Following the Heal Your Headache diet has allowed me to get creative with my cooking. Before I used a lot of citrus or sauces with additives and hidden MSG, but now I had to turn to fresh spices and herbs I never used previously to add flavor. Over our trip to France I noticed fresh herbs were a common theme throughout the cooking, and the flavor it brought to our dishes was incredible.
Bouquet garni, French for “garnished bouquet” is a collection of herbs tied together with string. It’s used to flavor stocks, soups, and casseroles, then discarded before the meal is served. There’s no set recipe for a bouquet garni, it’s just a collection of your favorite herbs all tied together. It could look something like rosemary, basil, savory, and tarragon or thyme, parsley, rosemary, and chervil…whatever you like or have on hand!
If you’ve never used fresh herbs before, here are some flavor profiles you might be interested in.
Rosemary – a strong, woody flavor that tastes and smells a bit like pine.
Thyme – another strong, woody flavor that complements poultry very well. It can also come in other flavors, like lemon thyme, which has a hint of citrus.
Basil – sweet, peppery, with a hint of an anise (licorice) flavor.
Sage – an earthy flavor that smells of eucalyptus and some pine, but a little lighter than rosemary. It’s often used in sausages and stuffings, as well as with lamb.
Marjoram – similar to oregano but less spicy and more sweet. It’s a lighter alternative to oregano.
Oregano – spicy, pungent, and “musty”, this herb is found in a lot of strong flavored cooking, like Greek. It’s wonderful on lamb.
Sumac – a Middle Eastern spice that has a tart flavor. It’s great for hummus when you can’t add lemon.
Fennel – sweet with a licorice flavor. Is wonderful for homemade sausage.
Savory – often used in bouquet garni, this herb is peppery and similar to thyme.
Bay Leaf – yes, they do serve a purpose. It adds a woody and slightly minty flavor to dishes once simmered. It provides some complexity to a broth that’s heavy with garlic and shallots or leeks.
Dill – a lighter flavor similar to fennel or celery that compliments fish and other fresh dishes very well.
Tarragon – a bittersweet flavor that has notes of anise (licorice). It goes well with chicken, especially chicken salad.
Chives – these come in other flavors like garlic and onion. I like them all! I use onion often for a flavor replacement that’s HYH safe.
Some of these are fairly common, but I encourage you to pick up a spice or herb you’ve never tried before next time you go to the store. It may open up some exciting options for you!
This soup was also inspired by my trip to France and an overabundance of zucchini this summer season. Make your bouquet garni with whatever herbs you’d like! I had parsley, bay leaf, and thyme on hand so that’s what I went with.
My favorite ways to cook this dish is using my Le Creuset pot, which is one of my favorite investments. I’ve even seen them on sale in Costco or at Tuesday Morning every once in a while. If it’s a little out of your price range, I’ve heard really good things about Lodge Cast Iron dutch ovens. A really good blender is also necessary for a super creamy yet light texture. I love my Vitamix, and you can find refurbished ones for a really good price. I have yet to find another brand that really competes with Vitamix, but if you have one you love, let me know!
A wonderful starter or a light summer meal, this creamy soup has major flavor that's highlighted with fresh herbs.
- 2 tbsp butter or ghee
- 3 shallots, roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and rough chopped
- 1.5 lbs fresh zucchini, washed and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bouquet garni I used a handful of fresh parsley, a bay leaf, and a few sprigs of lemon thyme all tied together with twine
- 1/2 cup organic heavy cream *Watch for additives like carrageenan. Can sub coconut cream for non dairy option if tested on HYH
- 32 oz (4 cups) vegetable or chicken stock *Try the instant pot recipe I just posted!
- fresh dill and chives for garnish *Don't skip this! it's totally worth it
In a very large, heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat and add the shallots. Sautéing for 1-2 minutes, while stirring. Add the garlic and sauté another minute or two until fragrant and soft.
Add the zucchini to the pot and continue cooking on medium heat till softened, about 4-5 minutes. Then add the stock, bouquet garni, dried thyme. Bring the soup to a low simmer (not boiling) for 15 minutes. No need to cover the pot.
After 15 minutes, remove the bouquet garni and add 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Stir until combined and remove from heat. Allow the soup to cool for a little bit and then place all the contents into a high speed blender. You'll have to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender. Blend until smooth.
You can either stick the whole blender in the fridge or place into a large bowl. Allow the soup to chill for at least 2 hours, if not more. The flavors will become much stronger the longer it sits.
I like to serve this as an appetizer, but it also makes a wonderful light meal. The garnish of dill and chives are definitely necessary!! Soup will keep 3-4 days.