Get Your Broccoli Fix
Posted by Arja on November 14 in Soups and Stews
Did I get your attention? I bet you didn’t even know that you needed a broccoli fix! The truth is, whether you love it or not, broccoli is super good for you. It’s a nutritional star, and paired with a small amount of sharp cheese and some beans for protein, you’ll find it so delicious that you may even forget that you’re eating something that is really good for you.
When I was younger my Mom used to make a few vegetable puree soups for me, and I loved them! Broccoli or cauliflower, or even a mix of the two, were my favourites. Pureed vegetable soups are great because they’re rich and creamy, without needing any cream, generally low in calories but high in nutrients, and don’t take long to make. The trouble with these soups is that they’re not very high in protein, and therefore, don’t keep you feeling satisfied for very long. The answer to that is the addition of some beans – protein and fibre!
Everyone knows that broccoli is really good for them. As a member of the cruciferous family it has been shown to have anticancer effects, and some of its compounds, specifically indole-3-carbinole and sulforaphane, increase the excretion excess estrogens which are linked to breast cancer. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, high in protein, chock full of fibre, vitamin A, magnesium, and folic acid. It’s also a rich source of lutein, a carotenoid which is concentrated in the retina, so broccoli may also help prevent age-related macular degeneration. Wow, right?
This soup also has onions and garlic, which are important players in good cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, and supporting good immune function. The cannellini beans contain high amounts of fibre which will help moderate blood-sugar levels, and lower cholesterol levels. They’re also a source of antioxidants, B6, magnesium, and folic acid which help lower levels of homocysteine. Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Are you convinced yet? This soup is good for you. Top your bowl off with some pumpkin seeds, which are a, excellent source of essential fatty acids, zinc, and phytosterols, all important to a healthy prostate, and you’re all set. You’ll start feeling healthier the moment you start eating it.
Broccoli & White Bean Soup
2 broccoli heads (approx.. 2lbs), cut into florets & slice stems
2-3 small, yellow onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 15oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked, dried beans)
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Juice from ½ a lemon
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes (optional, though doesn’t make the soup really spicy)
6 oz grated, sharp flavoured cheese (try a goat or sheep cheddar)
Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
Step 1 – Heat oil in large pot over medium/low heat. Add onions and caramelize slowly until golden brown. Add garlic and cook for another few minutes.
Step 2 – Add stock and broccoli florets, raise heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until broccoli is tender. Add cooked/canned beans and cook for another few minutes until heated through.
Step 3 – Remove pot from heat and puree using a hand blender, or in small batches in a blender. Return pot with soup to medium heat and add grated cheese. Stir until melted, then add lemon juice and chili pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve topped with toasted pumpkin seeds, or toasted seeds/nuts of your choice. This soup freezes really well, so freeze in small servings for easy lunches later on!