Thank goodness for this meal, it's been a life saver in my family lately. It takes about 20 minutes to make, meets kid approval and is nutritious - Hooray!!
It also requires minimal ingredients and nothing fancy or hard to find. I like to make a big batch because I'm a big fan of left overs, but adjust the quantities as you see fit.
Ingredients: 2-3 stalks of leek - sliced lengthwise, rinsed of grit and chopped finely. Olive oil 1 head of broccoli and stalk chopped 2-3 large zuchini roughly chopped stock/water salt and pepper to taste. optional - toasted tamari pumpkin seeds or parmesan to garnish.
Method: Sauté the leek in some olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until they become translucent (keeping a lid on and stirring occasionally helps to sweat them a little). Add the broccoli, zucchini and black pepper and stir for another minute or so.
Add water and a stock cube or home made stock to cover the veggies, pop on a lid and bring to the boil (If you are really in a hurry, you can use just boiled water instead of cold water/stock). Reduce heat and simmer if the veggies are still crunchy, otherwise turn the heat off and use a stick blender to blend.
This makes a wonderful and somewhat magical creamy tasting soup. Adjust seasonings as you see fit - wholegrain mustard makes a delicious addition! Garnish with toasted tamari pumpkin seeds (they call themselves pepitas when they're feeling fancy), parmesan or yoghurt.
To make toasted tamari nuts of any description, simply dry roast your nuts or seeds in a pan till they start to pop. Different sized nuts and seeds will cook at different rates so its best to toast them separately. When the nuts or seeds are toasted, transfer them to a separate non-porous bowl and add 2-3tsp of tamari per cup of nuts/seeds.
I must confess that I'm generally not a huge fan of reducing the benefits of a food to their individual constituents. This is partly because nutrition is an ever evolving science, and what may be stated with unequivocal breathless enthusiasm today may be thoroughly discounted next year. But it is also because the benefits of good food are caused by much more than simply the sum of its parts. Provide your body with a wide variety of coloured fruits and vegetables on a daily basis and you will be doing yourself the greatest favour.
For those that love a good nutritional breakdown however, this is for you.
BROCCOLI is a powerhouse vegetable that is a good source of: - Bone building Calcium, Vitamin B9 (folate), Beta carotene (precursor to Vitamin A) and Vitamin K - Antioxidant rich Vitamins E & C (which is leached into the cooking water but doesn't matter when making soup) - Energy producing Complex B vitamins including vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and B6 (pyridoxine) - Blood sugar regulating dietary fibre and chromium
Broccoli is a member of the brassica (cabbage) family. Along with other brassicas, broccoli is particularly useful for detoxifying the body by up regulating phase 2 liver enzymes thereby facilitating the excretion of metabolic waste and excess environmental hormones. Compounds known as glucosinolates, specifically indole-3-carbinol and sulphoraphane have been shown to increase the excretion of the form of oestrogen (2-hydroxyestrone) linked to breast cancer.
LEEKS are also a good source of dietary fibre, vitamins B6 & B9, C and the minerals manganese and iron. It is presumed that although leeks are less dense than garlic and onions, that they also provide similar beneficial effects such as cholesterol lowering activity, and immune enhancement.
ZUCHINI is approximately 80% water with fair amounts of vitamin C, carotenoids, potassium and fibre.
PUMPKIN SEEDS are mineral rich, providing a useful dietary source of magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorous and copper. They are also a good source of vitamins A, B1(thiamine), B2, B3, protein and vegetable omega 3 fatty acids (alpha linoleic acid).
So, the next time you are wondering what on earth you'll scrounge up for dinner, I hope you remember this soup, and enjoy it as much as I do.