Market Minestrone

Market Minestrone

A variation of a classic minestrone soup. It’s packed with super green nutrients for increased energy. Use whatever you find at the farmers market in season. 

Serves 4

Soup Ingredients

4 -6 cups vegetable stock, recipe below

1 bunch asparagus, tips only

1 bunch of spinach, or kale, chopped

2 cups english peas

1 head fennel, sliced, then chopped

4 garlic cloves, smashed with salt

1 spring onion, minced

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 lemon, juiced, plus zest

1 cup olive oil

1 tsp. salt or to taste

1/4 cup parsley,chopped

Pesto Ingredients  (Optional)

Bunch of basil leaves, 25 leaves

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup parmigiano reggiano, or nutritional yeast

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted 4 minutes, dry pan

1 clove garlic

squeeze of lemon

Preparing Pesto

Mix all pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse. Leave a bit chunky. Do not over mix, it will make the pesto taste bitter. Set aside.

Preparing  the soup: 

Add half of the olive oil to a hot pan on medium heat. Add the onion, and saute for 5 minutes. Add smashed garlic, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp salt. Add fennel and saute 5 minutes. Add warm stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add spinach, asparagus, peas, and the rest of the olive oil. Simmer for another 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat. Add lemon juice, zest, and chopped parsley. Taste again for seasoning.

Add half of the pesto and mix into the soup. Put soup in bowls and top with more pesto.

Easy Vegetable Stock Recipe: 
In a soup pot on medium heat, add 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Then add 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, 1 turnip, 1 white onion, 2 leeks, 2 twigs of thyme, a handful of parsley, 1 garlic clove, 7 whole peppercorns, and 1 tsp. sea salt. Add 6 cups of filtered water and simmer for 1-2 hours. Strain Vegetables. Broth keeps in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freezes up to 3 months.

Buon Appetito

For scheduled Cooking Classes in Asheville, Visit:

Plant Based Living

Plant Based Living

 A plant based diet comes with a multitude of flavorful health benefits and little to worry about.

Food For Thought? Nutrition for mental health…

Think of food as the foundation to getting us back to where our mind and body naturally wants to be. I like to call it good mood food…  

It wasn’t that long ago, if someone dared to share that what we eat connects to how we feel, we might have been labeled one of those new age people. A new field of psychiatry is showing some exciting links between what we eat and our mental health. Thank goodness science has caught up with the divine wisdom of nature.

Did you know that eating certain foods like refined processed carbohydrates such as white bread and sugary foods can zap your energy and give you brain fog? 

~  In addition to adding on some extra pounds.

Let’s clear up the carb confusion. Some trends suggest that carbs are the enemy. I disagree, at least a little. I admit I do pay attention to my carb intake. However, If you are eating whole foods, picked at the right time, grown in a healthy environment, you don’t have to obsess about it. For example: complex carbs like whole starchy vegetables, and grains are a healthy source of carbohydrates, and gut loving fiber, and have a host of health promoting nutrients for the mind. 

I can not hide how happy it makes me to cook and eat with the seasons, knowing my body is getting exactly what it needs, and when it needs it. The biggest joy for me is to explore and share the delicious pairings of seasonal ingredients with friends and folks like you. 

Oftentimes, there are very small windows to create with a seasonal ingredient.  Asparagus and English peas come to mind. Which has me thinking of one of those perfect pairs to cook a delicious Spring Minestrone. 

So Go Cook!  Make something that nurtures you and the people around you, with the intent to inspire and nourish your soul.  Explore, laugh, daydream, visualize a beautiful day, and remember to take notes… Journaling is a wonderful way to inspire new ideas, especially when the fog is lifted.

The key thing to remember when embarking on a health journey is to be patient with yourself, as your body needs time to physically adjust to the changes in your diet as well as maintain this new healthy habit.

To get you started, here are some perfect pairings that will decongest the body, balance the gut flora, and feed it delectable important nutrients that increase energy, therefore increasing the quality of your life. Who doesn’t want that?

Foods to boost daily energy ~

Grilled Radishes with Herbed Yogurt (a beneficial probiotic for the gut)

Steamed Salmon over English Pea Puree, with Tarragon Lemon Clarified Butter 

Market Minestrone

To your good health ~ If you are a curious cook, join me on my Podcast  ~ A taste for All Seasons ~

It is a cooking, cultural, and inspirational way for us to explore the world of food. And… as always, l will share a seasonal recipe, cooking tips, and kitchen essentials that will inspire you in the kitchen.  All recipes at

You can listen to all the shows, on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and Google Podcast.  We talk to local farmers, and wellness experts, where you can learn how to cook your way through the seasons. 

Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach.  

To work with Laurie, visit

Superfood Green Smoothie

Superfood Green Smoothie

Start the day with a nourishing nutrient rich green drink. Add a banana for a kid friendly smoothie.

Serves 2

2 cups organic spinach, or kale

1-2  cups nut milk or coconut milk, recipe for nut milk below

1 tsp. grated turmeric

1 tsp. grated ginger

pinch of black pepper

2 tbsp. hemp seeds, or chia seeds

1/2 tsp. cinnamon,or cardamom

2 medjool dates, pitted, or fresh berries

1 granny smith apple, cut into pieces (to replace other fruit, this is lower in sugar)

1 cup hot filtered water, in cooler weather for blanching greens

Add On ~ For gut health, add 1/2 cup goat yogurt

1 tbsp.raw cacao nibs, optional

Optional: Pour hot water just before boiling over spinach or kale. It is good for digestion.

