Fall Harvest Soups

Fall is my favorite season for cooking.  The plethora of  sweet round and root vegetables inspire me to load my stock pot with onions, butternut squash, carrots, turnips, parsnips, beets, and rutabaga…along with a good complement of red lentils and herbs to make a savory puree.  This can be used as a soup or a sauce to accompany grains and poultry, meat, or fish for a simple, hearty meal.  A large batch can be used for days and in a variety of ways–a kind of ready source of vegetables when time is short.



Red Velvet Soup (Serves 4-5; Time: 1 Hour)
This is a beautiful, festive soup that has long been a favorite of my whole family.  Good hot or cold.

1 C. red lentils
1 T. sesame oil
1 Large Onion, chopped
2 Medium Carrots, chopped
2 Beets, peel ends and chopped
3 Bay leaves
3 T. red miso, or sea salt to taste
Garnish: parsley, or  broccoli flowerets

Wash and drain red lentils.  Scrub veggies and slice in ½-inch pieces.
Heat oil in soup pot and sauté veggies for 5 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon.
Add lentils, water and bay leaves; bring slowly to boil.
Simmer 1 hour, with flame tamer if needed, until veggies are very soft.
Remove bay leaves and puree with blender or immersion wand.
Dissolve miso in ½ c. water and add to soup.  If soup is too thick, add more water.
Variations: Can use kombu; or umeboshi paste as flavoring.
Source:  Mary Estrella, Natural Foods Cookbook

Bev’s Pumpkin Soup (Serves 6)

1 cup solid packed pumpkin, fresh or canned
3 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
2 leeks or 1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour, preferably whole wheat
Fresh nutmeg

In a stock pot:
1.  Saute vegetables in butter til soft.
2.  Sprinkle flour over veggies and blend
3.  Add pumpkin and broth
4.  Simmer, covered for 30 minutes.
5.  Allow to cool
6.  Blend in food processor or with “wand”
7.  Add salt and pepper to taste
Grate nutmeg on top each serving, to taste.
Source:  My good friend, Beverly Reich.  This has become a family favorite.  We enjoy it throughout the fall and winter, for pleasure and health.

Chestnut-Squash Soup (serves 4-6; cooking time 50 minutes)
¼ cup roasted chestnuts10 cups peeled, chopped butternut squash (approximately 2 large squash)
6 cups water or stock
2 ½ t. salt
Sprig of fresh dill or chopped fresh chives

  1. In a large pot, combine the roasted chestnuts, squash, and stock and bring to a boil.  Add the salt.
  2. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
  3. In a blender or food processor, or with an immersion wand, puree the squash mixture until well blended.
  4. Return the mixture to the pot and re-heat.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with the dill or chives.

Source:  Atma JoAnn Levitt, The Kripalu Cookbook.

Carrot Puree Soup (10 one-cup servings)
6 cups water
½ t. salt
1 cup finely diced onion
2 pounds whole carrots, trimmed, same diameter
1 t. celery seeds, or fresh ginger to taste

  1. In a pan, bring water to a boil.
  2. Add salt and onions and reduce heat to simmer.
  3. Add carrots and simmer 15 minutes, covered.
  4. Add celery seeds. Cook until carrots are al dente.
  5. Puree carrots and return to pan. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Source: Jackson Blackmon

Healthy Halloween

Halloween is often the last fun “fling” of fall. It is a festive, creative time for young and old…a time for family and friends to join together perhaps in visiting an apple orchard or pumpkin patch in the weeks leading up to the night when witches and goblins of all ages get to parade about. Bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins, baking treats are all great ways for adults to get to share in the fun. The books of Halloween poems I read to my daughters throughout the month of October are still remembered, loved, and cherished.


Rehearsing a trick and eating a healthy, balanced dinner can get the evening off to a good start. A well-fed child can then focus on the excitement of costumes, decorations, and visiting friends as much as on eating oodles of candy.


To counter the excess of sugary treats, one strategy might be to give out art supplies for future creative adventures, perhaps some simple crayons, sticker sheets, a cookie cutter, etc.


Another idea is to give a decorated bag that contains a recipe along with one simple ingredient so your trick-or-treaters can look forward to creative cooking adventures and perhaps a recipe that just might become a family favorite.


With this in mind, we offer a set of recipes, any of which you might like to copy and use in this way. If you are artistic, you might enjoy mounting one on a decorated piece of construction paper and let your creative juices roll…all in the spirit of having as much fun as our children.


Pathways4Health Sugar-Free Oatmeal-Banana Cookies

4 cups oatmeal
6 ripe bananas
2-3 cups dried fruits (dried blueberries, cranberries, raisins, etc.), chocolate chips or nuts
Cinnamon/nutmeg/salt to taste
1 T. vanilla flavoring

Mash bananas in a large bowl and add all other ingredients.
Place by spoonfuls on an un-greased cookie sheet.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.


Pathways4Health Barley-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies; Or Dessert Squares
This is a true family favorite. If you don’t have time to make cookies, just put the batter in a greased brownie pan and bake about 20 minutes.

1 cup barley flour
1 cup oatmeal
2 t. baking powder
1 T. cinnamon
Pinch of salt
½ cup buttermilk
2-3 T. honey
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup dried cranberries, etc.

Mix dry ingredients.
Mix wet ingredients.
Fold in chocolate chips, dried fruits, nuts…your choice
Drop by tablespoons on a well-greased cookie sheet [or use a greased baking pan and bake about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the pan and the depth of the batter. Cool and cut into squares.]


See also Snack Bars for other appropriate Halloween recipes.