Who’s ready for a little cleansing after Thanksgiving? Holiday Detox Soup to the rescue!
This year, as we’ve done for the past several years, we traveled to Maryland to be with our Thanksgiving tribe – 25 or so of our east coast friends who have come to feel like family. It’s like a giant adult slumber party/summer camp: kayaking, starlit walks, a ping pong tournament, sipping scotch on the dock overlooking the river. And food. Lots and lots of food. I personally had more than was advisable of pie (six kinds), stuffing, potatoes, wine, cheese, and ooh, those little peanut-buttery buckeyes the kids made. It was all irresistible, and I don’t believe in food guilt, so I went for it. I went for it all.
I can honestly say I don’t regret a bite (although admittedly, I maybe should have reined in the thrice-daily handfuls of potato chips). But last weekend, after the inevitable long day of travel home, I landed in my bed feeling bloated, cranky, and in severe need of some rebound clean eating. You, too? Still working it all off? This soup will help, I promise.
Last year, I discovered Ina Garten’s Winter Minestrone soup and my family was so struck by its deliciousness that it became a winter staple in our house. Since then, I’ve made some tweaks to lighten the recipe up and add even more flavor. This version is warm and rich-tasting, with an abundance of nourishing veggies, savory fresh herbs, and a deeply luscious broth. Bubbly-warm and nearly thick as a stew, it doesn’t taste like a “clean” recipe. You know those cold, cold days, when all you crave is to get inside and wrap your frozen paws around a steaming bowl of something rich and savory? This soup is what you want.
The addition of parsnips is one I particularly love. If you haven’t cooked with them before, give ’em a chance. Subtly sweet – sort of like a cross between a carrot and a potato – they are, in my opinion, a highly underrated vegetable (they roast wonderfully as well, if you ever happen to be making a tray of roasted fall veggies). They, along with the butternut squash and carrots, provide a subtle sweetness that plays beautifully with the aromatics and tomatoes.
Five ounces (one large clamshell package) of spinach may look like a lot, but don’t be alarmed. It will cook down to next to nothing.
You can grate a little Parmesan cheese over the top of each serving, but I like it just as it is, steaming hot and ready to slurp. Cuddle up fireside with a bowl of this for dinner, and know you’ll hit the sheets feeling warm, satisfied, and perhaps even a little bit lighter.
Holiday Detox Soup
Comfort food doesn’t have to weigh you down! Warm and sustaining, this rich, luscious Holiday Detox Soup brings all the flavors and nutrients of fall without any heaviness.
- Prep Time: 30 min
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 75 mins
- Yield: 16 servings
- Category: Soups, Entrees, Clean Eating
2 TB olive oil
1 med chopped yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots (about 3 large carrots)
1 cup diced celery (about 5 medium trimmed stalks)
1 cup freshly peeled and diced butternut squash (frozen not recommended)
1 cup peeled diced parsnip
1 TB minced garlic (4 lg cloves)
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 26-oz can diced tomatoes
6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 bay leaf
1 TB salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can white beans (cannellini or great northern), drained and rinsed
5 oz fresh baby spinach leaves
1 cup frozen green peas
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, parsnips, garlic, thyme, and oregano and cook over medium heat, stirring to avoid browning, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the diced tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the beans. If the soup seems too thick, add more chicken stock (or water). Just before serving, add the spinach and frozen peas and cook just a couple minutes more, until the spinach is wilted and the peas are bright green. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
Serve hot, sprinkling with shaved Parmesan cheese if desired.
… To save time, you can use pre-cut, frozen butternut squash, but I don’t recommend it. The ones I’ve tried are cut irregularly and are sloppily peeled, necessitating more work than I’m willing to do for a ‘convenience’ item.