Eat Happy, Be Healthy!
It’s pouring sideways rain here in Bellingham, the perfect weather for a light pumpkin soup. I have been yearning for the Fall and all the bits of cozy that comes with it. Although I love salads, soups are a wonderful way to eat your veggies while also supporting digestion. Raw veggies are one of the hardest foods to digest, especially if you are not taking the time to chew them well. Therefore, soups can be an excellent meal for anyone struggling to optimally digest their foods. Soups are much easier for the stomach to breakdown because the ingredients are soft and tender. This is especially true if you make a pureed soup like this pumpkin soup. Usually, the stomach churns our food with stomach acid to make a liquidy soup called chyme. However, when the food is already pureed, the stomach has little work to do. Therefore, soups are a wonderful meal for anyone who has increased healing needs or has digestive concerns because the nutrients are much easier absorbed.
For this recipe I used a pie pumpkin (or otherwise known as sugar pie pumpkin), but you can choose whatever winter squash you have on hand. I also used homemade bone broth, rich in flavor and nutrition. I do not skim the fat because the fat provides flavor and increases the absorption of the beta-carotene in the pumpkin flesh. If you are using store bought bone broth (Bonafide is a great option) it is fat free, and therefore I would suggest adding organic heavy cream or full fat coconut milk to your liking.
Bone broth is an excellent choice to increase the protein content of otherwise a low protein meal. Rich in collagen, bone broth helps support the healing and repair of connective tissues (think, gut lining, bone, tendons, hair, skin, nails). Along with ample amounts of prebiotic fiber rich onions and garlic this pureed soup also supports the growth of good gut bacteria. If you want, you can even roast the pumpkin seeds for little salty and nutritious snack. Simply preheat the oven to 400 degrees, rinse the seeds under water to remove excess pumpkin fibers, and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spray with extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and your choice of spices. Roast for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Voila, now you have a nourishing soup and a tasty snack!
Simple Gingered Pumpkin Soup
1 small pie pumpkin (got mine at TJs)
1 large yellow onion
3-4 cloves garlic
3 inches ginger root
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups homemade bone broth (see note above if using store bought)
2-3 T honey
2 T apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp sea salt (adjust as needed)
Fresh ground pepper
Pinch chili flakes
Quarter the pumpkin, scoop out seeds (roast if desired), and place into a pot filled with some water and a steamer basket. Steam, covered, over medium heat for about 15-20min or until tender.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion, garlic, and ginger. In a soup pot add a glug of extra virgin olive oil and sauté the chopped veggies over medium low until glassy and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the steamed pumpkin flesh (leave skin behind), and add the bone broth. Cover and cook over medium low for another 10 minutes.
Once ready, using an immersion blender, puree the soup to your liking. Season with honey, vinegar, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Adjust seasonings to your liking.
Note: If you want to keep the recipe vegetarian, simply use vegetable broth (may need to adjust salt down because most store bought vegetable broths are pre-salted), and add coconut milk or heavy cream for creaminess and flavor.
Lemon Curry Four Bean Salad
This refreshing take on a bean salad is a perfect addition to your summer meals. Rich in protein and fiber, it will keep you full and satisfied. Plus, the prebiotic fibers will keep your gut bugs humming with joy. Unfortunately, individuals with SIBO/IBS may NOT tolerate this recipe well due to the high prebiotic content. This bean salad keeps well, and improves in flavor the longer it sits. If you cannot tolerate onion, add in diced bell pepper or cucumber for the crunch factor. Plus, you can easily replace the clove of garlic with a tsp of finely chopped fresh oregano for spice, or simply omit.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon (plus more lemon juice prior to serving)
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon yellow curry powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
Fresh ground pepper
½ large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 ½ cups frozen green beans, thawed
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can great northern beans
Generous handful finely chopped cilantro/basil/parsley
In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice & zest, curry powder, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper, until the honey and salt are dissolved. Stir in the chopped onion and garlic and allow to marinate in dressing.
Meanwhile, measure out about 1 ½ cup of frozen green beans and briefly thaw in microwave. Alternatively, leave out at room temp until thawed. Cut the green beans into smaller pieces using kitchen shears. Transfer to bowl. Drain and rinse the canned beans, and transfer to the bowl. Mix all the ingredients together, sprinkle in the chopped fresh herb of choice, and stir until combined. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
When ready to serve, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over each serving and enjoy!
