Confessions first this early New Year – I haven’t quite or completely got back on track in a serious way! I am blaming illness in the house (and beyond) for this but I also must take some responsibility for the natural urge I have after the holidays to still opt for a bit of comfort food. By that I mean the ‘treats’ that go hand in glove with Christmas.
Thankfully the Mince Pies, Christmas Cake and other baked goodies have long gone and I have given away any other non-too-healthy options or trashed them. But I still find myself veering towards some easy, carb-laden options for instant gratification.
From years gone by I have found the easiest way to deal with this is to succumb a little but make it work for me. Carbs aren’t the enemy by a long way although some (for me) take on a bigger role than they should. So I make some dips, salads, soups, stews and other meals that still have the complex ones in (and are more than tasty and satisfying and have great fibre) so that I wean myself down from the peak consumption to a more manageable and sustainable one.
For me that works – no denial, no beating myself up, no remorse and a sensible plan to reach a more nourishing maintenance mode.
Of course January is the time when we all find the budget is tight and purse and wallet strings are firmly pulled in (along with the stomach). Plus it’s so-called Soup Month here in the UK. What better then than to make a deliciously sweet and earthy parsnip soup flavoured with ginger and other fragrant spices, and boost the protein with a handy can of chick peas? I also often add a scoop of flavourless protein powder to my soups to boost it further – and it works well with this combo.
You can freeze this soup, for up to about 3 months, but freeze without the chickpeas – add these later after reheating the soup.
If you’re early post-op and want a smooth soup then add the chick peas to the parsnip base and blitz until smooth to serve.
I shall be taking a portion of this soup in a Thermos with me whilst on the road this week with a slice of my protein bread (see recipe here) for company.
TIGHT-BUDGET PARSNIP AND GINGER SOUP WITH CHICK PEAS
low-fat cooking spray or mist
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped root ginger or Lazy ginger
1¼ tsp ground cumin
500 g/1 lb parsnips, peeled and diced into bite-sized cubes
1 vegetable stock/bouillon cube, made up to 1 litre/4¼ cups with water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400 g/14 oz can chick peas, drained and patted dry with kitchen paper
½ tsp ground coriander
lemon juice to season
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 220 C/425 F/gas mark 7, and line a baking tray with non-stick paper or easy glide.
- Generously spritz a large pan with low-fat cooking spray or mist. Heat, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger and 1 tsp of the cumin and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the parsnips, stock and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes until the parsnips are very tender.
- Meanwhile, spritz the chick peas with low-fat cooking spray or mist, add the ground coriander and remaining cumin and toss to mix. Place in a single layer on the baking tray and roast for 20-25 minutes until golden and crisp.
- Blitz the parsnip soup until smooth in a blender, food processor or with a hand blender. Reheat if necessary, check and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
- Toss the chick peas in the chopped fresh coriander/cilantro and scatter over the soup to serve.
WLS PORTION: ½
V suitable for Vegetarians
CALORIES PER PORTION: 188
PROTEIN: 8 g
CARBOHYDRATE: 29.8 g
FAT: 4.2 g
Image courtesy of tesco.com