I received the greatest gift on a cold rainy day. A client made soup, and brought it to me at work. Soup. Pure vegetables. No grains. No noodles. No rice. Just greens. A pure bowl of nourishment. We forget, in these cold days of winter, how to make fast, easy, healthy dinners that can be made ahead of time, or while you’re tending to other chores in the house.
The soup creation can begin as simple as a broth (chicken or beef), vegetables and a protein source (chicken, fish, beef or pork). Add spices and a green salad, and there is your easy I-can’t-bear-to-cook at the end of the day meal.
Eating soup is an easy way to add in healthy vegetables to your meals. Think about how simple it is: add spinach, kale, or collard greens at the end of cooking, and you’ll boost the soups vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content, which in turn will help your body ward off a winter cold or flu. With really wise choices in your soup, you can also lower your risk of cancer and heart disease. Stuffed up? Add spicy jalapenos or extra garlic. Need an immune boost? Add grated ginger.
By creating your own soup, you are in control of your own health and you have the power to steer clear of additives, chemicals, preservatives and dyes, and nourish yourself with a bowl of “health”.
Today we’ll review how to make your own soup. You don’t need to be a chef to create a fabulous soup! Just follow the steps below, and even those who are “kitchen-challenged” will impress your friends and loved ones.
Here’s all you with need: About a pound of vegetables (fill a full cutting board with fresh cut vegetables; that’s about a pound.) Then choose your favorite broth, olive oil, a handful of peeled and cut garlic, salt, pepper and spices to taste. That’s all you need. But none – not one of your vegetables can come from a can. Frozen, yes. Canned, no.
Any vegetable will do: celery, carrots, mushrooms, onions, turnips, squash, sweet potato, leeks, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower or beets and any leafy green.
Saute the vegetables in olive oil and garlic in a large pan, on low heat, and let the veggies cook really well. Hold off on adding any leafy greens until the very end. After the vegetables have softened, add about 4-5 cups of broth, and if you have it, a little wine. If you have leftover chicken, pork, or beef, dice in small cubes and add to the soup.
Cover and simmer for about an hour or so. If you have kale, spinach, swiss chard or any other leafy vegetable, add into the pot during the last ten minutes, as it needs no time at all to cook. By then your simmer is almost a slow boil. Add salt, pepper and seasonings to taste. Add hot peppers if you crave spicy or olives if you want salty. Voila. Dinner.
For the vegetarians reading this, skip the meats, and after you’ve cooked the veggies, puree the contents of the entire pan in a food processor or blender, and you have an easy creamy soup.
The ideas are endless. For example, if you have leftover brown rice, add to the soup. Virtually any leftover food dish can be reasonably added to your soup recipe. Use whatever you have around. The bigger the batch, the more vegetables required. What’s sitting around in your freezer?
If you could make the perfect soup, what would you include in your recipe?
In good health, my friends.