Winter comfort: Heart healthy vegetable soup

Nothing can fight off the winter chill like a warm blanket, some hot homemade soup and a thick slice of warm bread. Make this hearty vegetable soup using leafy greens and root vegetables you’ve grown in your garden. Enjoy real comfort food from root to spoon.

Carrots

Carrots should be harvested before the ground freezes in winter but they can be stored for weeks in the refrigerator to enjoy in several recipes. While they can be picked and eaten earlier, the longer you leave the carrots to mature, the better the flavour. To harvest, simply pull the carrots out of the ground using the root not the leaves to pull it out. You can also use a fork to loosen the soil and make it easier to pull them out of the ground.

Cauliflower

To harvest cauliflower you should look at the condition and texture of the head rather than the size. When fully developed and rounded, pick the cauliflower before branding. Make sure to pull the whole plant out of the ground and put the leaves on the compost heap.

What to feed

Before feeding your family some delicious home grown vegetables, you’ll need to feed your vegetables. After harvesting your vegetables, freshen up the vegetable beds with fresh compost and organic fertilizer. To maximise growth, apply liquid fertiliser to your vegetables every two weeks. Visit your nearest GCA Garden Centre to discuss the best option for your garden.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 4 celery stalks sliced
  • 3 L chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 leeks finely sliced
  • 1 Handfull of green beans chopped (about 12 or so)
  • 1 large clove garlic chopped
  • 1 small cauliflower broken up into small pieces
  • 4 baby marrows sliced
  • 3 medium tomatoes skinned, seeds removed and chopped up (optional but very nice)
  • palm of chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tin haricot beans or butter beans
  • Parmesan cheese

How to
Add the oil to a large pot on a medium to high heat and add the carrots, onions and celery, cook for a few minutes until the onions are beginning to soften. This should take about 3 or 4 minutes.

Now add the stock and the bay leaf and bring to the boil. Toss in the leeks, garlic and green beans, simmer with the lid on for about 5 or 10 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste and then toss in the cauliflower, baby marrows and tinned beans.

Reduce the heat, add the tomatoes and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes on a slow simmer. Stir in the parsley and serve with a grate of parmesan over the top.

You can take 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the soup and pop it in the blender, blitz it and then stir back into the soup to thicken it up but not necessary.

For more information on bringing Life to your Garden, visit your local Garden Centre (GCA) https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/category/garden-centres/ or join the conversation on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/lifeisagardensa

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