Soup is ideal for those with health challenges

Thought you might like to learn more about  the meal I’m making for my Recipes & Strategies Class this week at Gilda’s Club Westchester.  I’m always on the lookout for the right combination of dishes that are easy to prepare, highly nourishing and that won’t cost and arm and a leg to buy the ingredients.

I always like to include a soup. Soups have warming, relaxing properties. Many people, especially those in chemotherapy treatment, have lost some “digestive fire”,  soups can come in really handy in this situation. They’re also a great way to pack in some veggies that can be easily assimilated.

Second on my menu planning list is greens. Green leafy veggies are powerhouses of nourishment.This one group of veggies needs to be a regular feature in your daily diet. In most cases, I prefer to steam or lightly saute them instead of eating raw, due to the digestive fire piece. When it comes to greens, the darker the better: you can’t go wrong with kale, chard, or spinach.

Here’s an easy 3 step method to prepare kale: #1 dice an onion and saute in olive oi until translucent. #2 strip the kale leaves off the stems, dice up the smaller stems, add them to the onion saute #3 rip the leaves, add them last. Put a lid on it for a few minutes until it turns deep green. Serve.

Quinoa, my most favorite grain.

I also include grains in my menu planning. Keep in mind when I say “whole grains”, I mean whole grains!  Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is my most favorite grain, its high in protein, iron & calcium. Its easy to prepare, it plays well with other grains so if I want to blend them, I can easily do so.  Quinoa is super flexible, it can be a side dish, it can be a veggie filled salad, you can even eat it for breakfast as a porridge!  I’ve got loads of other recipes with quinoa on this blog, here’s one for a summer salad.  If you want even more quinoa fun, simply type quinoa in the search box on the upper right of this page!

Today’s meal will be a miso soup loaded with veggies and mushrooms, served with some steamed kale and some quinoa.

When you eat like this, focusing on great ingredients, you don’t have to get sucked into the dieting insanity. This meal could never cause weight gain, its naturally designed for maximum enjoyment and nourishment. That’s how food is supposed to be. No hype, no ingredients that you can’t pronounce, no mass marketing/ PR plan, no toxins. Just delicious.

Veggie Shitake Miso Soup

Serves 4

Shiitake stock lends an especially rich flavor to this hearty soup. Other vegetables or ingredients such as tofu may be added or substituted, but if shiitakes are omitted, it is best to start with vegetable or kombu stock rather than water.


6 cups water
5 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 carrot, sliced
1 ½ cups chopped greens (such as kale or mustard greens)
¼ cup barley or brown rice miso

juice of 1 lemon

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced


Soak shiitake in the 6 cups water overnight or for at least two hours.

Remove shiitake, cut off and discard tough stems, thinly slice the caps, and place in a pot with the soaking water.

Bring to a simmer, add sliced carrot, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.

Add greens and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more.

Turn off heat.

Dilute the miso in a little of the broth, then add to soup.

Adjust flavors with juice of 1 lemon.

Allow to steep briefly before serving and add scallions.



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