Friday, 7 June 2013

Green Soup with Broccoli Croutons

Another big bowl of green soup for dinner tonight - if that doesn't deal to this cold nothing will!! (see recipe below)

The kids ended up having the old fallback dinner of buckwheat (ridiculous name for something with no wheat in it!) pasta, tinned tuna, minted peas and oven roasted broccoli and cauliflower. They cannot get enough of the stuff, and it makes a nice change from plain old steamed. Cook the pasta, mix in the tuna and peas (still frozen - the pasta thaws them a little, but my kids prefer them still mostly frozen...odd children!) and serve with a big side of cauliflower and broccoli. Easy, nutritious and yummy. The whole meal took about 10 minuted to prepare, and including cooking time was on the table in around 20.

The broccoli and cauliflower require little more than chopping off a few florets, drizzle with coconut oil and spices of your choice (used turmeric and paprika tonight) then cook for around 10 mins.

The green soup came about as a result of wanting to make some soup combined with wanting to use up some seriously dodgy looking veges in the 'other' fridge.

We have 2 fridges, and the main one in the kitchen has all the stuff we use every day - veges, leftovers, milk (almond or rice), sauces...that sort of thing. The one in the laundry is the beer fridge which, much to my husbands disgust, has very little beer and a lot of other stuff like meat, veges, and just the general overflow from the things I can't or won't have in the main fridge. This is also the fridge where vegetables go to die!! Often times I will see veges such as leek or celery at the supermarket and have grand plans for them, but then they are too big for the main fridge so I put them in the backup fridge. Pretty much as soon as they go in there they are forgotten about until one day I check the vege draw and realise there are some lonely, limp looking little specimens that need dealing to pronto. I HATE to waste food, so the only way I can come up with to use these is soup...

So here it is -



Green Soup with Broccoli Croutons 

(gluten free, dairy free, grain free, vegan optional)

Ingredients:

Soup:

1 tbsp coconut oil (or whichever oil you prefer to cook with)
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 medium leek, finely sliced and washed
1 cup peas (I used plain, but minted would be great too)
1/2 cup fresh herbs - optional (whatever you have in the garden or fridge - I used basil and coriander)
1/2 head of celery, chopped into 1-2cm lengths
2 large handfuls of baby spinach (or regular spinach, silverbeet, kale - anything green and leafy)
2 cups stock (I used vegetable but you could use any stock you have on hand or have a preference for)
1 cup water
juice of one lemon or lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Croutons:

1 head broccoli cut into small florets
1 spring onion finely sliced
1 tbsp sesame oil (or olive oil if you don't like the sesame oil taste)
1 tsp sea salt

Directions:

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat then add the garlic, onion and leek. Cook until softened (approx 5 minutes). If it catches on the bottom of the pan, add a little stock or water.
2. Add celery, peas, stock and water and simmer for around 15 minutes or until all vegetables are soft.
3. Add roughly chopped herbs and simmer for another couple of minutes until wilted
4. Remove from heat and add seasoning and lemon juice
5. Using a stick blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency - less if you prefer a few chunks, or go all out if you prefer a smooth blend.

6. While the soup is simmering you can be preparing the broccoli croutons. In a pot bring some water to the boil. Add the broccoli and cook for a couple of minutes until just cooked and still green. In the last few seconds of cooking, add the spring onions just long enough for them to wilt, or you can leave them out of the cooking and just throw them on top of the soup raw. Once the broccoli is cooked drain the water and run under cold water for a couple of minutes to stop the cooking. drizzle with oil and salt.
7. Serve soup in a bowl topped with broccoli and spring onions. If you prefer something a little more creamy, you could add a swirl of coconut milk or cream.

The great thing about this soup is that is so versatile. I used the vegetables that I had in the fridge, but you could add anything (preferably green in keeping with the theme of the soup!). Zucchini would be great in here, kale, silverbeet, lots of different herbs. Play around with the flavours and quantities until you find the combination that works best for you! If you would like to make this a meal and put a protein element into the dish you could add chicken, chickpeas or beans to make it more complete.

Here's to a hearty, healthy winter meal!


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