We all know that this time of year is full of delicious food and let’s face it, overindulgence even if only on Christmas day itself. It’s a time where for us fortunate enough, we are spending time with friends and family and we socialise and share our love via food. Whether it be the Christmas day feast or the nibbles and buffet spreads in the surrounding days, not forgetting New Year celebrations.
So that I don’t enter the new year a dress size higher, I like to keep a few healthier meals up my sleeve to offer an alternative to the temptation of mince pies, cookies and leftover vegan cauliflower cheese!
Soups and stews are a favourite and so I was thrilled when Legal & General asked me to be a part of their campaign to promote healthy living over the Christmas period with a soup recipe. Soups are a fantastic way to cram in tonnes of nutritious vegetables and are bulky and filling without being calorific (unless you fill them with butter and cream of course!) and they can be made ahead in bulk and frozen ready portioned for ease.
I also rely on juices and smoothies to fuel my body, counteract some of the debauchery and pack in some fruits and veggies. I aim for way more than my ‘five a day’ and 95% of the time, I get more; but a large homemade smoothie is an easy way to get most, if not all of the recommended minimum ‘five a day’.
I was sent this fantastic appliance for sharing the recipe and although it wasn’t big enough to make the bigger batch of soup, the juice setting was a revelation that allowed me to whip up a delicious juice whilst my soup simmered on the stove.
I chuckled as it looked a bit reminiscent of some kind of road digging power tool, but that was a bonus as it whizzed up a delicious juice in just 2 minutes, transforming my plain old pineapple juice into a creamy and frothy delight.
Pineapple, Orange and Basil Juice
- 1 litre (4 cups) chilled fresh pure pineapple juice (NOT from concentrate)
- 2 large peeled oranges
- 6 large basil leaves
Whizz all together in a blender until smooth and frothy.
Chickpea and Vegan Sausage Minestrone Soup
- 3 vegan sausages
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4 medium carrots, scrubbed or peeled, sliced into rounds
- 1 x 150g tube tomato puree (preferably one with added vegetables)
- 6 brown mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
- 2 turnips, peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 x 400g can chickpeas in water
- 100g pearl couscous (or small pasta, or quinoa)
- 1.5 litres (6 cups) water or vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp celery salt or seasoning blend
- a handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- Grill the sausages until golden, set aside.
- Over a medium heat in a large pot, saute the onion, celery and carrot in a little stock or water for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
- Add the tomato puree and stir around until it becomes fragrant, then add the mushrooms and turnips, turn up the heat a little and saute until the vegetables are lightly coloured.
- Add the drained chickpeas, couscous, dry seasonings (not the fresh basil) and stock or water. Bring to a boil, torn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes before adding the sliced sausage and fresh basil.
Very low in saturated fat
Very low in sodium
Very high in manganese
Very high in vitamin C
Low in saturated fat
High in dietary fiber
Very high in vitamin B6
High in vitamin C