All recipes paired with wine, Loaded Recipe Series, Soup

Coconut – lentil soup, loaded with superfoods!

Let me officially introduce my new [Loaded!] Recipe Series with this delicious soup.

Studying more and more latest trends of the ages old “super-food” powers (those that we are just now rediscovering), I also love to put it right into practice. I try new recipes and combinations that will load my food with these super healing nutrients as much as possible. As always, the taste is as big the factor for me, as the benefit to one’s health. Combine that with the fact that we are big soup obsessed family, I must say that when I made this soup recently, we just couldn’t get enough of it.

Kick the flu in the butt with this delicious super food soup!

I never made just 2 or 4 portions of soup – but a pot that we can eat for few days, so I kept adding another possible combinations of flavors when serving it next day. At the end, we settled on splash of Sriracha sauce in each portion, because my initial ½ seeded jalapeno didn’t bring the desired, (if any) heat to the meal. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can omit using hot peppers all together, but to me, the heat just finished the umami process.

Please don’t get discouraged with the list of ingredients. If you follow healthy guidelines, preparing smoothies, salads and meals at home at least sometimes, you probably have most of them already in your pantry and fridge.


Coconut – lentil soup

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
This recipe is for: 6 people


  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 1 small onion or 1/4 red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large carrot, minced
  • 1/2 cup of minced celery rootWIMG_7686
  • 1 tablespoon minced turmeric root
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
  • ½ jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (I hardly tasted any heat, so next time whole jalapeno w seeds for me)
  • 2 x 4 tablespoons of organic coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons powdered curry
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1-2 zucchini
  • 1 lemon grass, smashed
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of chili powdered
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • Pinch of chili and curry for serving
  • Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • Cilantro to decorate each portion (optional)


Pick lentils for unknown objects. Place in fine colander and wash under the running water. Let it sit in the colander until you need it. Peel garlic and onion and finely chop. Peel and chop your root vegetables.

If you’re not familiar with celery root (my favorite stuff), you can cut just about 1/4 of root (cover the rest of the unused root with plastic foil and keep in refrigerated for the next use).

Peel the outer tough skin with small knife (sometimes you must go deeper into the root, especially if it was kept dry in the store). You don’t want any tough, woody pieces in your soup. Finely chop as desired. I tried to cut each component into a similar size with lentils.

In the large soup pot heat up coconut oil, add onion, garlic with root vegetables and cook on medium low heat until translucent, about 2 – 3 minutes.  Add curry powder and stir, until fragrant.

Add smashed lemon grass, and jalapeno and keep stirring for another 30 seconds.

Throw in washed lentils, and cover with coconut milk and stock. Bring up the heat so the liquids are brought to the boil, and then turn down the heat again, letting it simmer, uncovered, for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and soft.


In the meantime, wash and slice zucchini – I cut it longwise, then again to a quarter lengths and then sliced into half-moons. The thickness depends on you – if you like it crunchier, leave it thicker, and if you like the zucchini nice and soft, slice it thinner. Whatever you decide, keep it as similar size pieces as possible. I originally saute just one medium size zucchini, but liked it so much, next time I may make 2-3.

Heat coconut oil in the large frying pan and saute zucchini, seasoned by salt and pepper, for few minutes, moving, until browned on all edges. Depending on the heat of the pan, it can happen quickly. Set aside.


When the soup is cooked to your liking, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, chili and lemon juice. Remove the lemon grass before serving, and discard. Ladle the soup to plates or cups, arrange roasted zucchini in the middle, sprinkle with curry and chili, add sprig of cilantro, final splash of coconut milk and serve.


The soup wasn’t originally as hot as I expected, and we ate almost all the zucchini on the first round, so for the next serving I sauteed an additional zucchini, mixed them into the soup, and injected a dollop of Sriracha sauce to each plate. It added a nice color and most importantly, the missing heat! Overall, this soup, loaded with superb stuff for your health, is our new staple in the kitchen. Both my husband and I gave it ♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5.


All recipes paired with wine, Soup

Henriette’s Escarole Soup

Henriette's Escarole Soup


Our friend Henriette made this for us once. It was one of those beautiful, crisp autumn days in New England, few years back. My husband and I came to help them cleaning the leaves on their large property. As we were working outside, I remember suddenly noticing that nice smell coming from the kitchen.

It started with sauteing onions, then it changed to garlic, more earthy tones with the chicken broth and tomatoes … and shortly after Henriette showed up outside with a bowl of this delicious, comforting soup, and a large loaf of garlic bread. We really enjoyed it, sitting outside, on one of the last warm days of fall. As we were eating, she told us that it’s something she always likes to order in one Italian bistro, and ever since tried to recreate the taste of it at home.

The sad story behind this memory is that at that time, our energetic and fun loving Henriette was already losing her balance, speech and muscle control in her body. I found it amazing that she put all the strength she had left in her, just to prepare this lunch for us. Months later we lost her to Lou Gehrig’s disease. It was a first time I ever heard of that awful disease and it was horrifying to see how fast our friend’s symptoms progressed and how she suffered.

I try not to think about the months that followed, and how helpless we all felt, when I thought of her. Instead, every time I make this soup, it always reminds me of Henriette’s joyful spirit, her gift of friendship and how she made us feel on that nice autumn day.

Henriette’s Escarole Soup

It became one of our favorite soups. I added few things to the original recipe since, and it’s hearty enough to be easily considered a nice dinner. A lovely, comforting soup for the upcoming autumn.

  • 1 head of escarole
  • 1 Italian sausage (hot if you like)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can of Cannellini beans
  • ½ cup dry pasta – orzo (or your choice) – optional
  • 1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly grated pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Red crushed pepper (optional)

Peel each leaf and thoroughly clean escarole under running water. Set aside on paper towel to dry and then cut into ribbons (large leaves should be cut longwise and then across). Left in colander in the sink to get rid of the excess moisture.

