Vegetable soups are rich in nutrients and flavorful; they warm the body and comfort the soul. With many homemade vegetable soup recipes and a wide variety of ingredients, you are sure to find choices that your entire family will love. Some vegetable soups also contain meat and beans or even fruit. Described below are two true classics.
Pea and mint vegetable soup
- Knob of butter or 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 fat shallots, chopped
- 1 stem celery, finely chopped
- 600ml vegetable or chicken stock
- 400g fresh peas (1kg in pods)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 x 20g pack mint, leaves only, roughly chopped
- 4 tbsp crème fraîche, or low-fat yogurt.
Melt the butter with oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and celery, season, cover and sweat very gently, for 15 minutes or until completely soft. Add the stock and bring to a gentle simmer, then add the peas and simmer for 10 minutes until the peas are soft. Remove from the heat, add the chopped mint, and purée in a blender. Push through a sieve if you want a very smooth finish. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve in small bowls, hot or chilled, garnished with a swirl of cream or yogurt, a sprig of mint and lots of black pepper, accompanied by a few curls of melba toast.
Potato and carrot vegetable soup
Dice a ¼ cup of each of the following: potatoes, carrots, chopped cabbage and turnips. Finely chop an onion. Add the diced ingredients to a big stock pot with 2 cups of water, a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. While it is cooking, sauté the onion in butter and then add it to pot. Add a can of diced tomatoes (14 oz) to the mixture and a can of chicken broth (14 oz). Finally add your favorite spices and herbs for a more flavorful and robust vegetable soup. Examples include thyme or Creole flavorings. Once the soup base is boiling, let simmer for 30 minutes. Serve hot.
All those veggie benefits
Vegetables are generally considered good for your diet. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Some veggies, such as root vegetables are also high in carbohydrates. A few have small amounts of protein too. The vitamin and nutrient values depends on the vegetables in the soup. For example, orange vegetables, such as carrots and pumpkins, tend to be high in beta-carotene, which gives them their color. Research shows that people who eat a diet rich in beta-carotene are less likely to develop certain cancers than those who do not.
According to the the United States Department of Agriculture, a man needs about 3 cups of vegetables per day, and a woman about 2.5 cups. Vegetable soup can be an excellent way of getting your recommended daily allowance. Remember that you also need to eat from the other food groups, namely grains, proteins, dairy and oils.
How do I make it healthier?
You can make cream-based vegetable soups healthier by using low fat dairy such as skim milk or by substituting heavy cream for crème fraiche. If the recipe calls for a hard cheese, instead use something with less fat like a low-fat ricotta.
When cooking, you can replace any butter with canola. Use 14 tbsp. of canola oil in place of each cup of butter when cooking on the stove.
Add rice or noodles to your vegetable soups for more carbohydrates and to keep you full for longer.
A good vegetable soup is an excellent and nutritious meal, satisfying all the basic food groups. These soups can be adjusted with a variety of ingredients to work perfectly for any season.