As I mentioned in my last post, it's that time of year again. Time for Fall, Winter and all the soulful flavors that accompany them. I'd argue that the most distinct dish of these colder seasons is soup. It is hearty, delicious and capable of warming our mind, body and soul. Aside from the odd summer soups like gazpacho, soup lays claim to these colder days and serves as a companion as we are cozied up inside.
That said, making a good soup can be much less comforting. My previous attempts always seemed to come up short handed... They were edible but lack the "oh my, yum" factor. This soup is relatively easy to make and the roasting of the vegetables beforehand guarantees a soup exploding in flavor rather than one that tastes like store bought vegetable broth (not so "yum").
As promised, I will give you a few health factoids about soup... Did you know that people drink less water when it is cold? Furthermore, people are much more likely to drink dehydrating beverages like tea, coffee and alcohol. This means that sneaking in extra hydration is incredibly important. As long as soup doesn't have a ton of salt and has a decent amount of veggies, it is incredibly hydrating. Hydration helps with all bodily functions, increases energy levels, helps brain clarity and clears up skin. If a soup has vegetables, it is safe to assume it is also a great source of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Vitamins are essential to good health. Importantly, dietary fiber helps regulate blood cholesterol and blood sugar and aid in weight loss.
Roasted Vegetable Soup w/ or w/o Chicken
- 6 Beefsteak Tomatoes, Halved
- 2 Carrots, 1/2inch Slices
- 1 Small Zucchini, 1/2inch Slices
- 1 Onion, Diced
- 1 Bell Pepper Chopped
- 1 Yam, 1/2inch Slices
- 2 Leeks, Diced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4-5 Garlic Cloves
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 4 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth
- 1 Small Bunch Kale, Chopped
- Salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste
- Optional: * 4-8 ounces of Chicken, Cooked and Diced
- 1 cup Mushrooms, Chopped
Preheat the oven to 425 Degrees. Place the tomatoes, carrots, onion, bell pepper, yam, leeks, mushrooms*, thyme, and garlic on a large roasting pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, stirring occasionally (every 20 minutes for 45 to 60 minutes). Transfer vegetables to a large pot on the stove. Add the vegetable/chicken broth, kale, and chicken*, bring to a boil then simmer for 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Put half the soup in another container and puree the halve still in the soup container with a hand blender or food processor*. Remix the two parts back together. Serve hot, in bowls with optional crumbled goat cheese, shaved parmesan, fresh basil, and/or pesto.
Notes: It is not necessary to puree half the soup. The benefit of blending/pureeing is that it creates a "creamy" consistency without adding any cream or dairy. Another option is pureeing the entire soup which will make a health yet creamy soup.