Do you have new year’s resolutions? Well, my hubby’s is to learn German (which is a very good resolution), I want to become a better baker in 2014, and chances are, you plan to eat healthier or make more home-cooked stuff instead of takeaways – in which case you have come to the right place!
Actually, the title is a little bit confusing – the soup we’re dealing with here is far from a tasteless broth fasting. In fact, it is a warming, hearty, thick, stew-like soup, which is very comforting on cold winter days (as they are now in the Northern Hemisphere), and at the same time, it is the perfect light soup to give your digestive system a break, reset your taste buds and gain back the energy you lost in a holiday-carbohydrate-induced stupor (and maybe lose a couple of pounds, too!).
The good thing is, my magical soup doesn’t taste like anything that resembles the words “diet” or “detox”, but it is pure goodness in a bowl, consisting of nothing but fresh vegetables, water, a dash of olive oil, lemon juice, and a few spices. There is no stock powder, no MSG, no unhealthy fats, no sugar whatsoever, and only minimal amounts of coarse sea salt.
It really is the easiest thing to do – just shovel all ingredients in a stock pot and simmer for 45 minutes. It is the ideal way to make use of any leftover veggies that are withering in your fridge. No excuse to throw away any food anymore! (I hate wasting food.) It is a very inexpensive pleasure, too (if you buy your veggies from the market). And you can adjust the flavour to your liking – use any veggies you like (or which need to go), use herbs and spices (I love spicy food, so I use liberal amounts of chili powder – very good for your metabolism -, paprika, black and red pepper, ginger, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, you name it). You can use curry powder and a dash of coconut milk for an exotic flavour. Or you can just keep it basic with s+p, garlic, chives, and parsley. Or make it Mediterranean style with crushed tomatoes, basil, and oregano (and a bit of shredded Parmesan). The options are endless.
In taste and texture, this soup resembles a classic pea and ham soup – only far, far healthier! So, chances are, your family will love it too! I sometimes add a bit of protein such as marinated tofu or tempeh. It’s all yours to make this your personal detox soup.
1 kg fresh vegetables (e.g. leeks, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, parsnips, turnips, peas, green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, celeriac, pumpkin, capsicum, squash…)
water to cover
herbs and spices (salt, pepper, paprika, chili, ginger, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, basil, chives…)
extra virgin olive oil to taste
lemon juice to taste
any add-ons to serve (e.g. tofu, tempeh…)
Rinse, drain, and chop the veggies into 1-inch pieces. Place on the bottom of a heavy stock pot and cover with enough water. Bring to the boil, add herbs, spices, EVOO, and lemon juice, and simmer uncovered for 45-55 minutes. Take off the heat and purée with a stick blender. Serve by itself or with a protein add-on and fresh parsley.