This Saturday 1st June, marks the official start of winter in Australia!
A common go to meal during winter, for both warmth and comfort is soup! I am personally a big fan of soup because you can add so much goodness and flavour into each pot and I find it’s a healthy option to have on hand for those busier than usual weeks.
However, not all soups are created equal and not all offer a healthy balanced meal. In this weeks newsletter I will be covering what to look out for to ensure your soup is a nourishing meal along with sharing one of my favourite soup recipes.
How to make soup into a nourishing meal
A ‘balanced’ meal is one, which contains a source of carbohydrates (preferably complex), protein, healthy fats and for added health benefits, a decent serve of vegetables.
Some common soup ingredients which fit in each category are:
Carbohydrates: sweet potato, chickpeas/other legumes, rice, quinoa, barley, wholegrain pasta, brown rice or soba noodles, corn and green peas + also consider the bread being served with soup and opt for a wholegrain variety.
Protein: chicken, legumes, tofu, beef, lamb, fish, yoghurt, eggs.
Healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, hemp seed oil, nuts/seeds, avocado – nice sprinkled/drizzled on top.
Vegetables: tomatoes, eggplant, pumpkin, zucchini, celery, kale, spinach, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, onion etc.
Some nutritional extras include: herbs and spices – coriander, parsley, turmeric, paprika, chilli, ginger, garlic and miso paste.
When looking at soup recipe or considering buying a soup, do a mental check of the above to see if the soup has the makings of a balanced meal.
If purchasing an instant soup, things to look out for:
- Protein content – ideally meals should have around 20-30g protein, this is unlikely for pre-made soups. Try serving with 2 x boiled eggs, add some high protein yoghurt or nuts/seeds for a protein boost.
- Added sugars – a little bit of honey is ok to balance the flavours, but if sugar is one of the top 5 ingredients, I would look for a better option.
- Saturated fat – a type of fat to limit in the diet, aim for less than 4-5g per 100g if possible.
- GMO ingredients – avoid where possible.
- Numbered added thickeners and preservatives – limit where possible.
Tomato, Quinoa and Kidney Bean Soup with Harissa
Pre: 10-15 minutes
Cooking: 10-15 minutes
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ cup celery, finely chopped
1L vegetable stock
250g tomatoes, fresh and roughly chopped with skin and seeds
1 x 400g tin organic kidney beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup quinoa
½ cup chopped fresh mint, roughly chopped
½ cup chopped fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 cup baby spinach leaves
¼ cup EV olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. of harissa or chilli
1 small clove garlic, crushed
In a large saucepan sauté the onion, garlic and celery till soft. Add the stock, kidney beans, tomatoes, quinoa, spinach, mint and coriander. Mix thoroughly and simmer for 10-15 minutes. With a food processor or stick blender, blend the soup until smooth, optional.
Place all the harissa dressing ingredients in a large jar and shake well to combine.
Serve the soup with the harissa dressing drizzled on top.
For more healthy recipes, you can purchase a copy of my Falling in Love with Food cookbook HERE.