Well it’s official – summer is finally over and the cooler weather is here to stay. This means different things to different people. For my husband and kids this means AFL footy – watching games all weekend long and endlessly checking their positions in various tipping competitions, while for me this means it’s time for soup! Although I’m not a huge fan of cold weather (or of AFL footy!), I can certainly get very excited about a big bowl of warm, nourishing soup on a chilly autumnal evening.
Soup really is the ultimate sustainable meal. Making soup is a great way of using up those sad looking veggies you were considering throwing out. It’s also inexpensive and it lends itself beautifully to batch cooking, so that you always have a meal ready and waiting for you in the freezer on nights when you don’t have the time or inclination to cook.
Nutritionally speaking, soup can provide a perfectly balanced meal with vegetables, protein and healthy carbs all in the one bowl. Soups are also generally quite low in kilojoules but at the same time very filling – perfect for those wishing to avoid the dreaded winter weight gain. To top it all off, making soup means very little mess, as you generally only need a knife, a chopping board and a large pot. Minimal clean up – gotta love it!
“What about the kids?” I hear you say. Well for those with fussy eaters (like mine!), I find if give them a sweetener by serving the soup with some home-made garlic bread, croutons or a sprinkling of grated cheese, they are much less likely to kick up a fuss.
Below are my 5 favourite soup recipes that will definitely be doing the rounds in my kitchen over the next few months as the temperature continues to plummet.
This is the ultimate one-pot meal with loads of veggies and protein-packed beans. Throw in some cooked pasta or serve with home-made garlic bread for a complete meal. Check out the Healthy Chef Teresa Cutter’s simple and delicious recipe here: http://www.thehealthychef.com/2013/07/minestrone/
Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup
Roasting the vegetables first makes this soup super easy to make and really intensifies the flavour. This soup doesn’t contain protein but you could serve it with organic or free range eggs/chicken/meat for a complete meal. Check out the recipe here: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/plant-based-recipes/roasted-winter-vegetable-soup/
The kids absolutely love this served with matzah balls, which are super easy to make from matzah meal found in the kosher section of the supermarket. You’ll find a recipe for chicken soup here: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/2458/chicken+soup and for the matzah balls here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fluffy-Matzah-Balls-108012
This soup is really easy to make. You could serve it with some edamame beans and store-bought sushi for a complete meal. I follow this recipe: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/miso-soup-recipe.html
Of course no collection of winter soups would be complete without a lentil soup recipe. Brimming with vegetables and protein from the lentils it is the ultimate winter warmer. There are endless varieties – spicy or plain, chunky or smooth – it’s up to you. I love this recipe for an Mediterranean- style lentil soup: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/27177/lifesaving+lentil+soup
I hope the recipes above will in some way help to ward off the winter blues. While saying farewell to the warmer weather can be a little sad, try to look on the bright side – at least we get to eat soup!