Comfort, convenience, cost, calories
Nadia Lim lists the reasons why soup should be on everyone’s menu more often.
There aren’t any meals cheaper and easier to make than soup — just boil or roast in-season vegetables, then blend everything up. When it comes to the nutrition side, they score very well too. Soups are one of the best ways to get vegetables and fibre into kids and other fussy eaters. And for those conscious of their waistline, soups are comfort food without the calories. Because of their high liquid/ water content, soups fill you up without providing too many calories. If you are watching your weight, having a vegetable soup entree before dinner is a great way to avoid over-eating at the main event.
Throughout winter I will often make up a big pot of soup, then freeze individual portions of it in zip-lock bags. These make the perfect healthy, convenient winter lunch to take to work. A small mug of homemade soup makes a great healthy instant snack too (there’s no need to buy the processed over-salty instant soup sachets). Here are two soups, full of nutritious ingredients like vegetables and chickpeas, that will satisfy and keep you nourished.
Roast cauliflower soup with chorizo, parsley, almonds and watercress
1 head cauliflower (about 1.1-1.2 kg), broken into florets
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
½ tsp chili flakes (optional)
1 Tbsp butter
3 shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chopped thyme leaves
2 cups chicken stock
2¼ cups milk
200g chorizo, diced
⅓ cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped
⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1-2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
Squeeze of lemon juice
Handful watercress leaves, to garnish (optional)
- Heat oven to 220C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
- Toss cauliflower with olive oil, honey and chili flakes in prepared oven tray and season well with salt and pepper. Roast until just golden and tender, about 15 minutes.
- Heat butter in a medium frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add thyme leaves, chicken stock and milk and bring to a simmer.
- Add roasted cauliflower and blend with a hand blender until smooth. Alternatively, transfer everything to a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Heat a small drizzle of oil in a fry pan and cook chorizo for about 2 minutes until some of the fat has rendered out and it is starting to go crispy.
- Combine almonds, parsley, lemon zest and extra-virgin olive oil with a pinch of sea salt.
- Divide soup between bowls and scatter over chorizo and almond parsley mixture. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over the soup and garnish with watercress if using.
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1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 cup coriander, leaves picked, stalks chopped
2 Tbsp harissa paste
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp chopped thyme leaves
1 x 400g can chopped or crushed tomatoes
1 tsp liquid honey
½ cup dried puy lentils, rinsed
4 cups chicken stock
1 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup chopped coriander
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2-3 Tbsp natural unsweetened yoghurt
- Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pot over medium heat Cook onion, carrots, celery, garlic, ginger and coriander stalks until soft, about 6 minutes.
- Add harissa, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add thyme, canned tomatoes, honey, lentils and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 25 minutes, then add chickpeas and continue simmering for a further 10-15 minutes or until lentils are cooked through (tender, but still firm to the bite).
- Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with coriander, parsley and natural yoghurt.