It’s Monday again; back to work, back on the diet. At least there’s Meatless Monday recipes to look forward to! This one is a soup. I’m beginning to realize that when we are dieting, we eat a lot of soup; and since we’re pretty much always dieting, we are pretty much always eating soup. Strange.
I think maybe I should explain our dieting philosophy so that you all don’t start playing your little violins for us poor, deprived foodies constantly denying ourselves for the benefit of our waistlines. We diet Monday through Friday. Well, let’s be honest, we diet Monday through Friday afternoon. Friday evening through Sunday we usually have things going on which make it either difficult or downright unpleasant to constrain ourselves by calorie counting, so we usually give ourselves a little leeway. Unfortunately, this means that any losses we make during the week are usually made moot by the weekend indulgences, meaning we start all over again on Monday no better off than we were the previous week. If we were trying to maintain our weight, this would be an excellent system, but as we would actually like to become gradually smaller over time it probably needs a little tweaking.
Anyway, back to the soup. So it was Monday. Dinner needed to be 1) low calorie; 2) satisfying; and 3) meatless. At the supermarket the previous weekend I had seen the first turnips of the year and couldn’t resist picking up a few of them. I also had a sweet potato which had been meant for sweet potato fries over the weekend, but had never been used and a humongous bag of carrots always at the ready in the fridge. Garlic, ginger and chilli being pretty much always on hand meant that with the addition of a few spices and a vegetable stock cube we were ready to rock.
Soup is soup and this one follows the norms as far as process and procedure. At the end I threw in a whole bag of baby spinach for some color and because it’s darn good for you. The end result was full of flavor and each of the vegetables were cooked through but had completely different textures which made it interesting to eat. It was filling and satisfying and got a five-star rating from my husband which makes it a winner in my book. Obviously you can use whatever you have laying around: white potatoes, rutabaga (swede), squash, zucchini (courgette), eggplant (aubergine). You could probably make a million different versions of this soup with different mixtures of vegetables which is the great thing about cooking − even when you mess something up, or use the wrong ingredient or thought you had something that you don’t, it’ll probably still turn out alright. It’s all about improvisation and I love it!
Bon appetit (without the meat)!
1 Sweet Potato, large, peeled and diced into 1″ chunks
5 Turnips, peeled and diced into 1″ chunks
5 Carrots, medium, peeled and diced into 1″ chunks
1 Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
A thumb of Ginger, peeled and minced
3 cloves Garlic, minced or sliced depending on your preference
1 Red Chilli, with or without the seeds, minced
2 Vegetable Stock Cubes
Spices can added in whatever quantities your prefer and you can obviously use any mixture of spices you want to. I used: Turmeric, Garam Masala, Fenugreek and Mild Curry Powder. I also used a bay leaf, but curry leaves or kaffir lime leaves would probably be more authentic if you can get hold of them.
1. Sauté the onion in oil over medium heat until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes. I usually add a bit of salt at this point because it helps the onions sweat without browning.
2. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli and sauté for another minute.
3. Add your spices and let them cook for a further minute or two.
4. Add in the vegetables and coat in the spices, onions and oil.
5. Add your stock cubes and water to cover everything by about an inch (use actual stock if you have it).
6. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and leave to simmer, partly covered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through but not falling apart.
7. Turn off the heat and add the spinach, stirring to wilt.
8. Serve sprinkled with chopped coriander, a dollop of yogurt and a squeeze of lime juice. This would probably be also really tasty with a spoonful of mango chutney stirred in or with some quick pickled onions.