Winter Vegetable Soup

A hearty and nutritious soup, this recipe has infinite variations. Here's one to get you started — once you understand the basics of making your own soups you can create them with whatever you have on hand. This one came about after a trip to the farmer's market and contains many winter vegetables with some shaved Parmigiano Reggiano on top. For the stock, I used my Vegetable Scrap Mineral Broth.

Winter Vegetable Soup

4 to 6 cups vegetable broth 3 tbl olive oil 1 tbl butter 3 cloves garlic, chopped 1 medium onion, chopped 3 carrots, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 5 to 6 Yukon Gold & red-skinned potatoes, cubed 1 small head cauliflower, chopped 1/2 bunch Swiss chard, chopped 1/2 bunch kale, chopped 2 tsp dried oregano 2 tsp dried basil salt & pepper to taste Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

1. Add the olive oil  and the onions to a large soup pot and turn heat to medium. Saute onions until they become mostly transparent. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring. Add the garlic and cook for another minute while stirring. 2. Add the butter and chopped potatoes  and cook for several minutes, add the cauliflower and continue to cook and stir for about 5 minutes. 3. Now add the broth, spices, salt and pepper and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low and allow the soup to simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 4. Top with grated or shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and serve immediately.

Nutrition Nuggets

Garlicis a nutritional powerhouse and has many medicinal properties which are thought to be largely the result of the sulfur-containing compounds it contains. It also has high levels of trace minerals, particularly selenium. Studies show that garlic decreases total cholesterol levels, while increasing HDL — which is protective against heart disease. It also has shown to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Garlic has been used throughout history to fight infections. It is antimicrobial due to the sulfur compound allicin, which is effective against colds, flu, stomach viruses, as well as stronger pathogens. Garlic also appears to be protective against some cancers. Studies have shown that as few as two or more servings of garlic a week may help protect against colon cancer.

Kale is a member of the cabbage family, and as such exhibits the same kind of anticancer properties as all the other members of this family. Kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables, with high amounts of carotenes, vitamins C and B6, and manganese. It is a great source of calcium, iron, and copper as well as dietary fiber, B vitamins and vitamin E. As you can see from its deep green color, kale is very high in chlorophyll. The deeper green your vegetable, the more health benefits it contains and kale is one of the darkest!

Swiss chard is also highly nutritious. It is an excellent source of carotenes, chlorophyll, vitamins C, E, and K, as well as dietary fiber. It contains high levels of important minerals like magnesium and iron. The combination of the many phytonutrients, chlorophyll, and plant pigments make Swiss chard one of the most powerful anticancer foods, particularly in protecting against colon cancer and other digestive cancers. The vitamin K in Swiss chard is also vitally important for protecting and maintaining bone health.