My oh my, what weird weather we are having here in Houston. Two weeks ago I broke out the shorts, flip flops and tank tops, then last week I had bust my winter coat and sweater boots back out. Now its in the 40’s and pouring down rain! A little taste of summer, winter and spring all within three weeks. I can’t complain too much though considering all the snow you Northerners are getting pummeled with. With all the changing weather it seems like a lot of people around me are getting sick, so what better time to make an immune-boosting super-food filled soup filled with tons of in-season veggies?
A lot of people tend to eat less produce in the winter, but we really need to be eating even more to keep us healthy! The good thing is that there are plenty of fruits and veggies that thrive in the winter months:
I’ve been clearing out my pantry to get ready for the move to Florida (IN TWO WEEKS– no I have nothing packed yet) and had a bag of Trader Joe’s Red Lentils that I thought would be great for making a hearty soup in this dreary weather. I ate 2 huge bowls for lunch and am already looking forward to dinner!
If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t get excited about vegetable soup, when’s the last time you had something other than Campbell’s? Trust me, this is nothing like that canned crap!
If you’re a kitchen newb or just aren’t as adventurous when it comes to the produce section there may be a few foreign ingredients on the list:
Ginger (top left, the little round one): Looks like a little root, smells wonderful, has a little spice if you use a ton (think ginger ale). Ginger is SO good for you– it can reduce nausea and prevent inflammation and has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years.
Parsnips: it’s just a white carrot, don’t get too excited. You could also use turnips here.
Butternut squash: although you’ve probably already heard of/tried this one, have you seen it in these convenient little packs? The extra dollar saves a ton of time!
Lentils: I like to think of them as itty bitty baby beans. They’re full of fiber, protein, folate and iron. They also come in green, yellow and black varieties.
Vegetable/vegetarian bouillon: If you’re familiar with my blog, you’re familiar with bouillon. I keep this stuff stocked to use in all my soups. It’s so much easier and cheaper than having to buy broth. I always buy a container of broth then end up throwing most of it away, so this way I can use as much or as little as I want. Just use 1 teaspoon of bouillon + 1 cup of water to equal 1 cup of broth.
Are you ready to get your soup on? Stay warm, my friends!
Winter Vegetable Soup
Yield: 6 servings
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 2 large parsnips, chopped
- 1 ½- 2 cups butternut squash, chopped into squares
- 3 celery stalks
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 cups water
- 6 teaspoons vegetable bouillon
- 1 ½ cup lentils
- 3 green onions, chopped, green and white parts
- 1 bunch kale, chopped
- Cracked pepper to taste
- In a large pot, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sautee for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the parsnips, squash, celery, cumin, cayenne and cinnamon to the saucepan and stir. Sautee for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Add 6 cups of water, 6 teaspoons of vegetable bouillon and lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 20- 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Remove the pan from heat and stir in the kale and green onions.
Olive oil can be substituted for sesame oil.