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Simple seasonal soups for winter


Nothing beats a bowl of warm homemade soup to bring comfort during the cooler weather.

Winter offers a great choice of vegetables that can be easily turned into nutritious, filling and flavour-packed soups.

In New Zealand we are lucky to have access to a great selection of fresh, affordable vegetables. Ask family and friends to share their favourite winter soup recipes for you. Double the quantity when you’re making a soup and you can keep the extra portions in the fridge for later in the week. Or, even better, arrange to swap half the soup you make with a friend or family who is using a different recipe. It’s a great way of trying out different soups.

Here are five winter vegetables that can be turned into scrumptious soups.

Kumara

Kumara is a versatile vegetable that comes in three varieties: gold, orange and red. All contain dietary fibre and other nutrients essential for health. When pureed, kumara makes a delightful soup. Its silky smooth texture and natural rich sweetness can be enhanced by adding orange zest, or spices like ginger or nutmeg.

For a warming creamy soup, gently heat oil in a saucepan and add a chopped onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes. Add a pinch of chilli flakes and a pinch of ground ginger, cook for a minute before adding peeled and chopped kumara. Add enough stock or water to cover the vegetables and simmer until the kumara has softened. Remove from heat and puree with a stick blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This soup makes a super workday lunch or every day dinner.

Carrots

Great for snacking, roasting and braising, carrots also make excellent soup. Transport your taste buds to Morocco with this recipe that will warm you from head to toe.

In a saucepan, gently sauté a chopped onion in olive oil. Mix in washed and chopped carrots, add vegetable stock and gently simmer until carrot is cooked. Remove from heat and puree soup. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of honey, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a couple of pinches of ground allspice. Serve in bowls with a dollop of low-fat yoghurt to finish.

Parsnips


These delicious winter root vegetables have a sweet pungency with a slight nutty flavour. Roasting brings out the best in a parsnip as the natural sugars intensify giving it an earthy, caramelised note. Here is a wonderfully aromatic soup to warm the soul.

Wash and roughly chop parsnips before placing on a roasting tray. Drizzle over olive oil and toss to coat and roast in a hot oven until golden and brown. In a pot, heat olive oil and sauté a chopped onion and 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary. Add the roasted, caramelised parsnip and cover with vegetable stock and milk. Simmer for a few minutes. Blend until smooth and season to your liking.

Broccoli

Broccoli is bursting with a range of nutrients that are good for us including Vitamins C, B6 and E. Because the entire vegetable can be eaten, broccoli offers different tastes and textures from the florets to the crunchy stem and stalk. For a nutrient-dense soup, try this combination.

In a saucepan, gently sauté sliced garlic, sliced ginger and half a teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground turmeric. Add a splash of water and cook for a minute. Add roughly chopped courgettes and coat with the spices. Add 400ml of stock and leave to simmer for three minutes. Add a couple of handfuls of chopped broccoli and kale, along with the juice of a lime. Leave to simmer until the vegetables are soft. Before blending, add fresh parsley. Pulse until you have a rich green soup with flecks of green kale. Serve with a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley.

Cauliflower

A good source of vitamin C, cauliflower is a trusty winter staple vegetable. While the humble cauli is popular as rice or ‘steaks’, it is also great in soup as it can take a number of spices and flavours. If you are short on time (and ingredients), try this quick-fire cauliflower soup.

Remove leaves and rinse and cut cauliflower head into florets. Place cauliflower into a saucepan with four cups of water and salt. Cover pot with lid and simmer until cauliflower is soft and tender. Remove florets from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in a blender. Carefully pour in some of the cooking water, cover and blend until smooth. Season and top with a drizzle of olive oil, a thin slice of parmesan or za'atar.

For more tips and recipes go to www.5aday.co.nz .

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