A Very Green Soup
3 handfuls baby spinach
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp fresh ginger, sliced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp wasabi powder (optional)
1 cup hot vegetable broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
Pinch of salt
Black pepper to taste
Squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice
This soup is semi-raw; it is not really cooked, you are just pouring boiling water on top and whizzing it up so all of the green goodness is retained. The flavours are strong and there is a potent mix of gut-loving and immune-boosting nutrients. The ginger and fennel will help to soothe an upset tummy (for example, if you have been out late or have eaten too much).
All the lovely spices, the turmeric, cayenne, wasabi and the garlic reduce inflammation and encourage circulation, so will help get the blood going, keeping you a bit warmer. Plus, garlic will help to fight off invading bugs.
And then there is the green part of this very green soup – spinach, which is high in vitamin C, iron, B vitamins, vitamin A, magnesium, lutein… the list goes on. Basically this little green leaf is pretty incredible for the whole body.
Place all ingredients into a blender and whizz up until smooth.
Slow Cooked Hearty Chicken Soup
4 chicken breasts
4 cloves of garlic
2 cans of cannellini beans
1 litre of chicken stock
We all know chicken soup is great in the cold weather and some studies even suggest that the minerals found in chicken stock helps the body stave off the flu. This soup is like a multivitamin; each ingredient is full of goodies that will help keep you healthy.
Firstly, it is packed with phytonutrients. The parsley helps boost energy, the thyme is antimicrobial, and the onions and garlic are great for the immune and the gut. Kale has too many minerals and vitamins to name, but one is magnesium, which aids relaxation (something we all needed at this time of year). The lovely leeks are a super prebiotic and will help your gut colony stay healthy.
Then there is the protein element; chicken is a lean meat protein and cannellini beans are a brilliant vegetable protein, making this is ideal post-workout as it will help to rebuild muscle.
And lastly, because it’s slow-cooked, you put it on before you leave in the morning, and come home after a long day to a mouth-watering aroma and a nutritious supper ready and waiting.
Place all ingredients apart from kale and parsley in a slow cooker and cook on low for five to seven hours. Stir through kale and parsley and let it wilt before serving.
Butternut Squash, Lentil and Rosemary
1 butternut squash, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
150g red lentils, washed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove
1 litre vegetable stock
Pinch of salt
Black pepper to taste
A few rosemary sprigs, plus extra to garnish
This soup is a great all rounder; squash is abundant in beta carotene, which is wonderful for helping your skin glow and is also great for your eyesight. Rosemary (the herb, not me!) is well known for supporting memory and concentration – it is pretty full on at this time of year, so a little help focusing is always welcome. There is also a good amount of vitamin C to keep the immune system in tip top condition. The garlic, as well as the rosemary, are antibacterial and antimicrobial (herbs are wonderful natural fighters). It’s also full of fibre to keep digestive transit moving at a healthy rate, plus, it will keep you feeling fuller for longer, so there will be less need for snacking.
Start by frying off the onion and garlic. Add the squash and lentils and stir through. Next add the stock, rosemary and salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes. Use a hand blender to whizz the soup until smooth.