Soups and stews are great healthy additions to the kitchen recipes that are satisfying and, just as important, filling. The one-pot-meals here run the gamut from vegan and vegetarian recipes, to a meaty Paleo-friendly chicken chili, from gut-healing stocks that make the best use of leftovers to recipes that use healthy and flavorful herbal teas as the base for chilled and piping-hot soups.
Don’t be discouraged by the total cooking time required for some of these recipes. A lot of them need a long simmer, which means a slow cooker can come in handy. Load in the ingredients, turn it on, and walk away. You just need to be patient. And go ahead and make big batches, even if you’re not cooking for a big crew. You can store the leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer and enjoy them later—or improvise by adding leftover chicken, rice, pasta, or beans to give yesterday’s pot a whole new look, feel, and taste.
Whenever I’m feeling under the weather, I have a home remedy that may not be doctor approved but seems to work like a charm for me. I steep three ginger tea bags in hot water (so far, doctor approved) and add a shot of Jameson whiskey (not approved). It’s delicious and literally intoxicating.
Another, more family-friendly use for those ginger tea bags is as a broth substitute. If you love the distinctive flavor of ginger, you’ll love this soup. This version is vegetarian, but it would be delicious with shredded leftover chicken and any hearty greens (like kale and chard) you might have on hand.
8 ounces firm tofu
¼ cup tamari
½ cup brown rice, rinsed
1 cup cold water
5 cups boiling water
5 ginger tea bags (I like Yogi Tea brand)
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 small heads (about 12 ounces) bok choy, trimmed and sliced into ½-inch pieces
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 bunch scallions, white part only, julienned
1. Place the tofu on a plate and weight down with two more plates; set aside for 30 minutes to press out the liquid. Then drain off the liquid and cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. In a small baking dish, toss the tofu with the tamari. Bake until the tofu puffs up and turns golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring once midway through the baking.
3. In a small pot, combine the rice with the cold water. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Set aside, covered.
4. In a large pot, combine the boiling water with the ginger tea bags and garlic. Steep for 20 minutes. Discard the tea bags and garlic.
5. Add the tofu and any residual tamari to the pot. Stir in the rice, then add the bok choy and sesame oil. Stir until the bok choy is wilted.
6. Serve the soup garnished with the scallions.
Good to Know Did you know that uncooked white rice has a shelf life of approximately thirty years, but brown rice can be stored in your pantry for only about six months before going bad? The bran in the brown rice (which is stripped away when rice is refined) contains a natural oil that can go rancid. So, buy brown rice in small batches or store it in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life to up to one year.