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Healthy Living Recipes

Deb Morgan: While the cold winds continue to blow here in the Northeast, we continue to be grateful for delicious, warming soups. Here are two options, one made with a traditional roux and another with the rich flavors of roasted vegetables. When you prepare the roasted veggies, consider making extra to serve them as a side dish on another day, or to dress up salads.

Vegan Roasted Tomato Soup

Serves 4–6

4 cups plum tomatoes, cut in half
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small carrot, diced
½ medium onion, large diced
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
Pinch of cayenne
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1 cup canned tomato puree
½ cup canned diced tomato
1 cup vegetable stock or water, plus additional for blending
1 cup unsweetened rice or soy milk
1 tablespoon red wine
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, marjoram, cayenne, salt, and pepper with olive oil and spread on a large baking sheet. Roast in the oven until veggies are soft and begin to brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer vegetables to a blender and blend until smooth, adding stock or water as needed. (An immersion blender works well, or you can blend the soup in batches if your blender is not large enough to safely hold the entire amount.) Transfer to a large soup pot and add remaining ingredients. Simmer to heat though, about 15 minutes. Serve topped with croutons, sprouts, or fresh avocado.

Read Annie Kay’s Nutritional Commentary: Time-Release Tomatoes

While overall your best choice for optimizing nutrition is to cook foods lightly, there are exceptions. Tomatoes contain the cancer-preventing, DNA-protecting carotenoid lycopene (along with a host of other vitamins, phytochemicals, and nutrients), which is released and concentrated during the longer cooking times required for sauces and soups. Organic tomatoes may give you the biggest lycopene boost, and eating them with a little oil improves lycopene availability. Adding celery to the soup increases fiber, vitamin C, phthalides (which may help lower cholesterol), and cancer-fighting coumarins. Carrots bring cancer-preventive beta-carotene, and fresh basil adds DNA protection (via the flavonoids orientin and vicenin) and anti-bacterial action from its volatile oils. Garlic is a preventive-health rock star. The same sulfur-containing compounds that give garlic its pungent smell, including allicin, alliin, and ajoene, are also responsible for its cardio-protective, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and cancer- preventing actions.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cups vegetable stock or water
4 cups cauliflower, cut in large pieces
1 cup diced potatoes
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
¾ cup milk
1½ cups grated, raw cheddar cheese
Pinch of white pepper
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
Sprig of fresh dill
Splash of lemon juice

Heat oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they become translucent. Add stock or water, large cauliflower pieces, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, add salt and simmer.

Meanwhile, make a roux by heating the butter and whisking in the flour. Set aside.

When cauliflower and potatoes are soft, transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Return to pot and add milk. Heat the mixture, then add the roux, cheese, and seasonings. Simmer until heated through and creamy. Add a splash of lemon juice and garnish with dill.

Optional: When chopping the cauliflower, set aside a few small florets to brown in olive oil or butter for use as an additional garnish.

Read Annie Kay’s Nutritional Commentary: Good Fiber, Good Fats

Cauliflower is a sulfur-containing vegetable that boosts various detoxification pathways and provides about a third of your daily fiber needs in one 100-calorie serving. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats (MUFA); in one study, participants who used olive oil exclusively as their fat source cut their risk of coronary heart disease nearly in half. Antioxidants and phenolic compounds also contribute to olive oil’s ability to ward off cardiovascular, inflammatory, and free-radical damage. Dairy fat contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which plays a role in immune health and may be protective against breast cancer.

Find more delicious and nutritious recipes in Kripalu Recipes.