Sunday, May 16, 2010

Beet, Fennel and Ginger Soup and Salad plus a Rice and Veggie Dish

We started our morning at the farmers’ market at 7am. I had to chat with all the farmers like usual. It is like old home week at the market. In spite of how big the market is we have gotten to know the organic farmers. It is so nice to know the people that grow your food.

While we were at the market I picked up a couple of organic borage plants. I have no experience with this plant so we will see how difficult it is to grow. If anyone can kill it, I can. But it is an herb so I am hopeful that it may grow for me. For some reason I have much better luck growing herbs than vegetables.

After the market we came home to have breakfast and talk about dinner for this evening. I decided soup and salad would be the easiest thing to make today. I was thinking of borscht but decided to make something similar, but different. That is where the idea for supper came from.

Between supper and dinner Dan and worked in the yard a little. He trimmed the hedge while I cleared out some weeds and planted 6 parsley, 4 basil, 2 purple Cherokee tomatoes and 2 borage plants. I also transplanted a lot of dill that had spread on me.

After dinner we watched another two videos from the 2009 Nutrition and Health Conference.

My food since the last post:

10:00pm last night – snack

1 banana spread with 1 tablespoon of reduced fat peanut butter
Double Green Tea with ascorbate C

8:30am – breakfast

½ cup oats
1 cup water
½ cup wild blueberries
½ cup mixed berries
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
Sprinkle cinnamon
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts

10:00am – snack

Double green tea with thinly sliced ginger and ascorbate C

3:00pm – lunch/supper

Fennel, Cabbage and White Bean Salad (recipe in this post)
Beet, Fennel and Ginger Soup (recipe in this post)

5:00pm – snack

Double green tea with thinly sliced ginger and ascorbate C

7:15pm – dinner

Steamed Broccoli over Basmati Rice with Peanut Sauce (recipe in this post)

11:00pm - snack?

Green Drink - nothing like powdered wheat and barley grass with sea veg LOL


This is the soup I made this afternoon as part of supper. Here is what I did:

Beet, Fennel and Ginger Soup
Serves 4


4 beets, scrubbed and finely diced
½ bulb fennel, finely diced (reserve some fronds for garnish)
½ head savoy cabbage, finely shredded
8 cups water or vegetable broth (no salt variety)
1 ½ tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ teaspoon allspice berries, ground
¼ teaspoon whole cloves, ground
2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water (or what is necessary to achieve the texture you want)
4 tablespoons tofu, tahini sauce, for garnish
Fennel fronds, for garnish


Combine everything but the cornstarch and garnish and cook until the vegetables are tender. Then remove half of the soup to your blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot and add the cornstarch slurry and cook until the soup thickens. Serve with a dollop of tofu tahini on top and a fennel frond. If you want a completely smooth soup can puree all of the soup. I choose to puree half to leave a little texture in the soup.

Nutritional information (includes tofu tahini sauce):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 112.54
Calories From Fat (10%) - 11.59

Total Fat - 1.36g
Saturated Fat - 0.19g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 162.84mg
Potassium - 695.31mg
Total Carbohydrates - 22.76g
Fiber - 6.87g
Sugar - 8.19g
Protein - 5.23g


This is nice light soup that is perfect for the warm weather. It tastes mostly of fennel with a beet background. The clove and allspice flavors are subtle, just a background note. We think the tofu tahini sauce is required on this soup to add a little richness.

Each serving of this soup contains approximately 1,120IU of vitamin A, 105mg of calcium, 185mcg of folate, 75mcg of vitamin K, 120mg of phosphorus, and 70mg of magnesium. That is a nice amount of nutrition for so few calories. I will be making this soup again.

To go with the soup we had a simple clean salad. This salad may be too clean for many people but Dan and I liked it. Here is what I did:

Fennel, Cabbage and White Bean Salad
Serves 4


1 cup cannellini beans, dry
3+ cups water to cook the beans
¼ cup wine vinegar
½ head cabbage, finely shredded
½ bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 cup fresh tomatoes, cut into bite size pieces
Dried oregano, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
olives, slivered


Cook the beans until tender and drain. While the beans are still hot cover them with the wine vinegar. The hot beans will absorb the vinegar more thoroughly. Refrigerate the beans until you are ready to make the salad.

Combine the fennel, cabbage, lemon zest, lemon juice, tomatoes and toss to coat. Add oregano, salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, place the vegetable mixture in a bowl or one a plate. Make a well in the center of the mixture and fill in with the beans. Top the beans with olives and serve.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 252.16
Calories From Fat (8%) - 20.83

Total Fat - 2.36g
Saturated Fat - 0.16g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 155.57mg
Potassium - 1618.22mg
Total Carbohydrates - 46.21g
Fiber - 13.7g
Sugar - 6.35g
Protein - 15.54g


If you are accustomed to eating fat this salad will probably be too clean for you. However if you have given up oil I think you will like this. The salad gets brightness from the vinegar and lemon that we like. Additionally it has nice textural variation from the crunchy fennel and cabbage and soft beans and tomatoes. The olives were added for a little bit of saltiness.

Each serving of this salad contains 2,220IU of vitamin A, 60mg of vitamin C, 195mg of calcium, 6mg of iron, 115mcg of folate, 85mcg of folate, 95mg of phosphorus, and 53mg of magnesium. One thing that struck me about this meal was the approximately 20grams of both protein and fiber it contained. How is it that the average American only gets 12 grams of fiber day? I normally have more than that with each meal.

