kawarthaCHOW – Keep healthy with nutrient-rich foods

Register for "Superfoods for the Season" cooking class on October 23 and try this recipe for lentil soup

Italian-Style Lentil Soup (photo: President's Choice)
Italian-Style Lentil Soup (photo: President's Choice)

As the weather gets colder, our bodies need different nutrients to maintain good health. Sadly, many people turn to supplements, but you can meet much of your nutritional requirements from foods.

For instance, chicken soup has been a mainstay of folk medicine for 800 years, ever since the Egyptian physician Moses Maimonides recommended it as a cold remedy — and it really works, as many modern studies have shown. Soup is found to reduce the severity of cold symptoms, especially congestion. Researchers suspect that the soup’s cold-fighting powers come not from the chicken, but from the vegetables that are usually part of the stock.

Another way to keep healthy is to incorporate more mushrooms into your diet. Oriental mushrooms such as shiitake, maitake, and reishi contain compounds that bolster your immune system. By eating these types of mushrooms, you’re better able to fight off a cold. Like many fruits and vegetables, the darker mushrooms are better for you — they have a higher amount of vitamin D and are the only non-meat form of natural B12 we can get.

Louise Racine is teaching a class at President's Choice Cooking School on October 23 (photo courtesy of Louise Racine)
Louise Racine is teaching a class at President’s Choice Cooking School on October 23 (photo courtesy of Louise Racine)
Louise Racine, owner of Thirteen Moons located northeast of Peterborough, is a certified nutritional practitioner. Louise has a solid reputation of creating nourishing food for her clients and school groups. She has facilitated vegetarian cooking workshops since 2002, including several classes at the PC Cooking School. Louise publishes a subscriber based monthly e-newsletter, is the author of a popular cookbook, Thirteen Moons – seasonal recipes to nourish and inspire, and has been a regular contributor to a number of print and online publications.

We are thrilled that Louise will be back at the PC Cooking School on Thursday, October 23rd for a class called “Superfoods for the Season”. Join her as she prepares a dairy and gluten-free meal packed with nutrition and flavor, featuring creamy Celeriac Soup, Chard & Sweet Potato Curry, Red Cabbage Salad with Goji Berry Dressing, and delectable Dark Chocolate Power Bites for dessert.

The PC Cooking School is located upstairs at the Real Canadian Superstore at Lansdowne Place (645 Lansdowne St. W., Peterborough). Register for Louise’s class (or any of our other exciting classes) online at www.pccookingschool.ca, or you can email me at pccookingschool.peterborough@loblaw.ca or call me at 705-749-6962 ext. 4.

Hope to see you in the kitchen!

Italian-Style Lentil Soup

Lentils provide so much protein in this Italian soup that it’s a meal in a bowl. For an added flavour boost, add a Parmesan rind in step 1, then discard just before serving. It’s a good idea to save rinds by freezing them in a plastic bag for such an occasion; if you don’t have any at home, you can ask your local cheesemonger for one. If you like, serve this soup with sliced, grilled Italian bread.

Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 35 minutes.

Ingredients (makes 8 servings)

  • 1 pkg (900 mL) PC Blue Menu Chicken Broth or PC Organics Vegetable Broth
  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) PC Blue Menu Green Lentils, rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 4 sprigs fresh thyme)
  • 1 head garlic, top 1/2-inch (1 cm) removed to expose cloves
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) finely grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In large Dutch oven or saucepan, add 4 cups (1 L) water, broth, lentils, bay leaves, rosemary and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until lentils are softened.
  2. Meanwhile, in large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook carrots, onion, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of the salt, and pepper for 15 minutes, stirring often, or until vegetables are tender; add to broth mixture. Continue to cook for another 15 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  3. Stir in remaining 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt and 1/3 cup (75 mL) of the Parmesan. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup (75 mL) Parmesan. Serve drizzled with a little olive oil, if desired.

Nutritional Information

  • Per serving: 220 calories, fat 9 g, sodium 480 mg, carbohydrate 28 g, fibre 12 g, protein 13 g
  • Very high in fibre
  • Excellent source of Vitamin A
  • Good source of Iron
  • Good source of Potassium
  • Source of Calcium
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Elaine McCarthy
Elaine McCarthy is the Co-ordinator of the PC Cooking School, located upstairs at the Great Canadian Superstore at Lansdowne Place in Peterborough. Elaine has been cooking professionally for over 20 years and running the cooking school for five years. A mother of two girls, she has a passion for healthy eating and for teaching children about the importance of the food that we consume. Be sure to check our column about the PC Cooking School and facility rental. You can follow Elaine on Twitter at @PlanxtyIrwin.