, a naturally sweet root vegetable, bring a unique sweetness to the recipe, while the mushrooms provide an earthy, grounding taste that helps us remain centered as the leaves fall and the wind swirls. Mushrooms contain powerful healing properties that boost our immune systems as the cold weather sets in.

Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms

Old or large parsnips can have a hard core, particularly near the top. If you find that your parsnips are overly woody, cut out and discard the hardest part.

Serves: 4
Prep time: approximately 10 minutes
Cook time: approximately 45 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 head garlic
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 rib celery (including leaves), chopped
4 to 5 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon white pepper or to taste (white pepper adds spiciness)
1/2 cup great northern beans
6-8 ounces mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 scallion, white bulb removed and sliced into thin pieces
salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place the parsnip cubes in a baking pan. Cut the top off of the head of garlic, just enough to expose the tops of the cloves. Place it on a square of parchment paper, spritz it quickly with a half-second spray of olive oil (optional), and wrap it up. (this prevents the garlic from drying out in the heat of the oven.) Place the parchment paper package in the baking pan with the parsnips and put it into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, turn over the parsnips, and cook for 10-15 more minutes until parsnips are tender and just touched with brown. Remove from oven and allow the garlic to cool in its wrapper.
  2. Heat a non-aluminum saucepan and cook the onion at low heat until it’s translucent. Add the celery and cook for a couple minutes more. Add 3 cups of the broth, the parsnips, and the pepper. Squeeze the garlic out of the cloves into the pan. Cook for a few minutes, until parsnips have softened. Add the beans.
  3. Puree the soup in one of two ways: (1) place it into a blender in one or two batches, being careful not to fill more than half full and adding more broth if necessary, or (2) use a stick blender and carefully blend right in the pan. The smoother you get it, the better, so a Vita-Mix or other high-powered blender is great here. Return the pureed soup to the pan and warm over low heat. If the soup is too thick, add more broth until it reaches your desired consistency. Keep it covered because it will “erupt” from time to time.
  4. Cook the sliced mushrooms in a small skillet until they soften and release their juices. Season them with salt (optional) and add the green onion. Stir most of them into the soup, setting some nice-looking ones aside to use as a garnish. Season with salt and white pepper to taste (careful with the white pepper if you don’t like things spicy!)

Variation:

For a cream of mushroom-type soup, add the mushrooms with the celery and cook until softened. Blend with the other vegetables as directed.

Remember, eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout the year will help you continue to live a vibrant, beautiful life.

Colorful Fall Recipes

As the temperature and leaves begin to drop, it is important that we keep our plates full of color and great taste. The following recipes feature a nice collection of colors to keep your immune system satisfied and functioning optimally.

Try this great Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic recipe. Garlic is an excellent immune-boosting food as it contains fantastic anti-bacterial properties. Anytime a recipe calls for medium-high heat, know that low is heat is much better and does not create the free radicals that high heat will.

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic
Serves 6
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

1 large cauliflower (trimmed and cut into bite size pieces, washed with running water)
16 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1 -2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil, adding more to taste
more olive oil, to drizzle if wanted

Directions:

1. Mix oil, rosemary, salt, pepper and garlic together.
2. Toss in cauliflower and place in a large casserole dish in one layer.
3. Roast in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes; give a toss and bake for 10 more minutes.

Add some green to your plate tonight with these Brussels Sprouts in Garlic Butter. Brussels sprouts are part of the disease-fighting cabbage family and are loaded with Vitamin C, an anti-cancer and pro-health vitamin. If you don’t want to use butter, substitute coconut oil for a healthy alternative.

Brussels Sprouts in Garlic Butter
Serves 2-4
Prep time:10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

15 Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat of a knife
freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Melt butter and olive oil in a medium skillet (over medium-high heat) until butter is foamy.
2. Reduce heat to medium, add smashed garlic and cook until lightly browned.
3. Remove garlic and discard.
4. Add sprouts cut side down, cover, and cook without stirring on medium-low heat 10-15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife.
5. The cut side of the sprouts should get nice and browned, with a nutty, buttery flavor enhanced by garlic.
6. Top with freshly grated Parmesan and salt & pepper to taste.

Nothing beats a grey fall day like sitting down to this colorful Quinoa, Beet, & Arugula dish! While quinoa may look like a grain, the part we consume is actually the seed of the plant. This means that it’s not only nutritious, but a great gluten-free option for those who cannot have wheat or other glutinous grains. Soak and rinse quinoa before using in recipes to increase digestibility.

Quinoa, Beet, and Arugula Salad
Serves 6
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

1/2 lb beets, peeled and sliced
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 green onions, sliced
3 ounces arugula, chopped
5 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

1. Place a steamer insert into a saucepan, and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Cover pan and bring the water to a boil. Add beets, cover pan, and steam until just tender – 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
2. Bring quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the liquid has been absorbed – about 15 minutes.
3. While the quinoa is cooking, whisk olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, and black pepper together in a large bowl.
4. Remove quinoa from heat, then immediately add half of the vinegar dressing while fluffing the quinoa with a fork; save remaining dressing. Cover and refrigerate quinoa until cool, at least 1 hour.
5. Stir green onions, arugula, goat cheese, beets, and remaining dressing into cooled quinoa mixture. Toss lightly before serving.

Remember also to drink lots of water and take time to enjoy the changing colors!

Immune Defenders: Kali Mur & Vitamin D

I am often asked about the best ways to protect the body from viral invasion.

In addition to a non-inflammatory, whole-food diet and a lifestyle that includes sufficient rest and exercise, my immediate recommendations for added protection against the flu and H1N virus are Kali Mur 6X and vitamin D.

Kali Mur 6x is a homeopathic cell salt, which is gentle and highly effective. Cell salts help to reorganize the way tissues function, often lifting them out of their pattern of dysfunction. I recommend Kali Mur 6X because it helps to protect the integrity of cells against viral invasion. This includes almost every cold and flu, as well as more serious viruses. Dr. Rudolph Ballentine, master homeopath and one of the most influential doctors in the alternative health movement, discusses Kali Mur 6x in his book, Radical Healing:

“…when smallpox used to sweep India, health workers would go from village to village ahead of the epidemic, handing out Kali Mur 6X. Where this was done, it is said, the epidemic passed over or there were only mild cases.”

Vitamin D is an equally important tool in your vibrant health arsenal. In October of 2007, Epidemiology and Infection presented some very important findings concerning the epidemic levels of vitamin D insufficiency in the United States. The public health impact of this observation could be great, but more specifically:

  • Over a 3-year period, taking 800 IU of vitamin D3 reduced the incidence of colds and flus by 70%.
  • Taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 reduced the incidence of colds and flus to nearly zero (only one person out of 104 had a cold or flu while taking 2,000 IUs of vitamin D. That one person only had ONE COLD all year out of all 104.). The people in the control group, also numbering 104 members, suffered an average of 3 colds/flu per person per year.

Additionally, a 2009 report in the journal Pediatric Research stated that infants and children appear more susceptible to viral rather than bacterial infections when deficient in vitamin D. Based on the available evidence showing a strong connection between vitamin D, infections, and immune function in children, vitamin D supplementation may therefore be a valuable therapy in pediatric medicine.

Remember: the best defense is an early defense!