Sunday, 8 June 2014

Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup

A hearty winter soup that warms you from the inside out - nourishing body and soul! In the winter it is only natural that we crave winter foods that have natural sweetness and provide fantastic nutrition.

When you think about it, if you visualise a cold salad on a cold winters day, it doesn't evoke feelings of warmth and comfort does it? Yet a steaming bowl of soup makes you feel just that little bit more toasty just thinking about it. It's a great idea to start thinking about eating seasonally - even if you can't bring yourself to eat the particular produce that is in season (maybe you have particular faves, or your kids will only eat tomatoes no matter what time of year!), but if you can get in the habit of eating seasonal types of food your body will thank you for it. Fresh salads, crunchy raw veges, even chilled meat meals in the summer; and hearty soups, nourishing porridges, tender casseroles and yummy treats like apple crumble for sweet treats in the winter.

I've kept the ingredient list on this soup fairly simple, but please feel free to experiment with your own choice of vegetables to suit either what is in the fridge or the flavours you prefer.

Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 leek, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
Leaves from one head of celery, or 6 large celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh or dried thyme
2 tbsp fresh parsley
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup broccoli
2 bay leaves
1 tin tomatoes
4 cups stock (your choice - chicken or vegetable)
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp coconut milk or cream and a few leaves of fresh coriander or parsley to garnish

1. Heat oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add leek and garlic. Cook until soft and aromatic
2. Add carrots, parsnips, celery, bay leaves, tomatoes, stock, water, tomato paste, thyme, and parsley
3. Simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables are soft
4. Add broccoli, salt, and pepper, and simmer for another 10 minutes. 
5. Remove from heat, puree soup either with a stick blender or in a blender
6. Garnish with coconut milk and coriander or parsley

Options: You can totally experiment with vegetables here - kumara, pumpkin, potato, cauliflower, spinach, silverbeet etc would all work. Just have a play around!