For dinner we weren’t really in the mood to eat but knew we needed calories. This is a dish I make often that we both like and it requires little work or thought but tastes great, probably due to the fat from the peanut butter ;-). Here is what I made:

Steamed broccoli, bell pepper and carrot with peanut sauce over brown basmati rice
Serves 2


2 cups cooked brown basmati rice (if refrigerated microwave for a couple of minutes just before serving)
4 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
1 carrot, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 – 4 tablespoons of water to sauté veggies

Sauce ingredients:

3 tablespoons peanut butter (I used reduced fat but included the calories for regular nut butter in the nutritional stats)
½ tablespoon liquid aminos
½ inch fresh ginger, finely minced
1 small clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice vinegar)
Water necessary to get the texture you want


Combine the sauce ingredients in your blender and process until smooth. Add as much water as you think necessary to achieve the texture you desire. You may want to make extra sauce so you can use this for another meal later in the week. It is a good sauce.

Water sauté the broccoli, carrot and bell pepper for a couple of minutes just to lightly soften them. You want them to remain tender crisp to retain the maximum amount of nutrition.

Serve the veggies over the rice and top with sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro or black sesame seeds if desired.

Nutritional information (assumes you use regular not reduced fat peanut butter):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 446.05
Calories From Fat (28%) - 122.71

Total Fat - 14.66g
Saturated Fat - 2.99g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 423.51mg
Potassium - 1083.97mg
Total Carbohydrates - 67.74g
Fiber - 7.76g
Sugar - 7.3g
Protein - 16.11g


This is something that I made a few times a month. It is my go to dish when I don’t know what I want to cook. When you keep cooked brown rice on hand in the refrigerator or freezer you can have this dish ready in less than 10 minutes. Sometimes I need food that doesn’t require a lot of thought or prep and for these days this is what I make. The peanut butter makes this a very rich satisfying dish. Since I made ours with reduced fat peanut butter the fat is lower than the numbers above, but I assumed most of you will use regular peanut butter so I included those numbers instead.

Each serving of this dish contains approximately 13,300IU of vitamin A, 230mg of vitamin C, 120mg of calcium, 3mg of iron, 170mcg of folate, 365mg of phosphorus, and 175mg of magnesium.

Unrelated Notes:

This is going to be my last post for the evening, it is getting late. I hope you had a great weekend. Talk to tomorrow.


  1. I so heartily agree that it's wonderful to know the people who grow your food...that's how are ancestors lived...and all the better for it!

    Beet-fennel-ginger is a spectacular combination,(you two come up with some pretty good menu items!) he color is striking..I'll be trying it very soon!

    From what I've read, borage is a prolific self-seeder. So, after this'll probably never have to plant any again...let it seed and you'll have borage to your heart's content in years to come...such a lovely old-timey thing to have around...and in the same family as Lalo's bluebells apparently...I think the flowers taste like cucumber.

    The rest of your herb and tomato garden sounds like the makings of wonderful food to come too! Do keep us updated on that front!


  2. People usually find it odd, but I don't really like a lot of fat in my salad. I know it helps absorb nutrients, but I don't really like heavy dressings. I prefer a simple drizzle of citrus or balsamic.

  3. I love going to the farmer's market on the weekend and looking at all of the beautiful, fresh produce for inspiration. Everything looks fantastic but the peanut sauce on the last recipe made me go mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  4. That salad (minus the fennel LOL) sounds great to me. I love cannellini beans on a salad. Dinner looks so good too. Nice and healthy.

  5. Rose,

    We really enjoyed the soup. I can't wait to hear what you and John think. Even my parents liked it. But I do think it needs the tofu tahini topping for the mouth feel.

    I am so glad you know a little something about borage. I was hoping you did. Nice to know it will come back. The plant itself has beautiful leaves. I can't wait to see the flowers.

    It is predicted to rain through Wednesday. But as soon as I can get some pics for you I will.

    Thanks for the b'day wishes. :-)

    talk to you later,

  6. Krystina,

    If salad is the only thing I am eating I will add a few nuts or seeds for fat to help absorb the fat soluble vitamings just to be cautious. Now that we are used to salad without oil I don't like the greasiness of standard salad dressing. I made the comment about the fat because I knew my parents weren't thrilled with it by their facial expressions. ;-)


  7. Jill,

    I make variations of the peanut sauce at least once a week. It makes a tasty fast meal. This is also why I keep cooked brown rice in the refrigerator. Sometimes you just need a meal in under 10 minutes. ;-)

    You can make extra peanut sauce to use later. I have kept it in a covered jar in the frig for a week. It is also good over plain steamed or raw veggies as a side dish or salad.


  8. Heather,

    I never realized how often I cooked with fennel until you told me you don't eat it. Sorry it turns up so much. Dan and I both enjoy it. Maybe it will be like beets for you and you will find it is okay. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  9. Tehehe--"If anyone can kill it, I can." We must be long lost twins, because I am the exact same way :-)

    That salad sounds fantastic--I love vinegar and lemon juice as dressing. I am chomping on a huge kitchen sink salad right now dressed with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice---yum.


  10. Courtney,

    I always joke about my "black thumb of death". I do okay with herbs and shrubs but not so great with vegetables and houseplants, though I keep trying. LOL

    We really the combination of lemon and apple cider vinegar. It is sharp and tangy with a bit of sweetness. Thanks for letting me know it isn't just us. ;-)

    talk to you later,


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