I am really proud of this soup recipe - it is Ayurvedic and super delicious! It was inspired by the abundance of winter vegetables and spices like cumin, nutmeg and turmeric. Turmeric is a natural antibiotic, it strengthens digestion, promotes proper metabolism and helps improve intestinal flora. Nutmeg is one of the best spices for increasing absorption and calming the mind. It can help with insomnia, nervous disorders, gas and abdominal pain. Cumin is a great digestive spice and helps flush toxins out of the body. I have also added nigella and mustard seeds. Nigella seeds, or black cumin, are great for relieving congestion and coughs, treating conditions such as arthritis and inflammation - great for this time of year! Mustard seeds are used a lot in Indian cooking. I use them in most of my dishes, they are considered to be great for alleviating digestive problems such as gas or cramps. Overall, this soup is not only delicious but is also healing and nutritious. Both, me and my son had to have a second helping of it! I topped our bowls with home baked kale chips and sprouted beans for some crunch. You might like to have a slice of warm crusty bread with it too!
BEST WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP
- 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 tsp cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp nigella Seeds (black cumin)
- 2 inch piece of fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp red chilli
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 medium leek, chopped
- A selection of winter vegetables such as pumpkin, squash, carrots, beets, etc., roughly chopped. I used 1 medium winter squash + 4 medium carrots.
- A bunch of chard, roughly chopped
- 1 cup of red lentils, rinsed in at least three changes of water
- 1 litre vegetables stock
- salt to taste
1. Add the oil to a large pot (I used cast iron pot) and heat it up on medium heat.
2. When the oil is hot add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and nigella seeds.
3. When the seeds begin to pop (a couple of minutes), add grated ginger and stir quickly. Add turmeric powder, nutmeg and chilli powder.
4. Stir well and add chopped leeks and crushed garlic. Stir again and add 1/4 cup of water. Bring everything to a simmering point and close lid. Allow to simmer/steam for a few minutes until the leeks are soft.
5. Add the rest of vegetables and another 1/4 or so of water, stir well and close lid again for 5-10 minutes until the vegetables soften a little.
6. Add red lentils and vegetables stock and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer, close lid and cook for 20-30 minutes until the lentils and vegetables are completely soft.
7. Blitz everything with a hand held blender to consistency of your liking. Add more boiled water if needed.
8. Check and season with salt.
9. Top with Crispy Kale Chips and Enjoy!
CRISPY KALE CHIPS + BAKED SPROUTED BEANS
- 1 bunch of kale leaves, stems removed
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt
1. Preheat an oven to 175 degrees C. Line a large oven tray with parchment paper.
2. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the kale leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with oil and sprinkle with salt.
4. Arrange kale on the baking tray and add sprouted beans if using.
3. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Check and stir half way through.
5. Once ready, enjoy on their own or added to soups and stews.