I believe in eating with the seasons.
Our bodies are naturally conditioned to craving root vegetables and foods that insulate us from the cold during winter months.
Now that spring is here, by instinct, we seek out early greens to stimulate our metabolism into releasing any extra pounds and toxins we may have accumulated.
I like to cleanse my liver and kidneys during the early months of March through May, by eating soups and salads that include bitter tasting herbs and greens. ‘Bitter’ is a taste we tend to avoid, and is missing from our modern diets to a great degree.
When ‘bitter’ hits our tongue, the body reacts with a release of bile, stimulating our digestion, which is also beneficial to the gallbladder.
I’ve been cooking a spring cleansing soup religiously for years now and serving it with a salad that rocks the palate. Initially, this recipe was passed down from a friend. Later I found a version in ‘The Savory Way’ by Deborah Madison. My recipe is a blend of both, and you can feel free to adjust as you wish.
I hope you like it as much as I do. To your health!
Spring Tonic Soup
Pick or buy the greens for this mineral rich, spring detox soup.
Do use organic ingredients if possible.
- 2 tbsp virgin olive oil
- 2-4 medium potatoes
- 1-2 medium leeks, chopped and washed well
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- Grey sea salt to taste
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar to extract minerals from greens
- 1 handful parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 2 cups beet greens and chard, chopped
- 2 cups fresh nettles chopped (wear gloves!)
- 2 cups Italian broccoli and chopped dandelion leaves
- 1 organic vegetable stock cube
- 2 quarts filtered water
Heat the oil in a large stock pot. Sautee leeks, garlic, carrots, potatoes, thyme and parsley until leeks wilt. Add the greens and allow to wilt slowly, stirring every few minutes. Add the water, salt, vinegar and dissolved stock cube. Bring to a boil and turn down immediately to simmer slowly for several hours. Cool and blend until slightly coarse or smooth.
Just jar it and eat some every day for as many days as it lasts.
Can add Miso, or Bragg’s liquid amino’s for protein, or omit potatoes for a thinner soup. Experiment with the herbs, according to taste. If desired, serve with a dash of hot sauce.
Salad for the Senses
If you have access to a local organic box scheme, salad greens may be available early in the spring from a farmer’s greenhouse, or search your local market. Dandelion greens can be foraged wild or a cultivated variety can be grown in the garden.
- Romaine lettuce
- Arugula, Radicchio
- Baby Kale
- Dandelion leaves
- Home grown or purchased sunflower sprouts
Break greens into bite size pieces and arrange in a bowl.
Toss with chopped green onion, chopped garlic chives, mint leaves and fresh basil.
Top with vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, if any are to be had from a local, organic greenhouse and homemade croutons. Croutons can be made with gluten free bread.
Garnish with edible flowers like calendula, pansy, borage, and nasturtiums (spicy!).
Dress with an olive oil, lemon juice dressing. Be sure to enjoy the incredible aroma and texture of this salad. Blessing your food increases its nutritional value as does eating slowly and chewing well.
If you are vegetarian, goat’s milk Feta or hard boiled eggs go well with this salad.
Author: Monika Carless
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: courtesy of the author