Add to a high powered blender with all the other ingredients. Blend well. 

Homemade nut milk:  1 cup of raw nuts such as almonds, cashews,or  macadamia nuts, soaked overnight in filtered water. Drain. Add soaked nuts to a high power blender with four cups of fresh water. Add a pinch of sea salt, and a dash of vanilla. Blend well. Keep refrigerated for up to 5 days. If nuts are not your thing, make hemp milk. (1 cup organic hemp seeds, 4 cups filtered water, pinch of salt, ½ tsp. Vanilla) Blend very well.

For Almond milk, you might want to pour it through a cheesecloth or sieve, for creamy milk. Press down with a wooden spoon. Discard remaining pulp. If using a Vitamix, omit
this step.

Spring Clean Your Health

Spring Clean Your Health

As we contemplate the arrival of Spring with childlike anticipation, there are many reasons to love this time of the year.

It’s the season of possibility…

We have long awaited entry into more daylight, and this is a boost to our mental health:

Schedule in some time to walk around the neighborhood and take in the greenery, and bursts of color, that start to blanket the city. This will surely lift the spirits, in addition to lowering cortisol levels, the stress hormone.

Spring is a favorable time to rethink our diet with lighter seasonal ingredients.

Rest assured, There is no “right” way there is only what works for you.

Go on an internal quest, with a hint of curiosity, and an intrepid explorer. It will reveal what your body is asking for.

Checking in with yourself with a quiet mind is a wonderful way to cultivate intuition, and is a beneficial practice for your wellbeing: as it opens the doors to clear decisions.

Once we know what is best to feed our body each season, It does take a bit of discipline to shift what we normally eat.

After a long winter, there’s nothing more welcome than celebrating spring with the sight and flavor of new colorful, tasty ingredients: arugula, mustard greens, asparagus, and peas are all starting to come available at the farmers markets. 

The good news is:  By eating with the seasons it will create a reset both in the mind and body. This way of feeding ourselves adds to better digestion, which all supports an uplifted frame of mind.

Tips for Success

One thing that helped me was to keep a journal of everything I ate in the day.

Also, noting what is going on when I crave certain foods?

If I am feeling stressed or sad, I lean into unfavorable choices.

We all do this to some extent. Be gentle with yourself! We can always start anew.

It’s helpful to have someone hold you accountable, like a good buddy or a health coach.  Personally, When I have someone that I am accountable to, I am more likely to be set up for success.

It doesn’t have to be a daunting task to make a shift in your health, you can start by incorporating one small thing at
a time.

What if? It is as simple as having a twelve ounce glass of fresh lemon water upon waking, before that yummy cup of coffee, or tea touches your lips.

I love starting the day with an energizing green smoothie: made with plant based protein, such as hemp or chia seeds, a bunch of leafy greens, and a couple of nutritious Medjool dates, or a handful of berries. It’s more delicious than you might think.

During this wonderful time of renewal, allow fresh Spring ingredients to clean out the habits of winter.

To your good health ~

 If you are a curious cook, join me on my Podcast  
~  A taste for All Seasons ~

It is a cooking, cultural, and inspirational way for us to explore the world of food. And… as always, l will  share a seasonal recipe, cooking tips, and kitchen essentials that will inspire you in the kitchen.

You can listen to all the shows, on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and Google Podcast.  We talk to local farmers, and wellness experts, where you can learn how to cook your way through the seasons.

Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach. 

To work with Laurie, visit 

Vegetable Soup & Basil Pesto

Vegetable Soup & Basil Pesto

Serves 8

1/2 lb. haricots verts, cut into 3 inch long pieces or in half

2 cups carrots, (1/2 inch dice)

2 cups red potatoes,or other (1/2 inch dice)

1 cup yellow squash (1/2 inch dice)

2 cups chopped yellow/white onion

2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 leeks)

2 tsp. sea salt

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

3 qt. homemade vegetable stock (recipe below) or organic box stock

1 tsp. saffron threads

1 cup pesto (recipe below)

Fresh parmigiano reggiano for finish

Heat the oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Add onions and leeks and saute over low heat, until they become translucent. (about 10 minutes)

Add in potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper and saute over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and saffron. Bring to a low boil. Then, lower the heat and simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender but still firm. (about 15 minutes)

Add the haricot verts and squash. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Turn heat off, and let sit for 10 minutes.  Taste for seasoning. 

Remember you are adding parmigiano, which is salty, therefore wait until the end to add more salt if needed.

When ready to serve add 1/4 cup of pesto to hot soup. Then season to taste.

Serve soup in bowls and top with extra pesto and grated parmigiano.

Pesto (makes 1 cup)

Adding the tomato paste gives this traditional pesto a french flare

4 garlic cloves

25-30 large basil leaves

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place the garlic, basil, tomato paste and parmigiana in a food processor and pulse a few times.

Start to add the olive oil and continue to pulse until incorporated. You do not want to over mix as the basil can get a bitter taste.

Can be made a few hours ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature when serving.

Buon Appetito

For scheduled Cooking Classes in Asheville, Visit: