When it comes to eating five serves of vegetables each day, I will always be big fan of fresh salads. However, as the temperature drops outside, a big bowl of vegetable soup may be the more appealing option.
And the good news is, as well as warming your insides; vegetable soup may even help you to avoid the winter weight gain this year! Homemade soups in general pack in a lot of nutrients for relatively few calories (unless you’re adding lots of cream, butter and/or refined carbs!), and the additional fibre and fluid can keep you fuller for longer. In fact, studies have shown that people who consume vegetable soup before their main meal eat 20% less calories!
We’ve put together two entrée and two main soup recipes that are sure to keep you’re bellies happy and light this winter!
Superfood greens soup
Sautee 1 leek (or 1 medium brown onion) and 3 crushed garlic cloves in 1tsp olive oil until soft. Add cooked leek to a large pot with 2 washed and diced potatoes, 2 cups of frozen peas, 1 diced zucchini and 2 large heads of broccoli (florets only). Pour over 2L salt reduced vegetable stock (or 1.5L if you want a thicker soup). Season generously with pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Remove from heat, and either use a bamix, or transfer to a blender, and blend until smooth. To turn this into a heartier meal, add 100-150g shredded poached chicken or salmon per bowl
Spiced pumpkin and carrot soup
Peel and dice 1 kg Jap pumpkin and 4 large carrots. Add to a pot, along with 3 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 heaped tbs grated ginger or ginger puree, 2tsp ground turmeric, ½ -1 tsp chilli flakes (to taste), and ½ tsp ground pepper. Cover with 1.5L reduced salt vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Remove from heat, and either use a bamix, or transfer to a blender, and blend until smooth. To turn this into a heartier meal, add 1-2 large tins of chickpeas, rinsed and drained, and 1 dollop of Greek yoghurt per bowl.
Chunky chicken and vegetable soup
In a large pot sauté 1 diced brown onion, 1 diced carrot, and 2 diced stalks of celery in 2tsp olive oil, until soft. Next, add 1 diced zucchini, 1 cup chopped green beans and 1 head of broccoli, chopped into small florets. Top with 2L reduced salt chicken stock, 400g tinned crushed tomatoes, 2 heaped tbs tomato paste, and a generous amount of cracked pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, start poaching 2 small chicken breasts for 15 minutes, or until tender. Set aside to cool, then shred.
Once 20 minutes has passed, add 400g tin of drained and rinsed cannellini beans and 2 cups of shredded kale leaves to the soup, and stir until the kale has wilted. Add shredded chicken breast.
Lamb shank, chickpea and kale soup
Preheat oven to 160°C. Sautee 1 large onion, 2 cloves of crushed garlic and 2 celery stalks in a large ovenproof pot, until soft. Meanwhile, pan fry 4 lamb shanks (fully trimmed of fat), seasoned with salt and pepper, in 2tsp olive oil until browned on the outside, but not cooked. Place shanks into the pot with onion mixture, then add to the pot 2tsp lemon zest, 2tsp dried thyme, 2 bay leaves, 350g sweet potato (diced and peeled), 400g tinned tomatoes, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. Top with 2L water or vegetable stock, cover, and cook for 2-2.5 hours, or until meat is falling off the bone. Remove shanks, strip and shred meat from the bone. Return to the pot, along with 3 cups of shredded kale leaves and 400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained. Stir through the soup until kale leaves have wilted.