I craved this meal EVERY day the last seven days. The colors, the flavors, and the ease made it my go-to lately. It is satisfying, filling, and rich in gut friendly fiber and polyphenols. Plus, it is easily adaptable to what you have around, another huge benefit to this meal. In general, I aim to have one plant-based meal per day, and this has been one of my favorites.
If you don't usually eat beans daily, then I suggest gradually incorporating more beans into your diet. If you go from null to WHAM, then you may have some tummy discomfort. For most people, 1/2 cup of beans or lentils per day is a great goal to shoot for. Not only are beans rich in prebiotic rich fibers called galactooligosaccharides, they are also a great source of plant protein. They are also an excellent source of molybdenum a nutrient that falls short if beans/legumes are omitted fro the diet and sulfur intake is high. Unfortunately, many current fad diets shun beans and legumes unnecessarily. Individuals with gut inflammation or IBS/SIBO may not tolerate beans and legumes until inflammation subsides or SIBO is treated. However, just because you cannot tolerate them now, doesn't mean you never will, nor that they are "BAD" for you. Beans and legumes can be a wonderful dietary staple, that are cheap, nutritious, and microbiome friendly. If you are on a SIBO Bi-Phasic Diet or a Low FODMAP diet, 1/2 cup canned brown lentils are often well tolerated. However, same rule applies here too. If you haven't eaten many beans or legumes, start slow!
FeedME! Belly Bowl
I am calling this bowl, FeedME! Not only am I fueling myself with nutritious food, but I am also feeding my good gut bacteria a wide variety of prebiotic rich plant compounds and fibers. For the veggie base, you can use whatever you have on hand. I have used chard, spinach, zoodles, etc. For the beans/legumes, I change it up with whatever is in the fridge or pantry. Lately, I have been making my own beans/lentils in the InstaPot after a 24 hour soak. It's cheaper and there is less waste. But canned and rinsed beans are just fine too. I would recommend Eden's brand if possible. If you have leftover ground meat you can use that in place of the tofu if you like. Pretty much you can use whatever you have available.
Time: 10 minutes
Extra virgin olive oil
1 - 3oz serving extra firm sprouted tofu - crumbled by hand
~1/4 teaspoon curry powder (or any spice/herb blend you like)
1/2 cup cooked beans/legumes
1/4 cup leftover cooked quinoa or rice
Cilantro, basil, or parsley
Veggie Base (dark leafy greens, zucchini)
Salt & Pepper
Corn Tortilla (crispy taco shells or chips work too)
Fermented veggies for good gut bug (lately I have used fermented beets)
Broccoli Sprouts (or any kind of sprouts)
Pecorino/Parmesan/Feta (or any kind of salty cheese) - can replace with dukkah if dairy free.
Over medium-low, heat a small pan and add a little splash of olive oil. Once hot add a serving of crumbled tofu (I simply break it up in my hands until it's in small "ground" pieces). Season with your choice of spice blend (I typically use curry powder), salt and pepper. Sauté the tofu for 1-2 minutes, then add the beans, leftover cooked grain, and fresh herbs if desired. Stir until combined, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
Meanwhile, heat another small pan (I use cast iron) over medium low and add a little splash olive oil. Once hot add a corn tortilla and cook two minutes, then flip sprinkle with salt, and cook another minute or two or until the tortilla is crispy and little bubbles form. Once done, roll the corn tortilla up and let rest in the warm pan on the outer flap to seal in a cylinder if desired. Alternatively, you can bake corn tortilla shells in the oven per package instructions, or serve with a handful of chips.
In a bowl add a handful of your veggie base (whatever you want), heat briefly in the microwave for 60 seconds until wilted ( or leave raw if desired), and drizzle with olive oil. Then top with your tofu/bean mixture. Add your favorite sides and sprinkle with salty cheese. Serve with a crispy corn tortilla and dig in!!
Are you craving this belly bowl too?? Let me know what you and your belly bugs think :)
I hope you enjoy my creative, flavorful, and nutrient dense approach to whole foods cooking. All recipes are gluten free.