When it comes to nutritious plant foods with superstar health benefits, it is tough to surpass the honourable organic tomato, capsicum, and of course beautiful garlic.
And with the chilly Autumn and Winter days and nights, healthy soups that are a full of antioxidants to fight those nasty cold & flu viruses are an intelligent meal choice.
When it comes to soups, I am a hard core “roasting” disciple. Char roasting capsicums, onions, tomato, and garlic in a splattering of olive oil before blending them to creamy perfection produces a finished product that always wins over the pickiest of taste buds.
As a naturopath, I am of course passionate about using organic produce wherever possible due to high nutrient content and low pesticide content.
This soup is rich in important vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A (beta -carotene), Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Manganese, Potassium and more.
Stand-outs nutrients to mention are:
Vitamin C: a powerful antioxidant to fight oxidative damage and free radicals in your body. With capsicums containing more Vitamin C than oranges, having this soup on a regular basis makes sense in flu season due to the important role that Vitamin C has in supporting a healthy immune system. Not only is there capsicum in this recipe, however carrot and tomato add more Vitamin C to the mix!
Flavonoids: these phenolic compounds are yet again powerful antioxidants, but their health benefits also include antiviral & anti-inflammatory abilities.
Lycopene: another plant compound with wonderful antioxidant super-star properties. Lycopene, which is the red pigment is high in both capsicums and cooked tomatoes is an antioxidant which can protect against DNA and cell damage. The health benefits of Lycopene are far reaching and include cardiovascular health, prostate health and even bone health.
And of course, I can’t forget to mention Garlic. To me, garlic is one of the most powerful foods on the planet. Studies link the compounds in garlic such allicin, alliin, allinase, beta-sitosterol and a variety of vitamins and minerals to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. Other effects include anti-microbial actions, cholesterol lowering and more.
Now that I have explained all of the health benefits of this soup, I must emphasise that it is also very low fat and low carb making it a perfect dinner option for weight loss or weight management. Of course, adding a little bit of protein on the side will always support more balanced blood glucose levels!
This is also a very affordable dish and is a perfect way to use up vegetables in the fridge.
In this recipe I use carrots, celery, onion, and basil to take the taste to the next level however it is easy to experiment with other vegetables you have that you need to use up. That is the beauty of soup making! So, lets start making it shall we?
- 3 red capsicums, roughly chopped
- 8 large vine ripened tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups of organic vegetable stock
- 2 carrots, finely sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic peeled
- 1 large onion chopped in quarters
- 2 celery stalks, finely sliced
- 6 fresh basil leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp of olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Line a large roasting pan with baking paper.
Place capsicum, tomatoes, onion and garlic in a big bowl and pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the top. Stir gently so that olive oil covers all vegetables.
Roast in oven for approximately 50-60 minutes as you want everything slightly charred.
Check oven every 15 minutes and turn where necessary so your vegetables don’t burn.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, sauté your carrot and celery in a tablespoon of olive oil on low heat to soften whilst your other vegetables are in the oven. Stir regularly and add salt and pepper. Cooking time is 50-60 minutes to caramelise for taste.
Once roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, and capsicum mix is ready, pour into saucepan with carrots and celery and now add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
Cool for 5 minutes and then pour your mix into a blender with your fresh basil leaves and blend until smooth.
Return your soup to the large pot and heat up before serving.
Store in your fridge and eat within 3-4 days.