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Hearty vegetable soup

We have been making this soup for years in our home, and it actually became a lockdown ritual last year on Sunday’s - my husband would prepare it and pop it on the stove gently simmering away while we went for a bush walk. It’s also become our go to postpartum meal to make for new parents as it is such a nourishing meal.

It needs the time, ideally 2 or 3 hours, to build depth of flavour so I don’t recommend skipping this part! And the thyme is crucial, fresh is best. It’s a hearty, fibre-filled, iron-rich meal that gives you a couple of leftover bowls the next day, when it tastes possibly even better. Blend it up if you want to serve as a puree to baby, but it’s also soft enough for little toddlers to eat. As the days turn cooler I can’t think of a better meal, that is heavy on plants and filled with nutrients, to warm the soul :)

Prep: 20 mins

Cook: 2-3 hours

Makes: 4 bowls

Freeze? Yes

Suitable for bub? 9 months+

Vegan, Gluten Free

2 tablespoon of olive oil

2 carrots, finely diced

1 zucchini, finely diced

2 celery stalks, finely diced

1 tablespoon of fresh or dried thyme, finely sliced

1 clove of garlic, finely diced (optional)

1/2 cup of lentil soup mix (I love this one)

1 can of cannellini beans, drained

1 can of diced tomatoes

3 cups of vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup of spinach or kale leaves, torn

To serve (optional)

Grated parmesan

Fresh parsley, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

Toast with basil pesto

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat, and add in the carrots, zucchini, celery, thyme and garlic. Stir occasionally to prevent from burning, and after a few minutes, add the soup mix.

Add the stock and tomatoes, stir well and bring to the boil then reduce to a very low simmer. Place a lid on the saucepan and ideally leave it gently simmering away for up to 3 hours, stirring every now and then. This is what gives the soup depth of flavour so try to leave it as long as you can, but if you are short on time 1 hour will suffice. Drain the beans and keep half whole and mash up the other half with a fork. Stir this into the soup along with the spinach or kale leaves, and give the soup a final drizzle of olive oil then turn the heat off.

This is delicious served with grated parmesan and parsley on top, a side of toast buttered or spread with basil pesto, and salt and pepper.

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