Smoothies are quick and easy and can offer us a meal to go packed with nutrients. But downing a frozen smoothie can be challenging in the cold of winter. Well, for me, at least! I much prefer a steaming bowl or cup of hearty homemade soup. It is soul food.
There is a feel-good factor about making soup. Chopping, stirring, tasting, seasoning. It's an opportunity to get lost in your thoughts, allowing your mind to drift and enjoy the aroma from the pot of soup on the stovetop. Soup is also great for the family budget, based on affordable ingredients such as seasonal vegetables, legumes and dried beans. Soup is excellent for batch cooking and freezing. A relaxed afternoon of making soup can give you a week or two of lunches.
The word soup derives from the Latin word 'suppa', referring to bread soaked in broth. In proto-Germanic language, it was known as 'sup', meaning 'to make liquid.' In the 1600s, the French coined 'soupe'. Soup underwent its own revolution through the eras. The ruffled high neck fashion of the 14th century made it almost impossible to lift a bowl to one's lips, so they created a soup spoon as we use today. During the 1700s in France, street vendors sold soup for its healing properties. These were known as 'restoratif'. Soup then became a restaurant experience with clear soups, bouillons and consommés, and thicker soups became purées, bisques and veloutés. In 1897 a chemist at the Campbell Soup Company, Dr John T. Dorrance, invented its famous condensed soup. The famous red and white cans became iconic in the Pop Art movement by Andy Warhol.
The great thing about soup is that it can be shared among friends over dinner, or you can be wrapped in a blanket on your sofa and sip or spoon it from a mug. Here are three soup recipes that can be enjoyed both ways and offer great support for your immune system. I hope you enjoy them.
Vegetable Curry Soup
What you need
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, peeled, grated
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 1⁄2 tbsp. ginger, minced
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 tbsp. curry powder
2 cups (500ml) chicken or vegetable broth
1 tomato, chopped
1⁄3 cup (80ml) coconut cream (can be substituted with dairy cream)
Extra curry powder to add for your taste buds
What to do
1. In a large pot, heat oil and sauté the onion. Add the minced ginger and garlic, continue sautéing for 2-3 more minutes. Stirring frequently.
2. Next, add the peeled and grated carrot and sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped peppers and zucchini. Cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes, season with curry powder to taste and mix well.
3. Next, pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook covered for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Season with salt, if you like.
4. Once vegetables are cooked, take off from the heat. Allow to cool for several moments, then blend using a hand blender. Stir through the cream and serve.
Immunity Support Chicken Broth
What you need
4 garlic cloves
12cm ginger finger
11⁄2 tsp. ground turmeric
4 stalks of celery
2 stalks lemongrass
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tbsp. peanut oil
1 free-range chicken
3 litres of tap water
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
What to do
Halve the onion and heat a dry non-stick frying pan. Cook the onion, cut side down for 8 minutes on medium heat (the bottom of the onion may become browned).
Meanwhile, chop the leeks, carrots, celery, and lemongrass into 3cm pieces. Crush the peppercorns with a spoon and peel the ginger and cut into slices.
Heat the oil in a large soup pot and fry the ground turmeric 30 seconds. Place the chicken in the pot and pour in the water, then bring to the boil. Scoop off any foam with a spoon.
Next, add in all the vegetables, pepper, thyme, bay leaves and half of the lemongrass, and half of the ginger and gently simmer for 2 hours on low heat. Scrape off any foam with a spoon.
Take the chicken out of the broth and set aside and strain the broth. Allow the broth to cool to room temperature, and then place in the refrigerator so that the fat solidifies, and you can scoop it out with a spoon.
In the meantime, remove the skin and meat from the chicken so that you can use it in other dishes, like pasta, salads or stews.
Put the pot with the broth back on the heat. At this point add the rest of the ginger and lemongrass and let it simmer for 45 minutes on low heat.
Remove the ginger and lemongrass, before serving or allow to cool to room temperature and freeze.
Chunky Chickpea & Spinach Soup
What you need
400g spinach, fresh
2 cups (400g) lentils, can, drained & rinsed (or you can cook your own)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. tahini
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 1⁄2 cup (300g) chickpeas, can, drained
1⁄2 cup (15g) parsley, chopped
1⁄2 cup (15g) basil, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 cups (500ml) vegetable stock
What to do
Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the spinach with a splash of water and cook until wilted. Remove from pan into a bowl and allow to cool.
Using the same large pot, heat the coconut oil and cook the onion until transparent add the garlic and stir for a minute or two until it is soft.
Add the cumin and coriander powder and mix well, stir the spices through the onion for another 2 minutes.
Next, add the lentils and pour in the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes covered.
Put the spinach together with the parsley and basil in a high-speed blender or food processor and mix until smooth. Stir in the tahini and season with salt and pepper.
Add the spinach mixture and chickpeas to the lentils and warm through to serve.
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