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Entries in phytochemicals (1)


Drink Your Veggies

Click on the pic for Spinach Fruit Smoothie recipeSure you could have had a V-8, but now there are endless fruit and vegetable drinks to help you get your recommended 5-9 servings of produce a day. Maybe it's the popularity of "cleanses" and juice fasts that these drinks have secured so much shelf space in supermarkets. I don't buy these drinks because of the cost and high calories, but I can see the appeal of drinking produce because it's less intimidating to gulp down than to chew through 5-9 servings! A downside is that you lose out on the fiber you'd get from the whole food, but you'll still benefit from their phytochemicals and antioxidants. Over the summer I'd started blending up my own shakes with whole fruits and greens like kale or spinach. 

But now that the weather is cold, I don't crave those frosty frappes. So I searched for pureed vegetable soup recipes that allow me to enjoy a nice warm drink of veggies. I make a large pot to keep in the fridge and drink a reheated cup a day. To be honest, you could probably use any vegetable soup recipe and blend it up. Adding at least one starchy vegetable like sweet potato, butternut squash or pumpkin squash will help to thicken it. 

This week I chose a carrot peanut soup inspired by a recipe from the Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special cookbook (Clarkson Potter Pub, 1999). The original recipe includes chili paste, which I omitted, but still produces a flavorful satisfying soup with richness from the peanut butter. It makes a great evening snack and will give you that last boost of antioxidants before bed!

Carrot Peanut Soup


1 T canola oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

2 pounds carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 6 cups)

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

1 t salt

6 cups water

2 T peanut butter

3 T lite soy sauce

2 T lime juice


  1. In a soup pot on medium heat, warm the oil and add the onions, carrots, celery and salt. Saute on high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until the carrots are soft, about 25 minutes.
  3. Stir in the peanut butter, soy sauce, and lime juice. In a blender, puree the soup in batches (or use an immersion blender).  

There are some great online resources to get you excited about fruits and veggies, such as Fruits and Veggies More Matters and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. I like CDC's handy calculator that estimates how many servings of fruits and veggies you need daily based on your age and activity level.