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  • Yellow Pea and Coconut Milk Soup with Spinach and Rice

    This is a great post-Christmas soup. The coconut milk makes it a little rich, but it is still very nourishing so that you can ease down from that sugar high. As with the others, this is adapted from Deborah Madison's book.

    1 cup of brown rice

    2 cups of yellow split peas, rinsed and soaked for 24 hours

    2 bay leaves

    3 cloves

    sea salt and freshly ground pepper

    4 tablespoons of light sesame oil

    1 large onion, finely chopped

    1/4 cup minced cilantro stems

    1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric

    1 teaspoon ground cardamom

    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    15 oz can of coconut milk

    juice of 1 lime

    3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

    organic baby spinach leaves, 2 big handfuls, coarsely chopped

    1. Cook the rice according to package directions.

    2. Drain the peas and put them in a pot with 1 quart of water, the bay leaves, cloves, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook while you go on to the next step.

    3. Warm the oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the onion and the cilantro stems and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the spices and 1/2 cup of water from the simmering peas and cook until the water has cooked away. Add the mixture to the pot with the peas, and continue cooking until they are very soft, about 30 minutes more. Remove the bay leaf and the cloves. Stir in the coconut milk and lime juice. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Stir in the chopped cilantro leaves and spinach.

    4. To serve, ladle the soup over brown rice. The original recipe called for a dollop of plain yogurt on top, although I chose to keep this one vegan.

  • Green Coriander and Ginger Broth with Tofu

    Here is another soup for you. A light and nourishing one to bring a little balance to all the holiday scrumpadillies.

    Adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetable Soups

    6 dried shiitake mushrooms (plus 8 ounces of fresh shiitake mushrooms)

    1 and 1/2 tablespoons of roasted peanut oil plus sesame oil to finish

    minced fresh ginger, a piece about the size of your thumb

    sea salt

    2 teaspoons of minced garlic

    1/3 cup of cilantro stems, finely chopped

    1 bunch of scallions, finely sliced

    1 cup of finely sliced celery

    1 box of aseptic silken tofu, diced

    1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

    1 teaspoon of soy sauce, or to taste

    1. Cover the mushrooms with 5 cups of boiling water and set aside while you dice and chop the vegetables.

    2. Heat a soup pot over medium high heat and add the oil. Add the ginger, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir fry for 2 minutes, adding the cilantro stems during the last 20 seconds. reduce the heat to medium, add the scallions, and cook about 3 minutes. Add the celery, another 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the soaking water from the mushrooms. (Pour it through a fine strainer first and maybe even through a cheesecloth if your mushrooms were gritty.)

    3. Let the soup simmer while you slice the rehydrated mushrooms and add them. (I also add about 8 ounces of fresh shiitake mushrooms to my version at this point, because you can never have too many mushrooms.) Cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the tofu, give it 2 minutes to heat through, then add the cilantro leaves and the soy sauce.

    4. Serve the soup with a few drops of sesame oil in each bowl and extra soy sauce on the side for those who wish.

  • Red Lentil and Colorful Vegetable Soup

    I have decided to cook my way through this book by Deborah Madison this fall and winter. I've been cooking one soup every Sunday night. The leftovers are ideal for warm lunches during the week, and I've been finding new favorites all the time, like this Red Lentil and Colorful Vegetable Soup, adapted below.

    2-4 tablespoons of sunflower seed oil

    1 large onion, finely diced

    1 long celery rib, peeled and diced

    4 carrots, finely diced

    1 cup finely diced zucchini

    3 tablespoons of minced cilantro stems

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    1 teaspoon ground turmeric

    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

    1 can of diced tomatoes with their juice

    1 cup red lentils, well rinsed

    juice of 1 lime

    4 scallions, sliced

    1. Warm the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, while you dice the celery, carrots, and zucchini, and mince the cilantro stems. Add them to the onion and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt, the turmeric, and the cumin. Cook for another 5 minutes.

    2. Add the tomatoes, the lentils, and 5 and 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer, until the lentils have softened, 20-30 minutes. Taste for salt and add several grindings of pepper. Season with lime juice to taste, and garnish with scallions.

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