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Meatless Monday: Orange Soup with Black Salsa - Mark Bittman

We are making an effort to eat more whole food, plant based foods i.e., nuts, legumes, grains, fruits, and veggies, and I have to say we are loving it. After all we've been told "Eat food that rots, just eat it before it does" - Dr. Forrest Shaklee. I have also been reading the Blue Zone book by Dan Buettner and learning about the longest lived people in the world, who eat meat more like a garnish or accompaniment to the main meal. A pretty crazy concept for most Americans. The more we learn the harder it is to deny the benefits of good, real, unprocessed, fresh food.

There are so many ways to cook foods, especially vegetables, that no one should be able to say "I don't like veggies". Even if you don't you should keep trying them, over time your taste buds adapt and your body knows you're giving it good stuff and starts letting you know it needs more - you crave good food! You will also find that sometimes you don't feel so great after a greasy, processed meal. This is again, your body letting you know it really likes the healthy stuff. Some simple ways to add veggies to your day: smoothies, add them into sauces, puree them, roast, bake, grilled.... MMMmmMMM. To learn more about Whole Food, Plant Based eating visit Eating you Alive or Forks over Knives. and check out for some great vegetarian ideas.

Another way to learn about Whole Food, Plant Based eating is through the book VB6 and the VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman He discusses being Vegan, kind of, Mark Bittman is Vegan before 6pm and then eats whatever he would like, within reason after 6pm. The change has still made a huge impact in his health and has become a lifestyle. I like the concept. During the day you get your full share of fruits, vegetables, grains etc. without all of the saturated fats, processed food and bad stuff. If you choose wisely that is. If you want to make a change, but don't think you can go whole hog, eh hem...whole cauliflower, then VB6 might be a good fit for you.

This review is of his butternut (or pumpkin) soup, a great Meatless Monday meal.

The Review

Time: 60 Minutes

Ease: Simple

I wasn't sure how well this would turn out at first, just being honest. Every butternut squash soup I've ever made had coconut milk or milk in it. I was afraid it would be to thin and watery, but I was wrong! My other hesitation was how was my husband going to handle this vegan dinner? Before I had a chance to ask him what he thought I heard those lovely yummy noises we all love to hear when we cook for someone! Success.

The soup was easy to make and very good. I have a submersion blender, which I highly recommend, but you can use a blender to puree it too. It is creamy from being blended, but is not going to have the exact same consistency as a milk based soup, but I don't think you'll miss it.

The salsa is tasty and went very well with the soup. We ate it in our soup as well as with flax chips and I was tempted to top it with sour cream, but didn't.

This recipe took about an hour, but if you used canned pumpkin or pre-cooked butternut squash you could do it in 30. Enjoy!

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