Nicholas’ second birthday is quickly approaching (where did that last year go? Hang on, where did those two years go?), hence most of my time in the kitchen is party food planning and preparation. I’m trying very hard to reign my wild ideas in to something more easily achieveable!
But I am continuing my soup crusade and I’m loving the fact that Nicholas is often asking for soup, especially at dinner time. This really has been a successful way to get more veg into him.
Initially Nicholas loved broccoli, and happily munched it as one of his first finger foods. That didn’t last long. The only way he eats it now is if he can’t pick it out of whatever new thing I’ve tried to ‘hide’ it in. He can’t get enough of smooth broccoli soup!
You can make a simple broccoli soup with broccoli, onion and potato, but when I came across a different take on the standard version which has white beans and ginger I knew I had to try it. Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley’s broccoli, ginger and white bean soup uses the whole head of broccoli, fresh ginger for a healthy zing and white beans to boost the nutritional value even more. The two sisters are the founders of Hemsley & Hemsley, promoting healthy food.
I decreased the zing in the soup (for younger taste buds) by using ground ginger instead of fresh and omitting the lime juice, but I did leave in the pinch of cayenne pepper and all 5 cloves of garlic (use your knowledge of your family’s tastebuds to decide, but I’d err on the side of caution initially with little ones). I also reduced the salt by leaving out the Tamari soy sauce. Next time I’ll try using fresh ginger, but a smaller piece than the original recipe. I love the extra thickness you get using some white beans (I think they’ll often be added to my soups from now on!).
This makes a large quantity of soup; perfect for freezing the leftovers for another week.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 18-20 mins
Makes 6 adult servings
2 onions, roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil (the original recipe uses coconut oil)
1 tsp ground ginger
a small pinch of cayenne peper
1 litre of good quality vegetable or water
1 400g can of white beans (I used butter beans but you could use cannellini or haricot beans), rinsed and drained
salt and pepper
In a large pot, gently fry the onion, garlic, ground ginger and cayenne pepper in the oil over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
Remove the heads from the broccoli and roughly chop, then roughly chop the stems.
Add the broccoli stalks and about 750ml of the stock to the pot. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Add the broccoli heads and white beans, cover and cook for another 5 mins until the broccoli stalks are tender.
Take off the heat and puree until smooth. Check if you need to add any seasoning.
- For older eaters, serve with a sprinking of toasted pine nuts or seeds.
- Serve with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
- Take out some of the broccoli heads before pureeing, then add for a chunkier soup.
- Serve with a small piece of soft spreadable cheese swirled through.