Thursday, October 3, 2013

A BETTER Soup & Salad

 I've hit week 3 on the elimination diet via Gwyneth's latest book (see my post, Eliminating Excess). I feel better than I have in quite awhile. I've only lost 4 lbs (sigh.. blame that on the simultaneous weight training regimen), but have boundless energy as an alternate reward. I'm not craving anything that's 'bad' for me. Usually I would be crying for pizza at this point, but there's something to the whole no-processed food thing that has me hooked.  The more recipes that I prepare, the better I like eating this way. I alter some a bit to my taste or for time, but stick to ingredients that fit the program. One of my favorite meals for lunch or dinner is soup and salad. Something about the hot/cold variety just sucks me in. In experimenting with suggestions from the book, I've found a combination perfect for a fall table...and for the appetites at my house.

The salad isn't typical - no lettuce involved. But, my carnivore husband likes it so much, he says he could eat it every night (wow!). You can get quality, juicy mangoes right now at Produce Place or Whole Foods and avocados are readily available.  This is a sweet treat with a creamy, tart punch and honestly better than any salad I've ordered in a restaurant.


1 large, ripe mango, peeled and chopped into 1-2" chunks
2 medium, ripe avocados, roughly sliced into 1" squares
Balsamic Lime Vinaigrette (click HERE for recipe)
Handful of torn basil leaves
Course sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Toss mango, avocado and salt in a bowl with a big pinch of the salt. Drizzle with dressing and toss again with torn basil pieces. Put onto plates and top with a grind or two of pepper and serve. (Serves 3-4)

Messy photo from our table, but so delicious..

Since it's fall, having something orange on the table is always a plus. The gorgeous color reflective of the season and mood totally satisfies. This soup has the bonus of an unexpected flavor kick you won't find in the average butternut squash bisque. The spice is strong, but easily tamed when paired with the refreshing salad. 


3 Tbsp Lucini Olive Oil
1 red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6-7 stems cilantro, tied with kitchen string
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chipotle in adobo (canned)
2 large sweet potatoes that have been baked for 30/40 minutes (still firm).
6 cups organic or homemade vegetable stock

Heat olive oil in dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, stem bunch, cumin, garlic and a big pinch of course salt. Stir and cook until softened (about 10 min). Break potatoes into chunks, add them into pot along with chipotle, stir. Add stock. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. Remove/discard cilantro. Pour into a Vitamix or power blender and puree. Serve in bowls with cilantro sprigs as a garnish.  (serves 4)

What's your go-to soup and salad combo? Diet or no diet... do dish on your favorite.