Winter root & white bean soup

Detox seems to naturally set in this week. It feels great right now to eat greens, beans, nuts and seeds!
If you are shaking off the sugar bacchanal that set in around Halloween and crested in the Hana-Kwana-Christmas-to-New Year celebration (wasn’t that fun?!), here is one more warming, grounding soup to help you remember how it feels to be simply nourished by food again.
This soup features winter root vegetables: sweet yellow turnips and carrots, along with onions and white beans. It’s a terrific sweet-rooty canvas that you can finish with a variety of herb-spice flavor combinations. I chose black pepper, celery seed, saffron and turmeric for this one.
For this recipe I used a combination of slow techniques (soaking and cooking dry beans) and short-cuts (a commercial “better-than” chicken stock). I find joy in cooking from scratch on a Sunday as I think, write, hang out and virtually-visit friends and family by phone and yep, Facebook. While making stock is yet another wonderful use of time, I am also a firm believer in the “better-than” concept of doing the best you can and not worrying too much about achieving from-scratch perfection. So, the stock I used has a little cane sugar in it, an ingredient that never would have occurred to me to add to my own stock, but the soup is still a celebration of plant-rich goodness. I also used an immersion blender, an inexpensive new tool in my kitchen that makes blended vegetable soups a breeze. You can use a regular blender to get a smooth consistency, but this soup would still be tasty if mashed by hand or not blended at all.

My immersion blender was a great $30 investment.

My immersion blender was a great $30 investment.


10 oz dry white beans (I used organic navy beans)
2″x4″ piece dry konzu (seaweed)
1 qt vegetable or chicken stock (I used Pacific brand free-range chicken broth)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow turnip, peeled and cubed
5 medium carrots, washed and sliced
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp turmeric
a few dry saffron threads


The night before soup day, rinse beans, and place in a medium-sized pot with konzu, then cover with water. Leave beans to soak overnight. Strain off the soaking water.
In a large soup pot over medium heat, begin with olive oil and onions. Saute until the onions are soft. Add beans, carrots, turnip, and stock along with several cups of water to cover, and simmer over low heat until the root vegetables and the beans are soft, about 45 minutes.
For a blended soup, get that immersion blender buzzing. Alternatively, use a blender for a portion or the soup or leave it unblended. Add spices, reserving a few saffron threads, and simmer for another 20 minutes (or, if you’ve learned how to “bloom” your spices from someone like Jeremy at Kripalu, go to it!), top each bowl with saffron threads and serve warm.