As the end of summer approaches, I am focusing on eating certain foods and preparing dishes that not only take advantage of seasonal produce, but that I know will also cool my body.
Ayurveda instructs us to take our cues from nature. During late summer, the leaves on trees begin transforming from cool-hued, fertile green to hot, vibrant drying reds, yellows, and oranges. The trees are releasing their stored heat in preparation for fall. The same activity is occurring in us. As heat collects and rises in our systems, it is incumbent that we eat cooling foods. They are easy on our slower summer digestion and prepare us for the cold weather ahead that will require our digestive fires to be at their strongest.
I’m not really sure what to call this soup. To call it a “greens” soup is rather unsexy and doesn’t do it justice. It’s more than a broccoli soup, though, since it’s prepared with several different types of green produce. Regardless of its name, this dish is cooling for the body and centering for the spirit. It is representative of vibrant green foods in general, all of which are related to, and particularly nourish, the heart chakra, hence the “yam” (the mantra for the heart chakra) term in the title.
Deanna Minich (www.deannaminich.com) writes about how green foods, full of phytonutrients, are particularly nourishing for the energy of the heart, the center of where we experience love. After all, our ability to align with source and to connect with the potential for unlimited abundance stems from this energy center. Emitting an electrical field ten times stronger than that of the brain, it is essential that we nourish the heart chakra in all ways, including with food.
Prepared with broccoli, spinach, kale, and peas, this soup nourishes so many parts of our being. It is cooling; it is centering; and because it represents loving kindness, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, and our ability to receive (all associated with the heart chakra), it is perfect for a cleanse, a reset, or simply as a healthy addition to our summer repertoire.
Makes about 6 cups
Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 sliced small yellow onion and about 1 teaspoon of pink or grey sea salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. Toss in the florets and chopped (peeled) stems of 1 small head of broccoli (3 to 4 cups). Season with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper, sprinkle in about 1 teaspoon of your favorite curry powder, and stir to combine with the onion. Add vegetable broth just to cover. (Alternatively, add water and toss in your favorite vegetable bouillon cube. My favorite is Rapunzel brand, Vegetable Bouillon with sea salt, available at Whole Foods and Wegman’s. For this preparation, I start with about ½ a cube and add more, as necessary.) Bring to a simmer and cook just until the broccoli is tender and still bright green.
In the meantime, add a generous handful of fresh spinach and about ½ cup of organic frozen peas to the container of a blender or Vitamix. When the broccoli is ready, pour the entire contents of the pan into the blender and blend until very smooth, adding additional water or broth and salt, as needed.
Serve as is, with a drizzle of olive oil, or with some sauteed spinach or kale.
Store in a lidded glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.