1st September marks the beginning of Autumn, and to celebrate this lovely mellow month we are looking at some delicious, healthy, home-made soups crammed with seasonal British veg. With summer on the wane and the nights drawing in, it’s hard to beat a good, warming broth, especially if it’s full of tasty, nutritious vegetables. And if you’re short on time you can leave the leftovers on the hob and re-charge them the next day with whatever takes your fancy.
Why Eat Seasonal?
Eating seasonal fruit and veg is good for more than your health. It tastes better, costs less and is easier on the environment. Food in season is at its peak supply. It cost less to farm, distribute, and transport (because it can be grown locally, rather than being flown across the world). Not only does this benefit your bank and the environment, the food is fresher and doesn’t need tampering with to extend its shelf life.
So, now that autumn is upon us, look out for these vegetables over the next few months. They are all in season in the UK:
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It’s almost impossible to exaggerate the health benefits of fresh, seasonal veg. Low in calories and fats, high in fibre and crammed with vitamins, mineral and antioxidants, vegetables are an essential building block for good health. They also contain a lot of water so are filling without being calorific. Soups are also a great way to use up food that would otherwise go to waste.
A word of warning: shop-bought soups can be packed with unnecessary sugar and salt. But the good news is that soups are cheap, quick and easy to make, so give one of these tasty recipes a try this Autumn.
- Halve 450g of fresh tomatoes. Chop 2 onions, 1 carrot, 1 stick of celery, and 1 clove of garlic.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in pan and add the onions, carrot and celery and garlic. Cover and cook gently for 10 minutes until soft.
- Add 1tsp sugar and the tomatoes. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add 1litre veg stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Blend until smooth, season well with salt and pepper. If using the basil, stir in at the end.
French Onion Soup
- Thinly slice 1kg onions and 4 garlic cloves.
- Melt 50g butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions and fry with the lid on for 10 mins until soft.
- Sprinkle over 1tsp sugar and cook for further 20 mins on low heat, stirring frequently until onions are caramelised – but don’t burn!
- Add the garlic for the final few mins of the onions’ cooking time and sprinkle in the 2tbsp plain flour and stir well.
- Increase the heat and continue to stir whilst gradually adding 250ml dry white wine.
- After wine, add 1.3litres of beef stock. Cover and simmer for 15-20 mins. Season and serve!
Butternut Squash Soup
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
- Chop 2 onions, 1 clove of garlic, 2 red deseeded chillies, and 1 Butternut Squash (large chunks).
- Drizzle the butternut squash in olive oil and roast for 30 mins.
- Melt a tbsp of butter and one of olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onions, garlic and the chilli. Cover and cook on a very low heat for 15-20 mins until the onions are completely soft.
- Blend the roasted squash with 850ml veg stock and 4tbsp of crème fraiche and the rest of the veg.
- Return soup to the pan, gently reheat, then season to taste.
Broccoli and Stilton Soup
- Chop 1 onion, 1 leek, 1 stick of celery, 1 medium potato, and 1 broccoli head.
- Fry onion in 2 tbsp rapeseed oil until soft.
- Add leek, potato and celery with a knob of butter. Stir until melted, then cover with a lid for 5 mins.
- Pour in 1litre of veg stock and add chunky bits of broccoli stalk. Cook for 10 mins or until all vegetables are soft.
- Add the rest of the broccoli and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Blend all the mix until smooth.
- Stir in 140g of crumbled Stilton.
- Season with black pepper and serve.
Leek and Potato Soup
- Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan and add 1 chopped onion, 225g of cubed potatoes, and 2 chopped leeks until veg starts to soften.
- Pour in 1.2litres of veg stock.
- Bring to boil and season well.
- Blend the mix until smooth, then reheat in pan.
- Stir in 150ml of cream or crème fraiche.
For more healthy and delicious recipes to support your active lifestyle check out Active Nutrition.