Crockpot Minestrone

Last Updated on Monday, 6 February 2012 12:44 Written by Flax Monday, 6 February 2012 12:44

I really do love using my crockpot in the winter.  Not only do I come home to a warm nourishing meal, I also come home to a house that smells great.  Crockpot cooking is also a much safer way to cook large beans as you don’t have to leave the stove on for long periods of time.  (Maybe it’s my own anxiety, but I’m always afraid that I will forget that the stove is on and accidentally burn down the house.)  Smaller beans, such as the adzuki beans and the mung bean are wonderful summer beans as they require under an hour cooking time.  Larger beans such as the kidney  bean, garbanzo bean,  and of course the fava bean require much longer cooking times and are much more appropriate for the winter where it is appropriate to keep a dish simmering for even an entire day.

Crockpot cooking also happens to provide an excellent solution for “working mom’s” who are sometimes the last ones to walk through the door.  Either prepare the food in the morning before leaving, or if your morning are just too busy, prepare all of the ingredients the night before and then just plug-in the crockpot the following morning.  It’s like magic!  Your family has a  healthy nourishing meal without your even being home!

The recipe below is for minestrone.  Minestrone is a hearty Italian vegetable soup which is essentially a whole meal.  The soup has red kidney beans which are a wonderful winter food as they nourish the kidneys, the organ that should be strengthened in the winter.  Please note how the recipe includes, white, orange, and  green vegetables.  When all  three colors of  vegetables are in a dish, you can be sure that the dishl will be balanced, both with regard to nutrition, as well as with regard to flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/4 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup lentils
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 2 parsnips, diced
  • 1 celeriac (celery root), diced
  • 1 broccoli stalk, peeled and diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 4 liters water
  • 1/8 cup brown rice
  • turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt
  • pepper

Pesto:

  • 1 bunch basil
  • 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

To prepare the soup, place all of the soup ingredients, other than the salt, in a crockpot.  Set the crockpot to  low and allow to cook for 8-12 hours.

Prepare the pesto by pureeing all of the ingredients together in a food processor until you have a smooth paste .  Set aside.

Add the salt and the pesto to the soup a few minutes before serving.

Serve hot.  Serves 6-8.

Note:  When beans are cooked with salt the skin doesn’t soften and they remain hard.  It is preferable to add the salt only after they are at least slightly cooked.

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Nutritional Healer and teaches Healthy Cooking Classes.

Learn More

Lentil Stew

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 March 2011 02:29 Written by Flax Sunday, 13 March 2011 02:29

This stew contains both a protein and a green leafy vegetable.  Serve it on a bed of rice and you have a well-balanced, healthy and nourishing meal.  The prep. time for this dish is about ten minutes, and while you could theoretically get away with twenty minutes of cooking time, I prefer to let it cook slowly, over a low flame, for up to an hour. 

The green leafy vegetable that I use here has a bunch of names.  In Israel it is called both mangold and beet leaves.   It is one of my favorite green leafy vegetables to use in cooking because it is a Gush Katif product that is almost always available.  Look for it next to the lettuce in the refrigerated vegetable section.

For all of those who have been asking, pickled lemon is sold in supermarkets.  It is a commonly used ingredient in North African cooking and can usually be found next to the horseradish or the schug.  The hebrew name for pickled lemon is lemon baladi.  It is both salty and sour in flavor.  To prevent oversalting your food, add the pickled lemon first and then taste the dish before you add more salt.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 bunch mangold leaves (beet leaves), crudely chopped
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, diced
  • 1 tsp pickled lemon
  • turmeric
  • chilli pepper (optional)
  • fenugreek (optional)
  • cumin
  • salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a wide sauce pan.  Saute the onion, garlic and spices until the onion is translucent.  Add the mangold leaves and sweat until the leaves are soft.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  The lentils are cooked after 15 minutes but I like to cook this dish for up to an hour, leaving it to simmer until most of the water has boiled out and you are left with a thick sauce.

Serve hot.  Serves 4 as a main course.

Enjoy!

Learn More

Minestrone

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 February 2011 01:07 Written by Flax Thursday, 24 February 2011 01:02

This soup is really just a vegetable soup, like any other, except that I add beans, lentils and pasta to it.  Also at the end I add pesto, which to my mind is what then transforms it from a hearty vegetable soup and into a minestrone.

Health-wise, nothing is better than eating vegetables.  In the winter, soup is the ultimate way to be eating them.  Beans, especially red kidney beans are also wonderful winter foods.  They nourish the kidneys, the organ that should be strengthened in the winter.

Please note as well, how the recipe includes, white, orange and  green vegetables.  When you include all  three colors of  vegetables in your meals, you can be sure that they will be balanced both with regard to nutrition and with regard to flavor.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup lentils
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 parsnips, chopped
  • 1 celeriac (celery root), peeled and chopped
  • 1 broccoli stalk, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 liters water
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pasta, penne or elbow noodles
  • turmeric
  • salt and pepper

Pesto:

  • 1 bunch basil
  • 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Oil the bottom of a large soup pot.  Saute the onion until translucent.  Add the carrot, garlic, broccoli stalk, parsnip, and celeriac, and sweat the vegetables for 10 minutes until they are slightly reduced.  Add the water, bring to a boil, and add the tomato, sweet potato, turmeric and pepper. Lower the flame and simmer for 2 hours.

Prepare the pesto by pureeing all of the ingredients together in a food processor until you have a smooth paste .  Set aside.

Ten minutes before serving add the pasta, salt, and the pesto.

Serve hot.  Serves 6-8.

Note:  When beans are cooked with salt the skin doesn’t soften and they remain hard.  It is preferable to add the salt only after they are at least slightly cooked.

Enjoy!

Learn More
Copyright © 2009 Afterburner - Free GPL Template. All Rights Reserved.
WordPress is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.