Dr. Ayala's Blog

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Dr. Ayala

Dr. Ayala
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
V.P. Product Development
Herbal Water
I’m a physician (Pediatrics and Medical Genetics), artist, and mother of 3 school age active kids. I recently co-founded Herbal Water Inc. (www.herbalwater.com) with my husband, Albert. I am a serious home cook, and love to entertain. My expertise is vegetarian food (I have been a vegetarian all my life). I strongly believe that eating healthy and enjoying good food go hand in hand. My main interests are science, nutrition and art, and I am overall a very curious person that tries to learn something new every day. Dr. Ayala (Ayala Laufer-Cahana M.D.)


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DECEMBER 7, 2011 9:13AM

My Mom’s Super Comforting Vegetable Soup

Rate: 1 Flag


This is the vegetarian version of the all-healing chicken soup.  Works just as well, I think, if not better.

Made of simple, inexpensive ingredients, and requiring very little chopping (thanks to my loyal helper, the food processor) this vegetable soup is one of the best ways to get a lot of the veggies you need all in one dish, and the whole grains in the soup add substance, richness and protein to the mix.  Nothing like a big pot of soup for the cold days ahead!



  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2-3 celery stalks, stringy tough outer parts peeled, diced
  • 2-3 zucchini, peeled
  • 4 potatoes, peeled
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 parsnip, peeled (optional)
  • 1/3 cup pearled barley, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 8 cups good-tasting vegetable broth
  • Finely chopped parsley or chives, to serve


In a large soup pot heat the canola oil over medium-high heat, add the onions and leeks and the seasoning: paprika, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.

While the onions and leeks are sweating in the pot, using a food processor, grate all the other vegetables -- zucchini, potatoes, sweet potato, carrots and parsnip – using the course grating plate.

Add the diced celery and the all the grated vegetables. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are a bit tender and start to brown.  You may need to add a touch of water if your pot looks too dry.

Add the pearled barley and the oatmeal and stir.

Add the broth and bring the pot to a simmer.

Cook until the barley is soft, about 20 minutes.

Taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed. Finish with chopped herbs and serve

Serves many, is even better the next day and keeps well for 5 days in the fridge.


Enjoy in good health,

Dr. Ayala

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Thanks. I was gonna cook a Vegetable Soup.

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Good and healthy and hot. You got it all.