Chopped escarole
Chopped escarole

In the large soup pot heat olive oil on medium heat, add finely chopped onions and saute until soft. Add minced garlic and keep sauteing for another 30 seconds.

Cut the casing of the Italian sausage, squeeze meat out into the pot, and break into small pieces with the wooden spoon. We like the soup spicy, so at this point I also add little bit of red crashed peppers. Totally optional, it is delicious even without the heat. Keep browning the sausage, stirring often, breaking with the spoon, until cooked.

C Escarole soup1Add all the chopped escarole to the pot and mix well with the onion/garlic mix. The pot will be almost full, but escarole will cook down significantly as it softens up. Keep steering until it cooks down to almost third of the volume.

C Escarole soup3When soft, add tomatoes with its juice, beans (thoroughly rinsed in colander) and chicken stock. Bring to boil, turn to low heat and let’s cook until the flavors combine, about 10-15 minutes.

C Escarole soup4Add orzo if you like the soup thick, and stir. Henriette made it with orzo, but I later replaced it with beans to stay low carb. To use both is a delicious option. If adding pasta, cook until orzo is soft, about 7 minutes. C Escarole soup5Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly grated pepper. Enjoy with a roll or garlic bread, just like Henriette prepared it for us the first time.

Henriette's Escarole Soup

Do you have a memorable meal that reminds you of a situation, place or person you were eating it with? Please share your story in comments below!

All recipes paired with wine, Soup

My favorite Lentil Soup

In my home country, lentils can’t be missed on the New Year’s Day table. Supposedly, it means to keep (or bring) money into the family. I keep this custom my whole life, but not just on New Year’s Day. I am not taking any chances….  We love lentils prepared different ways, and lentil soup is one of my favorites. Since my father always said that the correct soup consistency is the one in which the spoon holds straight up (yes, he didn’t care for thin soups), I love my lentil soup thick and full of goodies.

We then eat is as an entree, when looking for a bowl of something comforting. Because my husband is a soup person, I usually cook a large pot, freeze few portions for busy days, and we enjoy it with dinner rolls. If you want to make just small amount of soup, please cut this recipe in half.

After I moved to America, my original recipe underwent changes with all the Italian influence I had around me in Connecticut.

Please, let me know if you enjoyed my recipe!

Lentils soupFIT

Lentils Soup

2 cups of dry lentils
8 cups of chicken broth
2 carrots (chopped)
2 sticks of celery (chopped)
1 can 14.5 oz. of diced tomatoes with its juice (lately I love the fire roasted ones)
2 table spoons of tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Polish kielbasa (or leftover ham, or smoked turkey legs) – optional
Crushed red pepper flakes (when in mood for a little heat)

Measure 4 cups of dry lentils (I always do “security check” – pour little by little to a white plate and spread dry lentils with my fingers to check for anything that doesn’t belong there. It’s not fun to bite into a piece of pebble). Wash picked lentils under running water and let sit in colander to drain in the sink.

Add clean lentils to a large soup pot, cover with all the chicken broth and bring to boil. When it reaches the boil point, bring the heat down to low and let simmer. If you have a leftover ham (or even better, the bone from ham with pieces of meat on it) throw it in there for aroma and cook together with lentils.

If I’m using smoked kielbasa, at this point I add the whole piece to cook with lentils.About 10 minutes into the cooking I add cleaned and chopped carrots and celery sticks as well.

When the lentils are softer and vegetables almost cooked (about 20-25 minutes), stir in whole can of diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir well. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired (some broths are salty enough). Let simmer for 5 more minutes or until the lentils are soft and all the flavors blended together nicely. Before the soup is done, take out the bone from ham (if used). When kielbasa is nice and soft, take it out of the soup with thongs, let cool on the cutting board and chop into small pieces. Return to the soup and enjoy!

One time I purchased a smoked turkey legs. Great addition to my lentil soup! I cooked it with the lentils and got a great, aromatic smokey soup. I then took it out, pulled the meat off the bone and returned the smoked turkey yumminess to the lentil soup. What a match!

All recipes paired with wine, Soup

New Years Lentils Soup

In my home country, we had this funny custom to have any lentil’s dish on New Years Day. Supposedly, it was meant to keep (or bring) money into the family. Considering, I am doing it for my whole life, it wasn’t too successful yet. But the “patience brings roses” eventually, so I am not giving up and I will still cook my favorite Lentils soup every January 1st, just in case. Also, in my family, we really like the dish. Please, let me know how did you enjoy it, if you are trying my recipe!

New Years Lentils Soup

4 cups of dry lentils
8 cups of chicken broth
2 carrots (chopped)
2 sticks of celery (chopped)
1 can of diced tomatoes (lately I love the fire roasted ones)
Salt and pepper
Polish kielbasa (or leftover ham) – optional

Measure 4 cups of dry lentils (I always do “security check” – pour little by little to white plate and spread dry lentils with my fingers to check for anything that doesn’t belong there. Believe me, it’s not fun to bite into a piece of pebble).

Pour clean lentils into a large soup pot, cover with chicken broth and bring to boil. Lower the heat and let simmer. If you have a leftover ham (or even better, the bone from ham) throw a piece in there for aroma and let it cook together with lentils.

If using kielbasa, I like to leave the whole piece, for cooking – take it out and cut into little cubes, when soup is ready. What ever you prefer. Clean and chop carrots and celery sticks and add it to the soup.

Let cook for few minutes and stir in whole can of diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper if desired (some broth are salty enough). Let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft. At the end, take out the bone from ham (if used) or kielbasa and cut into little pieces. Return to the soup and enjoy!