Winter Vegetable Soup

Last Updated on Monday, 31 January 2011 10:26 Written by Flax Monday, 31 January 2011 09:58

Seasonal eating is something that comes to us naturally.  In the spring and summer we want lightly cooked or raw foods while in the winter, we search for something heavier and warming.   Foods that cook for a long time absorb the heat of the cooking time and thus are more warming than lightly cooked foods.

The most common question that I get is “doesn’t long cooking kill all the nutrients?”  The answer to that question is twofold.  First of all, when food is raw or lightly cooked, it does have more nutrients.  On the other hand, it is harder to digest raw or lightly cooked foods.  This means that we aren’t getting any more nutrients from raw foods than from well cooked foods which have less nutritious value but whose nutrients are more easily digested. 

Second of all, I teach seasonal cooking.  This means that we are trying to be in balance with nature and in harmony with the seasons.  When it is cold out we should eat foods that warm us up.  Eating the foods that are in tune with the seasons helps to keep us healthy.  Warm foods warm us, cold foods cool us off.  Eating raw vegetables on a cold winter day is like going outside without a coat and wondering why it is that you are cold.  Foods that cook for long periods are the most warming of foods as they absorb the heat of the cooking fire.  This fuels our internal fire and allows us to produce our own body heat which is what really warms us and helps us to best deal with cold weather. 

While I am providing you with an idea for a soup, please feel free to change the recipe based on whatever vegetables are in the market.  Keep in mind however the well-balanced diet.  That means, a variety of orange, white, and green vegetables.  When you use all three colors, you know that you are getting all of the five flavors as well as the nutrients that your body needs.  A nice bonus is that people will think that your food tastes great-this is because you are truly satisfying their nutritional needs and their own bodies are saying thank you. 


  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 cm ginger, grated
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and chopped
  • 2 broccoli stalk, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 4  carrots
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 bunch coriander
  • 1/2 bunch dill (optional)
  • 3 liters water
  • 1/4 cup amaranth or lentils
  • Atlantic grey sea salt
  • pepper 

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add the onions, garlic, ginger and leek and saute for 5 minutes on a low flame.  Add the carrot and zucchini and saute for 5 more minutes.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1-3 hours. 

Puree and serve hot.


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Fava Bean Salad

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 January 2011 04:38 Written by Flax Thursday, 27 January 2011 04:38

This dish makes a wonderful appetizer for a shabbat meal or a main course for during the week.  It is easy to prepare and needs very little cooking time.  Sometimes I serve the fava beans by themselves with a dressing and sometimes I add a tomato, pickled lemon, and parsley.  Both ways are good.

Fava beans, also known as ful or broad beans are common in the middle east but are not as popular in North America.  If your store doesn’t sell fava beans than you can use lima beans instead.


  • 1 package frozen fava  beans
  • 2 liters water
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • cumin
  • salt and pepper


  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 tbsp pickled lemon, diced
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

Bring the water to a boil.  Add the fava beans and simmer for 10 minutes.  Drain the bean in a colander.   After they are well-drained, pour them into a large salad bowl and dress with the olive oil, lemon and spices.  If desired add the tomato, pickled lemons, and parsley.

Serve hot or cold.


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Fig Chutney

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 January 2011 02:00 Written by Flax Wednesday, 19 January 2011 02:00

figs and lemon slices

This recipe started as a chicken dish, but if you cook it without the chicken, then you have a delicious vegan chutney.  This jam-like dish works great as a condiment, served alongside an Indian curry, as an accompaniment to a couscous dish, or even just spread on a piece of bread. 

While the figs achieve a smooth jam-like texture, the richness of the flavors make it more like a chutney.  This dish contains sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and pungent ingredients which all work together to balance the sweetness of the figs.   Figs are very sweet, and like all sweet foods they are not recommended to be eaten in large amounts.  Cooking sweet foods along with other flavors, especially the bitter flavor, helps to balance the negative aspects of sweet foods and makes it easier for your body to process.   

Figs are one of the most alkalizing foods.  Figs help to balance acidic conditions that result from the overconsumption of meat and refined foods.  Figs are also detoxifying and can help to clear up skin discharges and boils.  And while this is a food blog and I want you to retain your appetite, be aware that figs function very well in the waste disposal department.  Figs, like flax-seeds, have a high mucoid content, this helps them to lubricate our intestines and remove waste from our systems.  


  • 20 dried figs, sliced thin
  • 2 lemons, sliced thin
  • 1 head garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • turmeric
  • salt and pepper
  • hot chili pepper (optional)

Place all the ingredients in a pot with a tight lid. (I use a ceramic pot to prevent the bottom from burning.)  Bring to a boil.  Lower the flame and allow to cook over a very low flame for up to an hour.  Stir occasionally during the cooking and add small amounts of water if it looks like it will burn.  Chill and refrigerate.  It can last refrigerated for up to a week. 


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