The key to creating healthy and nutritious soups is obviously to remove the ‘baddies’ so commonly used as the base for traditional soups – these include cream, butter, salt and gluten.
In their place strong flavours need to be added as many vegetable based soups can taste quite bland. Ideas to experiment with are fresh herbs, garlic, ginger, onion, mixed spices – cumin, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, paprika, curry powder, jalapenos, chilli, olives, fresh nuts.
The trick is to cook these added flavours first in a very small amount of extra virgin cold pressed olive oil. This should take about 5 minutes on a medium flame.
Next add your choice of vegetables, beans, fruit etc… and then add water to fully cover the vegetables in the pan. Simmer this on a medium heat for approximately 1 ½ – 2 hours. This will ensure that all the flavours have infused through the vegetables. Let the soup mixture cool a bit and then simply puree it in a blender. Most soups can be then served hot or cold and you can use chopped herbs, seeds or nuts to garnish.
For a creamier tasting soup you can replace cream or milk with coconut milk (ideally low fat) – this will add a distinctly authentic thai twist to any combination of tastes. However, be aware that this will increase the fat content somewhat, dependent on the amount added.