Early on in my quest for better health, I discovered the wonder that are soups.
Soups are win win for me as they are easy to make, can be made in big batches so you always have some to hand, and are exceptionally nutrition dense.
I always start my soups the same way, it doesn’t matter what vegetables I am using. I always start with the same base and use whatever seasonal vegetables I have around. This works for me for many reasons, I know I can make a health lunch or brunch in under 30 minutes, and I like experimenting with different flavour combinations.
For any soup you will need an onion and a vegan or vegetarian stock cube. Yes, it really is that simple. At its most basic, this is all that soup needs. If I have it, I will add in celery or leeks, sometimes both, depending on my desired flavour outcome.
You can build up your broth by adding herbs and spices. The herbs and spices I play around with most are:
Italian flavours – oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, paprika.
Indian – turmeric, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon. fenugreek.
Caribbean – chilli powder, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg.
Spanish – paprika, smoked paprika, chilli, garlic, lemon,.
You can take pretty much the same vegetables and add these different combinations to make 4 different types of soups.
Don’t be shy at using frozen vegetables, they are a nutritious and thrifty way to bulk up a soup. Frozen spinach is my star ingredient as its compact in the freezer, but expands when cooked, also adding in essential B vitamins. I am also a big fan of frozen onion and leeks, saves all that chopping!
Earthy root veg give a robust flavour, so be wary of combining too many at once, you might like to pick just one and add in leafy greens or peppers.
Roasting veg before adding to a soup base is an ideal way to add in texture, flavour and richness. Roasted tomatoes are a must!
Tinned beans and lentils give your soup a thickness and top up the nutritional value. Add in about 10 minutes before the end of cooking if suing tinned, and make sure they rinsed well. This is the same with pasta or rice, they provide some complex carbs, and bulk out a soup too.
Blending soups are another way to vary a soup, try it chunky when cooked and blended the second day. Blended soups are easily portable too, and tend not to burn your mouth as would a piece of veg hurtling towards your mouth.
Experiment, have fun, play around and enjoy!
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