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Green soup is like a warm green smoothie for the soul.
Imagine that a warm green broth is much easier to digest than a cold drink, especially with the addition of a few warming spices like cumin and ginger.
To make green soup, all you need to do is simmer zucchini, green beans, and celery in water until soft, then blend it up with fresh herbs, such as watercress, parsley, or cilantro. The spices you add are up to you.
It will come together in about 30 minutes. You can start the water boiling while you chop the vegetables to speed things up.
This vegetarian detox soup was invented by early alternative health pioneer Dr. Henry G. Beiler, as a way to promote healing and detoxification.
In the 40s and 50s, when Beiler’s influence was widespread in Hollywood, it was common for people to fast by consuming only Beiler’s green soup for 2-5 days.
In the modality that I practice of Ayurveda, we encourage a gentle approach to detox, and so a cooked vegetable soup like this, that’s alkalizing and easy to digest, is a great choice.
I can’t speak to the sufficiency of Beiler’s broth for a fast longer than a single day, but I do encourage it as one part of a healthy cleanse diet.
I have modified Beiler’s original recipe to include ghee, cumin, ginger, and lemon. I think he was envisioning more of a tasteless soup (haha).
I was actually informed by a reader that Beiler did not approve of the use of spices, which is definitely a drastic departure from the traditional Ayurvedic wisdom that I espouse. (If you are interested, you can read the details in the comment below.)
I have included the spices to make this soup taste amazing, and also to add warmth and digestive support. You are welcome to leave the spices out, and try this soup with just the vegetables to be more true to Beiler’s original recipe.
Green soup is said to be particularly good for the adrenal glands, which are often the first to suffer when we are under stress.
The soup helps to restore acid-alkaline balance and sodium-potassium balance to the body’s organs and glands.
It has a strong affinity to the liver, and supports the liver, which is perfect for the spring season, or for anyone whose liver is under stress.
You always want your liver well supported, since it plays such a critical role in cleansing the blood, as well as daily detox functions.
This soup is incredibly easy to digest, and therefore perfect if you are on the mend, or your digestion is weak.
The high fiber content from the green beans, zucchini, and celery helps to stabilize stool consistency, and heal the digestive tract.
Substitutions and additions
Substitute the ghee with olive oil or butter.
Blend in half an avocado for a richer version with healthy fats.
Leave the spices out, or substitute with different spices in the ghee, such as turmeric, coriander, black pepper, or garam masala. (Add any powdered spices after the seeds, and sizzle for about 20 seconds.)
Substitute the ginger for garlic and/or onions.
Try additional or alternative seasonings, such as cayenne pepper, tamari soy sauce, or miso.
Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds for added protein and crunch.
When to enjoy green soup
To enjoy this soup medicinally, have a cup of it with your breakfast, lunch, or supper, or turn it into a light supper on its own.
It would also be good as a healthy, cooked vegetable snack any time of the day.
Green Detox Soup (Bieler’s Broth)
Start the soup
- 2 cups zucchini
- 2 cups green beans
- 2 cups celery
- 4 cups cold water
Blend into the soup
- 1 cup parsley, watercress, or cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Season the soup
- 1 teaspoon ghee
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
- lemon, freshly squeezed, to taste
- Roughly chop zucchini, green beans, and celery. Chop the celery into 1/2-inch pieces or less to eliminate stringiness, but otherwise, don’t worry about being perfect with your pieces, since the soup will be blended.
- Place all the vegetables in a saucepan and cover with 4 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and partially cover. Cook until soft, about 25 minutes, then turn off the heat.
- Meanwhile, mince your ginger and set aside until needed. Roughly chop your fresh herbs, and set aside.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the vegetables into a smooth puree. You can also use a regular blender to puree, but be sure to allow the soup to cool before blending, and/or leave room for steam to escape.
- Add fresh herbs and salt, and blend a little more
- Heat a teaspoon of ghee in a tiny skillet or saucepan on medium heat. After the ghee melts, add the cumin seeds. Once the cumin seeds start to brown and become aromatic, add fresh ginger, and continue to sauté until lightly browned. Turn off the heat and transfer the spices to the blended soup along with the fresh lemon.
- Stir well, and taste. Does it need more salt? Does it need more lemon?