Roasted country-style vegetable soup

MissFoodFairy's Roasted vegetable chunky soup

Who loves vegetables? Not everyone, I know, and kids aren’t overly excited about having five vegetables on the plate in one sitting! But we all love soup, especially on the cold evenings, with some fresh, crusty buttered bread – there’s nothing like it.

This soup is bound to get the kids excited about vegetables as the sweet potato and carrot makes the soup slightly sweet tasting, and kids love sweet things! Just don’t tell them it’s good for them!

I just love making my own soup and this one I have made a few times over the past year. If you’re like me and listen to your body about eating specific food groups – I tend to get vegetable cravings quite often where all I feel like is vegetables with no meat – and you’re looking at making something other than a Minestrone, then this is the perfect soup. I like this soup a little chunky, not smooth as you would a pumpkin soup but feel free to make it smooth if you or your family prefer your soup that way.

While writing this post, I had a thought – I would like to share with you all some of the health benefits of the vegetables that went into this soup. We all know that fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices, are beneficial to our health and are good for us, but what makes these vegetables so popular? Here’s what I found out . . .

Disclaimer: while researching on the internet, I realised that maybe the information I’m using may not always be correct and my resources may not be up to date but I hope that most of the information I provided is helpful.

A quote from betterhealth.vic.gov.au – Fruit and vegetables should be an important part of your daily diet. They contain vitamins and minerals, and plant chemicals called phytochemicals. Fruit and vegetables can help to protect the body against some diseases including diabetes, stroke, heart disease, some cancers and high blood pressure or hypertension. Many people do not eat enough fruit and vegetables.

Pumpkin is a powerhouse of nutrition, says organicauthority.com, containing significant amounts of vitamins (A, C, K, E), antioxidants (beta-carotenes), and minerals (magnesium, potassium, iron). It’s also naturally low in fat and calories, and contains five grams of fibre in a half-cup serving.

Did you know that carrots are one of the earliest vegetables grown by man? Did you know that carrots are related to parsley – the feathery green tops look somewhat like parsley! In the past the leaves were used to decorate the hats of royalty (really!) and doctors say carrots improve vision, especially at night because of the very high level of vitamin A (carotene).

Why are carrots good for us? Apart from the fact they taste great and are readily available all year round and they’re perfect raw or cooked, I found out that many vegetables can lose their vitamins when cooked. Carrots are different. When cooked correctly, more beta carotene is absorbed by our bodies than raw carrots. Try not to over boil/cook the carrots, as like all vegetables, they will lose their vitamins! Baby carrots have higher percentage of folate compared to the bigger carrots.

Parsnips are a related family member of carrots, fennel, celeriac and parsley root. This creamy white root vegetable is low in calories, fat and sodium, naturally cholesterol-free, and high in fibre and several vitamins and minerals. (Thank you to Livestrong.com for this information)  The smaller and thin parsnips tend to cook quicker and have a sweeter taste to them. Grated parsnip is great in salads or mashing them like potatoes makes a healthier alternative to potato mash.

Livestrong.com says that sweet potatoes are vegetables that are available year-round. These root vegetables are rich in many essential nutrients such as potassium, antioxidants and fibre while containing no fat or cholesterol. Through reading more and more about this vegetable, I found out that they’re not only great in savoury dishes but are quite popular in desserts too! Sweet potatoes should not be confused with yams as they have no relation to each other. Sweet potatoes are really amazing as a vegetable curry with cauliflower and chickpeas.

One thing that I took from all this research is that these vegetables are not only good for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and are full of antioxidants but they generally are so good for your health – why aren’t we eating more of these vegetables!

When I first made this soup, I had no idea that it was a soup full of wonderful goodness! As I have high cholesterol, this is a soup that will become a part of my monthly regime. This soup freezes really well – I’ve had some in the freezer (which I forgot I had) for 6 months and it was as delicious now as it was when I made it last!

TIP 1: For a completely vegetarian soup, replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock – it will be absolutely fine.

PREP: 15 minutes     COOKING: 1 hour + 20 minutes
SERVES/MAKES: 4-6 people/7 cups of soup

INGREDIENTS:
½ (400-425 grams) Butternut pumpkin, roughly chopped
4-5 (400-425 grams) carrots, roughly chopped
4-5 (400-425 grams) parsnips, roughly chopped
1 large sweet potato, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, gently smashed with the back of a knife
1 tablespoon dried thyme (or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups of chicken stock
1 cup baby rocket leaves

TO SERVE:
1 teaspoon of Greek yogurt or sour cream, per bowl
Sprinkle of fresh parsley, finely chopped
Freshly cracked black pepper

METHOD:
Heat oven to 200°C

Place all vegetables, garlic and thyme on a large baking tray and sprinkle over olive oil. Bake for 1 hour.

Bring to boil the chicken stock in a large saucepan. Turn to a simmer and add all the roasted vegetables until all vegetables have completely softened, about 20 minutes.

Remove the thyme (if using fresh) and allow to cool slightly before using your stick blender to blitz. Don’t over blitz, keep the soup slightly chunky. But feel free to puree until smooth if that’s how you and your family like your soup.

Stir in the rocket and serve immediately with yogurt or sour cream, fresh parsley and black pepper to taste. Fresh, crusty, buttered bread goes amazing with this soup – delicious!

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