If I was asked to name three things I loved about winter, they would be: hiking, rugby season and soup. There is nothing more hearty or warming than a gorgeous soup in the cooler months, plus they can be super easy to make for when you are time deprived.
For those of you that aren’t soup fans, or feel as if they are not overly filling, I encourage you to put your assumptions aside and give this recipe a go. I personally am not a fan of ‘watery’ soups – i.e. minestrone or packaged pumpkin (a horrible example, but an example none the less) – hence forth my recipes tend to be more of a ‘puree’ so to speak and are often very dense in texture. I do this in order to make the soup as nutrient rich as possible, plus pureeing allows me to add in a few other sneaky ingredients that wouldn’t work well texturely otherwise.
The main base for this recipe is, you guessed it, cauliflower; with chickpeas and barley being incorporated for the addition of a great protein and whole grain source respectively. In this particular batch I added in a cup of spinach and also coconut milk for a fragrant flavor hit.
This soup stores super well so I quite often use it for meal prepping. I will simply refrigerate in air-tight jars or freeze if making a larger than usual batch and will be set for the week ahead.
Cauliflower – rich in potassium though lower in calories than bananas, 1 cup of raw cauliflower will provide you with 6% of your recommended daily intake and will hence forth reduce you risk of cardiovascular disease and assist in blood pressure regulation. It is also a rich source of glucosinolates, which activate the body’s detoxification system – chewing breaks these down into their active form and research has suggested that they may be linked to potentially preventing some form of cancers. One cup of raw cauliflower will also contain 5-7% of your RDI of vitamin C, which is great for facilitating iron absorption.
Chickpeas – one cup of chickpeas will provide you with 75-85% of your protein RDI; although chickpeas are not a complete protein, henceforth the lacking essential amino acids will need to be consumed through other foods. They are a very rich iron source, with one cup providing approximately 25% RDI for women and 50% for men (and 50% for post-menopausal women), which assists in metabolizing proteins and plays a major role in the production of haemoglobin and red blood cells, whilst also fighting different causes of fatigue.
Barley – one cup of cooked barley will provide you with 20% of your RDI for fibre and hence promotes healthy digestion and can reduce the risk of colon cancer. It is a whole grain and has the lowest known glycemic index of all cereal grains (35 GI), hence it is a great carbohydrate source for diabetics particularly.
This recipe will create 6 serves.
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 1 + 1/2 cups barley
- 1 cup chopped spinach
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2tsp cayenne pepper
- 2tsp ground coriander seeds
- 1/2tsp cinnamon
- 2 + 1/2tsp cumin
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius (fan forced). Rinse the cauliflower, remove florets from head and place in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of olive oil (optional), 1/2tsp of cayenne pepper, coriander and cinnamon respectively. Roast until slightly crispy, approximately 20-25 minutes (or as per your oven).
- Simultaneously, bring a pot of water to the boil and add the barley. Cook covered for around 20 minutes or until barley is soft and plump.
- Place the now cooked cauliflower and barley, along with the chickpeas, stock, spinach and garlic into a large, deep pan. Bring to boil, add the coconut milk, then simmer for 10 mins – or until it has partially reduced.
- Place contents of pan into a large blender, then add the garlic and remaining spices. Blitz until a smooth puree is formed, adjusting the spice mix to suit your palette.
- Serve with roasted cauliflower and shredded coconut on top.