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This soup came about because of a pile of root veggies sitting in my veggie box. When I have beetroot, I usually bake it and make a salad with avocado, nuts, seeds, that sort of thing. Or steam it and serve it as a veggie. But I wanted to do something different, and this was the result.
This is a really delicious soup – and fantastically good for you, too. A combination of sweet, earthy beetroot and carrot, with the creamy cannellini beans and herby parsley make a great flavour combination. What’s more, this soup is great for cleansing and boosting your immune system. Beetroot has powerful detoxing qualities (mainly from the antioxidant betacyanin) as well as being rich in iron and folic acid (which help prevent anaemia and fatigue). The humble carrot is one of the richest sources of beta-carotene which helps fight infection and colds, as well as enhancing vision, skin and digestive function. Carrots and beetroots are also fantastic sources of fibre – as cannellini beans are, too. And this is a great example of how you don’t need to spend tons of money on ingredients to eat nutrient-dense food. Excellent!
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free
Serves 4 Preparation time 10 minutes, plus soaking the beans Cooking time 1½ hours
- 200g/7oz/1 cup dried cannellini beans
- ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 celery stick, chopped
- 4 beetroots, peeled and diced
- 4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1.25l/44fl oz/5 cups gluten-free and dairy-free vegetable Stock, boiling, plus extra if needed
- 1 handful parsley leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- dairy-free yogurt, to serve (optional)
- coriander leaves, to serve (optional)
- Put the cannellini beans in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, cover with warm water and leave to soak, covered, for 12 hours or overnight.
- Drain and rinse the beans and put in a large saucepan. Cover with 1.2l/40fl oz/4¾ cups water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Boil vigorously for 10 minutes, skimming any scum that rises to the surface, then turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer for 1 hour, until the beans are tender. Drain and leave to one side.
- When the beans are nearly cooked, heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat until hot. Add the onion and fry for 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to turn golden, then stir in the garlic. Add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2–3 minutes, then add the carrots and beetroot. Pour in the stock and season lightly with salt. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, for 15–20 minutes until the carrots and beetroot are soft.
- Add the cooked beans and parsley, then blend the soup until smooth and add more salt, to taste, and pepper. Serve hot with a spoonful of yogurt drizzled over and some coriander leaves sprinkled on top, if you like.
This is a wonderfully robust soup – with a great mixture of flavours from the sweet, earthy chestnuts, the salty pancetta and the aromatic rosemary. It makes a lovely lunch-time soup for 4 – or a evening bowl for 2. And if your toddler can tolerate nuts, it’s guaranteed to be a hit with him or her.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to forage or get some fresh chestnuts, all good. Simply cut a cross in the top of them and roast in the oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 for about 10 minutes. Then just peel and use. Or, of course, you can use the vacuum-packed chestnuts you can buy in packets. With these you just soak the packets in boiling water for a minute or so, before opening.
gluten-free, wheat-free, yeast-free, dairy-free, soya-free, egg-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Preparation time 5 minutes Cooking time 20 minutes Serves 4
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 200g/7oz pancetta
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 celery stalk, sliced
- ½ leek, sliced
- 2 tbsp chopped rosemary leaves
- 400g/14oz cooked chestnuts
- 1.2l/42fl oz/scant 5 cups stock made with gluten- and dairy-free stock powder
- sea salt (optional as the pancetta is already salty) and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat until hot. Add the pancetta and fry for 5–6 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and leave to one side.
- Put the onion in the saucepan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Fry for 2–3 minutes, stirring frequently, until just starting to turn golden. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring all the time. Add the carrot, celery and leek and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, until the leek starts to turn translucent. Stir in the rosemary and chestnuts and cook for a further 5 minutes until the carrot is starting to soften. Add the cooked pancetta and pour in the stock. Season lightly, turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender.
- Using a immersion blender or blender, whiz the mixture to make a slightly textured soup. Serve hot.
I’m now in week 3 of the 4-week Cleanse 28 from Arise & Shine – the Power Phase. Peter says I look glowing (yay!) and I’ve now lost a total of 5½ kilos. I’m finding that I’m full of energy – and definitely more clear-thinking. When I get tired at the end of the day, I’m really tired (which is how it should be, I guess) so I’m sleeping incredibly deeply.
