My favourite meal during winter is a gorgeous, steaming bowl of soup! It definitely warms the cockerels of my soul and lifts my spirits. It also makes for a quick and nutritious lunch.
The brilliant thing is that you can make a big batch which gives you quite a few meals that you don't have to worry about! I'm all for making a large pot of soup on a Sunday to keep me going throughout the week. I love all flavours and textures but I've recently been enjoying soups with bits in them. I know this sounds a bit weird but a little texture can be lovely! Chunky vegetables and a little rice are a welcome addition.
This leafy green soup is brilliant because you can throw anything you want in it. I love putting in kale, spinach and courgettes!
In my opinion, spinach is the leafy star of the show.
I am continually amazed at the versatility of spinach. I eat it in salads, throw huge handfuls in my smoothie and steam it as a side for my salmon. It's also great in a soup with delicious courgette and wild rice! Spinach is one of the most plentiful sources of plant protein which is surprising but true! Remember good old 'Popeye the Sailor-man'? He was kinda weedy and skinny in his cartoon but when it came to saving his lady, Olive Oyl, he would pull out the big guns ... a tin of spinach!
After glugging down the spinach, his muscles would suddenly triple in size and he would be able to knock over the naughty Bluto (who was a lot bigger than Popeye) with one blow! Astonishing. All because of spinach it seems 🙂
Even though this is a slight exaggeration, there is definitely some truth to it. Spinach will make your body stronger and healthier - there is no doubt about that! And, it will help you to defeat the Bluto in your life -MS.
Spinach also has the following, amazing, benefits:
It is rich in iron, which is important in the function of red blood cells and transportation of oxygen around the body.
This also helps with energy production.
Spinach is also a great source of vitamins K, A, B2 and C, and manganese.
The dark green colour of the leaves means that spinach contains high levels of chlorophyll and carotenoids which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Before launching into this delicious recipe, I just wanted to give you a short guide to buying your spinach.
Guide to Buying & Storing Spinach
Please, please, please make sure that you buy organic spinach! Spinach leaves are highly susceptible to the use of pesticides and other chemicals to keep them insect free. Spinach actually ranks 14 for the highest levels of pesticide residues. It really is difficult to remove all that junk and it is so toxic for you - so just opt for the sightly more expensive, organic option.
Try and find young or baby spinach for salads and smoothies as it is so much more tender and buttery. It's also beautifully sweet.
Avoid spinach that is yellowish or wilted and gritty.
When refrigerated, spinach will last at least 5 days. But in my house, it's gone before that time. I eat copious amounts of it everyday so probably go through 2 bags (7oz/200g) a week.
If you have the space - grow your own spinach. It grows so beautifully!
I hope you get time to experiment with this lovely, super nutritious soup this weekend!
Leafy Green Soup
Prep time: 30 mins
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 cup basmati rice ( You can actually use any rice except for the usual refined white rice)
1-1 1/2 litres vegetable stock, gluten-free or home-made (optional)
150g fresh spinach
150g fresh kale
2 large courgettes/zucchini (chopped)
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup pine nuts
50 ml olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and coriander and gently cook for 5 minutes.
Add the wild rice and cook for a further minute. Add the vegetable stock, the chopped courgettes, and the kale. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 20 minutes.
To make the basil pesto, in a blender combine the basil leaves, cashews and pinenuts. Blend adding the olive oil slowly until a nice smooth texture is reached.
Once the rice, kale and courgettes are tender, stir in the spinach and basil pesto and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. Add more water if necessary.