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Leeky Carrot-Parsnip Soup

Posted Jan 26 2011 12:00am

“That would be cool if you could eat a good food with a bad food and the good food would cover for the bad food when it got to your stomach. Like you could eat a carrot with an onion ring and they would travel down to your stomach, then they would get there, and the carrot would say, It’s cool, he’s with me.” ~ Mitch Hedberg, American stand-up comedian (1968 – 2005)

Not only are carrots good for us – think Vitamin A – but so are potassium rich parsnips , and leeks , with their supply of Vitamin K, Omega-3 fatty acids, and dietary fiber. They are filling and low in calories, so the help us maintain a healthy weight. These are among the very reasons why nutritionists encourage us to include more vegetables and fruits in our diets.

Here is a simple and light vegetable-based soup that is as kid-friendly as it is gourmet. The ginger offers an Asian influence, so it goes well as an appetizer course before a Chinese meal, or for lunch with some Herbed Croutons (page 109 in the Mosaic Meals cookbook ) or a scoop of rice on top. To fancy it up in a simple way, just float a sprig of fresh rosemary along one side.

Including a potato will give the soup a milder, somewhat creamier flavor than if you prepare the soup without it. I find it is needed if I’m using a strong tasting broth, but not so much if my broth is weak. It seems that most organic vegetable broths list carrots and celery ahead of onions, rather than the other way around, making them somewhat sweeter and a little milder than the standard variety, and the carrot flavor stands out more.

Leeky Carrot-Parsnip Soup
Makes 6 cups
Time: 35 minutes

1 leek, green top removed
3 carrots
3 parsnips
1 medium potato (optional, see above)
½ teaspoon dried ground ginger
5 cups vegetable broth (mild flavor is better for this)

Cut the leek lengthwise, then into thin, half-moon slices. Place in a colander, rinse well, and allow to drain while preparing the remaining vegetables.

Peel the ginger and mince by hand or in a food processor. Scrub and thinly slice the carrots and parsnips. Peel the potato and cut into small dice, if using.

Place all the ingredients in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.

Mash the vegetables in the broth with a potato masher, or cool slightly and give it a whirl in the blender (in batches – hold the lid on!) to reach the degree of smoothness that you prefer. For those who aren’t fond of vegetables, the smoother the soup is, the less aware they will be of its ingredients.

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