Meatless Monday: Creamy Roasted Garlic and Artichoke Soup
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
It’s January 14, and you may have fallen off the healthy eating wagon (according to experts, most of us have by this point every year).
Now is not the time to lose heart
Let’s face it, sticking to a get-healthy eating, living or exercise plan is not easy. It takes commitment, determination and, most importantly, resilience. We all fall off the healthy living wagon every now and again, so it’s important that we develop the ability to regroup and recommit to our plan to get (and stay) healthy. Sometimes we have to regroup every day. Maybe even several times a day. It’s all good because it’s part of the process.
Gradual change doesn’t happen overnight, and you certainly won’t feel inspired every moment of every day of your (lifelong) journey to a healthier you.
That’s why I was excited when my friend Wendy Billie asked me to develop a recipe especially for participants in an upcoming yoga detox workshop series she will be leading. Wendy is a yoga teacher and an energy and spirit coach and she guides others toward a path that leads to being more true to themselves.
Now, before I lose you in a blaze of “what on earth is happening? Is Nancy going all 70’s tree-hugger-crunchie-granola on us? I just know she was wearing Birkenstocks and yoga pants when she wrote this post” on me, hear me out. While, admittedly, I am not entirely sure we all have spirit guides who are just waiting to be invited into our lives (don’t tell Wendy I said that), I do believe that a lot of the things that cause us to eat poorly and generally neglect our health are rooted in a deep disconnection with our true selves.
Most of us have heard the term “eating our emotions”, yes? That’s what I’m getting at.
So, when Wendy asked me to create a recipe that incorporated ingredients that are believed to help detoxify our bodies (grounded in the ancient tradition of Ayurvedic medicine and nutrition), I welcomed the challenge. It was interesting to see what types of ingredients are considered to be cleansing (or detoxifying).
For this recipe I chose:
– Artichoke, which stimulate bile production (essential to properly digest fats), and purifies and protects the liver. Artichoke has a mild diuretic effect on the kidneys, ensuring proper removal of toxins once the liver breaks them down
– Garlic, which is considered to be a powerful antiviral, antiseptic and antibiotic healer.
– Onion, which contain compounds that help the liver produce enzymes needed for toxin breakdown and elimination. They also provide antioxidants that quench free radicals produced during the detox process
– Lemon, which stimulate the release of enzymes and helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form that can be easily excreted from the body
Oh, and I’m just going to say it….even if you’re not the detox type, this soup is sure to make you warm and happy inside.
A couple of tips on this recipe First, you’ll want to plan ahead since you’ll need cashew cream, which takes at least three hours to come together.
Also, don’t fill the blender jar more than half way with the prepared soup. Hot liquid + a high-speed blender = soup everywhere (this has something to do with science…you’ll have to Google what exactly that is).
Cashew cream a little too….exotic for you? Feel free to replace with a cup of any of the following: fat free half and half, 2% milk or, if you must, regular half and half or light cream.
Lastly, whether you buy into the concept of nutritional cleansing or not, it’s always a good idea to cook at home as often as you can. Not only might you find it enjoyable (maybe even therapeutic) it will ensure that you are completely in control of how you nourish your body. This is the essential message I hope you come away with on this one.
Meatless Monday: Creamy Roasted Garlic and Artichoke Soup
servings: 4 main course bowls | time: about 1.5 hours
1 small head of garlic
1 medium onion, sliced in half and into thin half-moon strips
3 TBSP. + 2 tsp. olive oil
1 32 ounce container organic, low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 8-ounce packages frozen artichoke quarters
handful of parsley, coarsely chopped
1 recipe of cashew cream (you’ll want to plan ahead on this step) Some notes: I blended cashews with 3/4 cup + 3 TBSP. water. Do not add any salt to the cream, just add water to the nuts and blend until smooth
juice of 1/2 a large lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
1. Slice the head of garlic in half crosswise
2. Drizzle 1 tsp. of olive oil on each half of the cut side of the garlic head and sprinkle with a pinch of salt
3. Place each half of the garlic head cut-side down on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Wrap loosely and place in the oven to roast for 40 minutes
4. Heat the remaining 3 TBSP. of olive oil over medium low heat on a large dutch oven
5. Add the sliced onion, cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes until very tender and starting to caramelize
6. Once the garlic is roasted, carefully remove each clove from the peel (this should be pretty easy–either squeeze each on from the peel or use a butter knife to coax them out)
7. Add all of the roasted garlic cloves to the onions. Add the vegetable broth, water, dried thyme, salt and frozen artichokes
8. Cook over medium heat just until the soup starts to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
9. After 20 minutes, add the handful of chopped parsley. Puree the soup in small batches (about 2 minutes per batch). Return pureed soup back to Dutch oven
10. Increase the heat to medium and add the prepared cashew cream and lemon juice. Cook just until heated through (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Don’t allow to boil
11. (Optional) garnish with homemade croutons
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