Many of us are familiar with the advice that we should eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. In the cold winter months however, I really sometimes crave comfort foods and it can be hard to stick to healthy eating. I have recently rediscovered the perfect Winter Warmer – soup! I have been making my own to ensure they are packed full of vegetables and don’t contain unwanted calories from butter, cream or cheese. 2 of my favourite recipes are Jamie Oliver’s Asparagus soup (with or without the poached egg) and Beetroot soup. I add a few tablespoons of half fat crème fraiche before serving and it gives the soup a rich, silky texture just like cream. I confess I don’t have the patience to use authentic stock and use Knorr stock cubes or pots and boiling water and don’t add any additional salt to the soup. I enhance the flavour using dried herbs like basil and oregano. Still tastes great!
Once I have the base of my soup (celery, leeks, onion, garlic and stock), I find almost any vegetable works. I’ve added broccoli florets to the base stock, simmered until soft and then added spinach leaves and allowed to wilt before liquidising the soup. I’ve used fresh tomatoes to the base stock and liquidised once soft. I’ve then poured the soup back into a saucepan and added wholemeal pasta, finely diced carrots, peas and a finely chopped chilli and simmered until the pasta and vegetables are soft. I now have a spicy minestrone and 1 or 2 bowls is almost my 5 a Day and a complete meal if served with some warmed Granary French stick!
These soups are low in fat and calories and are a good lunch option if I’m going to eat out in the evening or I’ve been indulging and need to cut back without compromising on taste! Nutritious, delicious and filling Winter comfort food!