As the weather gets cold and the snow starts to fall, why not snuggle up with a bowl of comforting soup that will warm and soothe your soul? There’s nothing quite like coming in from the cold outdoors to a warm bowl of soup and hunk of whole grain bread. This holiday soup will also boost your immune system during a time when we are indoors more often, and at heightened risk for catching a cold or flu.
The unique blend of spices is what really sets this soup apart from the rest. Saffron is high in antioxidants and a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc, and magnesium. Turmeric spice, found in curry powder, is a powerful anti-inflammatory high in manganese, iron, B6, and fibre. Cinnamon is also well-known for its beneficial effect on blood sugar and it’s believed to improve energy, vitality, and circulation.
Combine these powerhouse spices with an array of vegetables like carrots, onion, spinach, and zucchini and you have one healthy soup for the soul…and entire body! Think of it as chicken soup for the soul, only with a healthier, modern twist.
Holiday soup for the soul
Red quinoa, a gluten-free complete protein source, adds a beautiful pop of red to this festive soup. Toss in some chopped zucchini and spinach and you have a red and green holiday soup that will steal the show at your next holiday dinner. This soup tastes even better the next day after the flavours develop.
Yield: 8-10 cups
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 vegetable bouillon cube + 6 cups boiling water (or use 6 cups vegetable broth)
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red quinoa, uncooked
1.5-2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (about one 15oz can)
1 tsp good-quality curry powder
Pinch or two of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
2 cups baby spinach leaves, well rinsed and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of saffron threads
1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over low-medium heat. Add the chopped sweet onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and zucchini and continue to sauté for about 5-7 minutes.
2. Place your bouillon cube into a medium sized bowl. Boil 6 cups of water and pour over the bouillon cube. Stir well to dissolve. Alternatively you can use 6 cups of vegetable broth.
3. Add bouillon mixture (or broth), tomatoes, red quinoa, black beans, spices, and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then simmer gently, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Add the roughly chopped spinach, stir well, and cover. Simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes. The longer you cook it the more the flavours will develop. Taste test and adjust seasonings if necessary. Garnish with nuts of choice if preferred.
Angela Liddon is the creator of Oh She Glows, a popular healthy vegan recipe website receiving over 1.6 million page views a month, and one of Chatelaine‘s Women of the Year 2011. Angela’s passion for healthy vegan food is contagious and she’s eager to show others that vegan (and often gluten-free) food can blow your taste buds away.