June 20, 2016

Crock pot soup — no oil, big taste

In my last post I mentioned I took the ferry to Port Townsend to attend a meeting of the Port Townsend Vegan Meetup Group, because they were hosting a talk by Dr. Michael Klaper. I've never heard Dr. Klaper speak before, and was, in fact, unfamiliar with his work other than knowing he advocated a no-oil, vegan, whole foods lifestyle as a way to maintain or regain health. He also says sugar should be used as a favoring agent, not a food. His 'talk' turned out to be a 3-1/2 hour class on becoming healthier through diet. He addressed many health issues, from the reasons people struggle to lose weight, to the connections between diet and ailments like rheumatoid arthritis, leaky gut and heart disease. He also incorporated animal rights into his talk. Dr. Klaper is such a genuine, compassionate, intellegent, knowledgeable and humorous speaker, his talk went by in a flash. And I was inspired to incorporate his ideas into my daily meals. (At the end of the post, I'll provide a link to the talk I listened to so you can hear it, too.) I don't know if I can keep it up, but I've managed to follow his suggestions for a little more than a week. (It will be kind of impossible for me to do when eating out because I don't have the kind of resolve that Dr. Klaper has. He suggests eating before you go, and ordering a plain salad or soup. Not there, yet. I was out to dinner with the family last night and ordered lentil soup and dolmas, which was exactly what I wanted — but I could tell the dolmas, at least, were pretty oily.)

I've never been able (or willing) to remove extracted oils from my diet, and, in fact, thought it was kind of overkill, but I'm reconsidering. I know people who have followed Dr. John McDougall's similar no-oil diet for years, and they love it. One of them started following it because she has MS, and she went into remission. I've been making no-oil dishes lately, but I will probably be posting both my experiments with no-added-oil foods as well as the usual choices.

Dr. Klaper suggested eating very large salads for lunch and using the slow cooker to make soups that last for a few days. He really does love soup! I followed his lead with a couple of slow-cooker creations. I have to admit when I read a recipe that has tons of ingredients, my interest starts to dwindle. But, when I'm making something up on the fly, adding a load of ingredients seems easy. The soup took about a half hour to prep, using ingredients I had on hand. I steamed the broccoli separately and added it at the end because cooking broccoli in a soup isn't as good-tasting as adding it just before serving. Although the ingredients look pretty basic, the soup surprised me with its rich, delicious flavor. Even my husband, who thought not sauteing the veggies in oil would ruin the taste, loved it.

This is what I piled into my six quart crock pot:
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 or 4 large carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces, then sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 small cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 can of low-sodium black beans (or other beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and drained (I learned this broth-enhancing trick from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cook books)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes ('nooch') (You won't taste it in the end.)
  • 1 quart low sodium soup stock (can use water instead)
  • enough water to fill the pot to the cooking line
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (for non-spicy soup, use 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or 1 teaspoon paprika plus 1/2 to 1 teaspoon liquid smoke)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • juice of 1/2 to 1 small lemon (to taste) 
  • two cups of chopped broccoli (about one large stalk), steamed (in a bamboo steamer, if you have one.)
  • fresh or dried herbs as desired (I used fresh oregano and thyme from my garden, but parsley, basil, rosemary or cilantro also would be good.)
  1. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes,  beans, tomatoes, lentils, yeast flakes, stock and water to a six-quart crock pot.
  2. Stir in the chipotle chile powder (or paprika and liquid smoke).
  3. Cook on high for four hours, then low for one to two more hours, until veggies are tender.
  4. Steam the broccoli and add to the pot. Stir in salt, lemon juice and herbs.
  5. Taste for seasonings, Eat.
We served our soup over a small amount of brown rice.

Here is the link to Dr. Klaper's talk, should you wish to listen.  There is a brief introduction by one of the PT Meetup organizers, before Dr. Klaper's talk.


  1. The soup does look really good! In fact, I feel like soup is a good meal that really wouldn't hurt from not using oil.
    I don't tend to use a ton of oil in my regular cooking, but some definitely is a flavor enhancer and I don't really think it's THAT that bad for you? maybe if I were deliberately vigilant about my oil use, i'd find I used more than I thought.
    I definitely wouldn't be able to do it at a restuarant, that's for sure, and I feel like it defeats the purpose anyway...

    1. The soup tasted great, and it wouldn't have occurred to me to wonder if it had oil. I'm paying more attention to oil usage, and I don't use a lot, but more than I realized. Today I roasted chickpeas without oil, and I couldn't tell the difference. Restaurants are another story, like you said. Sometimes the amount of oil is unpleasant to me, and sometimes not.

  2. Andrea, you should definitely try the no-oil lifestyle. It is so good. And after the first initial adjustment of cooking without it, you get used to it and you won't miss it. It really is added to add calories to dishes and to keep people full quickly. Like in Brazilian steak houses, they bring the fried yucca and polenta first because people eat that and fill up quickly and don't eat as much meat which is more expensive. I still use coconut oil when baking, if there's no way I can omit it and have good results. I am from Brazil and we sautee everything specially stews, soups and pots of beans. But you really can do it with just spices and aromatics like onions, garlic and herbs to make anything taste good. I don't even use stock of any kind and everything I make is a success even to meat eaters. :D When I do go out, the first thing we notice is that everything is swimming in oil, though. :/ For that reason we don't eat out a whole lot. Maybe once every couple of months.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Tereza. I've never liked very oily or salty food, and we have trouble eating out as well. Just a little oil, though, really helps to cook things like veggie burgers, but I'm going to give the oil-free cooking a try. I don't bake often, but when I do, I use as little fat as possible — usually avocado oil rather than coconut.

  3. Your soup looks great! I actually rather have soup over salad. I usually use only a little bit of oil in cooking, not sure if I can give it up completely. I would have thought sugar is worse than oil, no?

    1. Thanks! I'm trying to have soup AND salad because although I eat plenty of raw fruits, I'm not as good at including raw veggies in my diet. So raw salad at one meal and cooked food at the other. (lunch and dinner)

  4. All very interesting stuff. I'm not convinced that removing all oil is necessary though, though equally I'm sure soup can be delicious without it. I think there's definitely a sensible level of oil to be had rather than total exclusion. I should go read up more on the subject!

    1. I've never been convinced to remove all oil before, either, but I did find Dr. Klaper's class rather compelling. I actually prefer a low salt, low fat, low sugar diet, but it's hard to keep to it outside the house. The no-fat seems to be helping my husband lose weight, but we'll have to see how it plays out over time.


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