Leeks are in season in February and make a great alternative to onions. But what to do with them? Making a one pot soup is a great way to save on waste because you can eat the remainder the next day. Eating leeks with other vegetables, maybe from an organic vegetable box is a great way to have them . Yet if you were faced with the ones featured (leeks, lettuce, chicory, flat beans, broad beans, spinach, parsley, mint) would you know how to turn them into a complete evening meal, that saves well for tomorrow’s lunch, doesn’t cost much, and fills you up? Well, my Super Leeks and Greens Soup recipe shows how a bunch of veggies can become just that!
I was inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Summer Garden Soup, then massively adapted it with pulses and grains, so it resembles something altogether different – a meal in itself.
1 leek – chopped, 1 gem lettuce – shredded, 1 bunch of chicory – stems chopped, leaves coarsely shredded, A handful of flat beans, 1 bunch of true spinach, 1 palm full of shelled broad beans, 1 good palm full of Fresh parsley and mint – finely chopped, 1-2 vegetable stock cubes (e.g. Kallo) to make a litre or more, 1 palm full of uncooked quinoa, 1 tin of green lentils – drained and rinsed, 1 tbspoon of virgin coconut oil (I use odourless coconut oil in cooking when I don’t need an actual coconut flavour, it’s a healthier fat to cook with see below), otherwise use rapeseed or olive oil , salt and pepper to taste
Method: (you will need a frying pan and a large soup pan)
1 Make up 1.5 litres of stock (hold back 0.5 litre). Bring 1 litre of stock to the boil, add the quinoa and gently simmer
2 Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil in a frying pan and gently fry (without browning) the leeks and chicory for a few minutes until tender (stems only at this stage)
3 Add the chicory stems and leeks to the quinoa stock mixture and continue to gently simmer. Check the flavour and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the chopped flat beans and broad beans simmer for 2-3 minutes. If the beans are starting to tender add the tin of green lentils and return to a simmer.
4 Add the more delicate leaves at this point (chicory leaves, lettuce, spinach) simmer for 1 minute. Depending on how watery you want the soup you may choose to add the other 0.5 litre of stock. Now check all the vegetables are cooked to taste (it should have a fresh, clean and herby flavour) and the quinoa is fully cooked (it should form little tender circles). If so add the chopped herbs and simmer for 30 seconds more minute, check the seasoning again and if you are happy ladle into bowls.
Storage: allow to cool then keep in a container in the fridge for 24hrs, eat for lunch
Serve: you may serve with bread, however, the quinoa is known as a pseudo grain and provides both carbohydrate and protein to fill you up.
Nutrition/dietary: Vegan. Provides protein, carbohydrate, plenty of green vegetables, fibre, liquid and good fat (coconut oil). Provides an array of vitamins and minerals including (A, B, C, K, Iron, calcium, zinc). When frying at high temperatures virgin coconut oil is best as it doesn’t turn into a bad fat on high heat, it is antifungal and antibacterial and although it is a saturated fat most of it turns into energy we can use rather than fat on the body. No matter how ‘healthy’ your oil is you need to find out its burn temperature, as that is when it becomes unhealthy. The brain is at least 60% fat. Good fats are needed to assist in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins and for peak functioning of the brain. For those of you who prefer olive oil keep it for your salad dressings as not to turn it into a bad fat via the cooking process, or use it in very low heat cooking only. Enjoy!
Recipe written by Orietta Z L Houghland