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Whole Food Muscle Club Articles

A Five-ingredient Base for Soups, Stews, Casseroles or Tacos

I (Dr Robyn) have been cooking the Whole Food Muscle® way for a while now. And I just realized that most of the hearty, winter meals I cook start with the same five ingredients – onions, bell peppers, celery, carrots and garlic. And more often than not I add mushrooms, lots of mushrooms as a bonus. 

two hands against blue sky breaking free of handcuffs
two hands against blue sky breaking free of handcuffs

These plants create an amazing foundation of flavors. You can cook them in large batches and freeze them for future meals. 

General amounts:

One large onion (make it two if you aren’t sure if the onion you have is “large”)
One large bell pepper
2-3 ribs celery
2-3 carrots
2-5 cloves of garlic (depends on what you’re making, how large your cloves are and how much you like garlic
At least two cups of mushrooms (I don’t think I’ve ever made anything with only two cups of mushrooms)

How to prep them:

  • Chop the onions (we usually cook with yellow), peppers (any/all colors) and celery to similar sizes. 
  • Grate the carrots (I use a food processor) 
  • Chop the garlic (again I use a food processor)
  • Chop mushrooms into bite-sized pieces (if using)
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Two ways to cook them:

  • For soup/stew – put everything except the mushrooms in a stock pot. Add enough water or veggie broth to cover. Simmer until the onions are just getting soft. Add mushrooms and whatever else you like in soup (from here I make pea soup, lentil soup, roasted tomato soup, chili or mung bean soup
  • For casseroles/tacos/burritos/etc – Put everything in a large frying pan. I like to cover it. If you’re lid doesn’t hold in the moisture you may need to add a little water. Cook on medium heat, stirring regularly, until the mushrooms release their juice. Watch it closely so it doesn’t burn. Turn the heat down and continue to cook until veggies come together in a taco mixture consistency 
    • If not using right ways, allow to cool and store in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple of days, or put in the freezer
    • To make a meal right away, add spices, other veggies, greens, beans and/or just about anything your heart desires. 
    • This is the starting point for my sweet potato lasagna 

That’s it. Super easy. Super straight forward. And super yummy!

Want more knowledge, support and interaction with Dr Robyn and Russ? Join the Whole Food Muscle®club here!


Dr Robyn is a former competitive volleyball player turned psychologist with continuing education in nutrition. Russ is a former competitive bodybuilder and trainer on the Mr. Olympia Tour. They are the co-founders of Whole Food Muscle and the authors of How to Feed a Human The Whole Food Muscle Way. To work with them one on one to improve your health and fitness or to have them speak at your event or organization email them at Health@RnRJourney.com.


Becoming a member gives you access to our online community where you get support from Dr Robyn, Russ and other members who are also on their journey to better health. All journeys are better when you have someone to share it with.

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"Hello
Russ and Dr Robyn,"

"You changed my life and my husband's. His cholesterol has been cut in half. We both have lost about 12 pounds and feel terrific. We don't miss meat, fish, eggs or yogurt or cheese. Thank you so much for all you are doing for the world. We too thought we were eating healthy but couldn't lose weight even though we exercised a lot. Until we changed what we ate. We are truly grateful. I loved your Christmas message about what to say to those comments people make when you say you eat Plant Based.

Thank you again."

Nancy and Mark Hetterly

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