There is no doubt at this time of year, with the below freezing temperatures and that ever lingering chill in the air, that there is nothing more comforting then curling up in your comfy’s with a bowl of homemade soup. Not only does soup make you feel warm and fuzzy inside but it also has many healing properties when your not feeling your best. Earlier this week we touched on the amazing health benefits of those tasty, little, fungi: Mushrooms. As promised, I will share with you a recipe that truly encompasses the mushroom to it’s full potential, helping you to heal and feel good with every sip! One of my favourite recipe databases comes from Alive Magazine, where I was able to come across an excellent recipe for Mushroom and Barley Soup. Below I have outlined the ingredients that make up this immune boosting soup and all of their individual health benefits…create, enjoy and heal!!
Onion – In the root family, these bulbs have a more subtle “antibiotic” property then garlic. They help at purifying the body and boosting the immune system. The mineral sulfur, which is that tear-jerking odour that onions are famous for, promote toxin elimination from the blood, lymph and body.
Garlic – Also in the root family, garlic is known as the “king of herbs” and has been used for many medicinal purposes, including the treatment of, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (a.k.a plaque buildup in the arteries), worms, other parasites, as well as the common cold and flu. Similar to onions, garlic also is a purifier of toxins in the bodies systems.
Sage & Thyme – These herbs, along with many other edible plants contain phytonutrients, which means “plant nutrients”. This category, houses everything that makes up a plant from, colour, to taste, to aroma. Phytonutrients are absolutely essential to the body’s nourishment and live at the heart of our food….giving plants medicinal properties such as, antibiotic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Shiitake Mushrooms – As mentioned in my “Why The Nude Mushroom” post, these mushrooms boost our immune systems, helping to fight the progression of some nasty diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis and cancer. In addition this strain of mushrooms have antimicrobial properties, helping to fight off microorganisms that invade our bodies. Shiitakes, have been used to slow the progression of cancer and have anti-tumour effects that may either slow or even stop the growth of tumours (see the bottom of the page for a link to dive deeper into: cancer and Shiitakes).
Spinach – As we all know, spinach is rich in Iron content. This leafy green is also high in fiber, Vitamin A and C as well as Potassium, magnesium and calcium. With it’s rich dark colour, it is bursting at the stems with phytonutrients!!
Loaded with tones of health benefits this soup is sure to keep your immune system boosted and your body feeling good!! The original recipe calls for button mushrooms but because they have minimal nutritional value, I highly recommend substituting with Shiitake to reap the real health advantages!!
Shiitake Mushroom and Barley Soup
2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh thyme
2 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
1 lb (450 g) assorted mushrooms, sliced
1 cup (250 mL) pearl barley, rinsed
8 cups (2 L) low-sodium vegetable stock
2 cups (500 mL) finely chopped spinach leaves
Heat oil in pressure cooker or over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, thyme, sage, and pepper; cook for 2 minutes, or until onion begins to soften. Add mushrooms, barley, and vegetable stock. Lock lid in place and cook on high for 8 minutes. (You can also use a regular soup pot)
Release pressure naturally by moving pressure cooker from heat source, waiting for pressure indicator to show no pressure left. Remove lid, stir in spinach, taste, and adjust seasoning.
Each serving contains: 151 calories; 4 g protein; 4 g total fat (0 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 25 g total carbohydrates (1 g sugars, 5 g fibre); 141 mg sodium
source: “Pressure Cooking“, alive #372, October 2013
For more informations on the benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms, see: