There are times in life, when you do something and in the moment, the purpose of that experience isn't clear.  Then afterwards, you come away with so much, you know you were meant to meet the people you met and see the things that you saw.  This what was it was like when I first laid my eyes on my new favorite book, The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother.  After my own birth experience and taking sacred time to recover, I have been interested in postpartum care and this book is exactly what every mom needs.  I met with Heng Ou last week to get my hands on a copy and am already getting a plan together for two pregnant friends.  I cannot say enough good things about The First Forty Days.  It is a birth and postpartum survival guide filled with remedies, recipes, kitchen guidelines and even a power drink for labor.  It's basically my dream come true.  I am so honored to feature a recipe from this book for Sunday Supper. 

H | It’s hard for anyone to get their daily serving of greens, let alone a new mom! And greens can be doubly tough to eat when you’re avoiding cold foods (recommended for brand new mothers), but there are quick and warming options — like this soup. By simmering and liquefying lots of leaves at once, you can consume a gardenful of greens in one brightly colored and very easily digestible bowl. Quinoa adds texture, protein, and a pop of contrasting color.

Serves 6–8


  • 3 leeks, white parts only, cut crosswise into thin slices
  • 1⁄2 cup (55 g) peeled and roughly chopped white or yellow onion
  • 3 medium parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 quarts (2 L) vegetable broth (Shiitake Immune-Boost Broth, page 134, or store-bought)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup (170 g) quinoa
  • 3 loosely packed cups (90 g) fresh organic spinach
  • 1 loosely packed cup (30 g) chopped chard
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg Liquid Aminos, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)


  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the leeks, onions, and parsnips in the oil until lightly browned. Add the broth, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the parsnips are soft.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small pot, bring 2 cups (480 ml) water and the salt to a gentle boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is fluffy and tender and has unfurled (opened) slightly.
  3. When the soup has finished cooking, remove it from the heat to cool down a bit. Working in batches, transfer the warm soup to a blender, along with the fresh spinach and chard, and blend until everything is incorporated into a vibrant green puree (or use a hand blender).
  4. Return the puree to the pot, stir in the quinoa, and season with the soy sauce and the nutritional yeast, if using.
  5. Warm up the soup over low heat before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze in zip-tight plastic bags or glass mason jars (see page 130) for up to 3 months.