On this week’s the schedule, I’m having 4 shakes throughout the day and veggie juices and lunch. (Next week will just be shakes and veggie juices.)
What’s still amazing to me is just how do-able this all is. It sounds daunting and yet I’m not finding it too difficult to do. One of the things that’s lovely about following a diet like this is how much you start to appreciate the taste of the food you eat. Without any seasoning, sauces or other ingredients, you start to really appreciate the pure, natural taste of the fruit and veggies. I remember when I did this detox before, I had just bought a fantastic new saucepan that had a very heavy base. I cooked some veggies in it over a very, very low heat and they steamed very gently in their own juice. This method brought out the sweetness of those veggies and made them utterly delicious. I’ve been doing this again this time, and I’ve also been having a lot of steamed veggies, too. My favourite, I’ve decided, is definitely broccoli – and the combination of beetroot, carrot, broccoli and spinach is awesome!
- 3 beetroots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into large batons or slices
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into large florets
- 200g/7oz baby-leaf spinach
- extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Put the beetroots in a steamer and steam, covered, over a high heat for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and steam for another 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and steam for another 2 minutes, then add the spinach and steam for 1–2 minutes until wilted. By now, all the vegetables should be cooked but still either firm or crunchy. Serve hot with a little oil drizzled over.
This is a brilliant juice, again from Christine Bailey’s Juice Diet. Utterly jammed with protective antioxidants, this is surprisingly delicious – tasting slightly like a juice-version of a gazpacho, with the garlic and tomatoes. You can buy tomato or vegetables juices ready-made in health food shops but this is so simple to make and miles better in terms of nutrients and taste.
Watercress and spinach provide iron and vitamin C for energy and stamina, while the medley of veggies is packed full of protective phytonutrients. Garlic contains powerful detoxifying and immune-boosting compounds, and is a powerful antibiotic, helping to clear infections, especially in the digestive tract, and is an effective decongestant, useful in the relief of cold and cough symptoms. Brilliant for winter-time!
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Makes enough for 1 person
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 small garlic clove
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 large handful spinach and watercress leaves
- 2 carrots
- Juice all the ingredients and mix well.
Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 107kcal • Protein 5g • Carbohydrates 18.7g [of which sugars 17.1g] • Fat 1.9g
I’ve started a detox this weekend. I haven’t done one since before I got pregnant with Zoë and I fell like a really need to do one. Over the summer I ate lots of sugary foods and I’m really noticing the effect – I’ve put on weight and I’m feeling really tired, especially after eating, and I don’t feel refreshed when I wake up in the morning. Of course, when you have a small child, it’s hard to tell whether tiredness is due to broken nights or your general health. But the fact that I’m really craving sweet food and I’m also waking up at the classic sugar-rush time during the early hours of the morning are telling me that it’s time to detox.
I’m going to do a combination of the detox plans from one of my all-time favourite books, Clean Up Your Diet by Max Tomlinson and herbs from the A Vogel Detox Box. I first met Max about 10 years ago and he has been an incredible inspiration in my life ever since – and he recommended this detox kit. It is made up of tincture mixes of Milk Thistle, which is meant to help your liver function, which in turn helps your body to eliminate toxins, Solidago which is a traditional tonic for your kidneys, helping to reduce fluid retention and things like puffy eyes, Frangula which is said to aid digestion and is a mild laxative and Calendula which is wonderful for boosting your immune system.
So, I’m going to cut out all alcohol, sugar, packaged, tinned or processed foods and red meat. And I’m going to seriously boost my intake of fruit and veggies and eat just organic chicken or fish. On top of that, I need to drink 2 litres of water a day, minimize my salt intake, do food combining, try not to eat after 8pm, and try to make lunch my biggest meal of the day. I’ll probably have a juice for breakfast every day and have a handful of nuts and seeds, too. And then I think I’ll try to do the protein/veggies combo – with probably a huge salad – for lunch and then the low-GI carbs/veggies combo – again with a large salad – for as early a dinner as I can possibly do. And I’ll snack on fruit and veggies during the day.
Here goes – wish me luck! This was my juice this morning. It’s a classic but I love it because of the taste and also the beautiful colours –
- 3 beetroots, scrubbed and ends removed
- 4 large carrots, scrubbed and ends removed
- 2.5cm/1in piece of root ginger
- Push the ingredients through an electric juicer and serve immediately.