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.

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Cream Of Jerusalem

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 January 2012 05:27 Written by Flax Wednesday, 11 January 2012 01:31

Yesterday, in Mahane Yehuda, I was excited to see the most beautiful jerusalem artichokes.  The jerusalem artichoke is a member of the thistle family and is a cousin to the artichoke. The jerusalem artichoke also has the distinction of being one of the few tubers, a type of root vegetable whose members include the potato, taro root, and radish.  Other than the fact that this delicious vegetable is  available in Jerusalem, this North American native has really has nothing to do with our holy city. The title “Jerusalem” stems from a mispronunciation of the word gersimol, which means ‘sun’ in Italian. The  Italians, who originally titled them  “sun artichokes”,  did so because, they are the root of the sunflower and taste like the artichoke.

My only problem with the Jerusalem Artichoke is deciding which way to cook them.  They are so wonderfully delicious in so very many ways.  They make a delicious stew, complimenting lamb and fava beans perfectly.  Try tossing them in olive oil and salt and roasting them as  a healthier alternative to potato chips, or follow the recipe below for a wonderfully warming winter soup.

Health-wise,   the Jerusalem Artichoke, sweet in flavor and white in color is beneficial to both the lungs and the spleen. They nourish the lungs, relieve asthma, and they contain inulin which helps reduce insulin needs (excellent for diabetics).

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 6 shallots, chopped
  • 1 kilo Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 liters water
  • 2 cups soy/oat milk
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 chives, finely chopped, for garnishing

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and saute the shallots until they become translucent. Add   the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Lower the flame and allow to simmer for 3-4 hours. Use a hand immerser to puree the soup,  garnish with the chives and serve hot.

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

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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!

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