I used to think soup was boring. A quick and easy lunch option, but not particularly filling unless accompanied by large chunks of thick, white bread! Tinned soups are so full of salt and sugar and while they may seem like a simple choice, this freshly made ramen style broth is so much more filling, full of a zillion health benefits and ridiculously super easy to make.
Stock can be made in advance and kept frozen, then it’s literally a case of throwing everything in and simmering the soup for 10 mins.
6 tender stem broccoli
2 baby pak choi
4 baby leeks
3 spring onions
Handful of shiitake mushrooms
Fresh chives to garnish
2 cloves of garlic
Small peeled chunk of ginger
Juice of 1 lime
4 star Anise
2 servings of buckwheat noodles
Handful of coriander (cilantro) and sprinkling of sesame seeds to serve
Here is why this immune boosting soup is so incredibly healthy;
Shiitake mushrooms are widely referred to as “medicinal mushrooms” due to their long history of medical use, particularly in oriental medicine traditions. No health benefit is better documented for shiitake mushroom than immune support. The immune support properties for this mushroom are fascinating. On the one hand, studies have shown the ability of whole shiitake mushrooms to help prevent excessive immune system activity. On the other hand, an equal number of studies have shown the ability of shiitake mushrooms to help stimulate immune system responses. In other words, from a dietary perspective, shiitake mushrooms appear able to enhance immune function in both directions, giving it a boost when needed, and cutting back on its activity when needed. These immune regulating beauties are fantastic for those of us with autoimmune disorders.
Broccoli’s nutritional profile is impressive. It contains high levels of fibre (both soluble and insoluble) A 100 gram serving of broccoli will provide you with more than 150% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Broccoli contains a compound called sulfophane. Sulforaphane can block cartilage-destroying enzymes by intercepting a molecule that causes inflammation.
Pak Choi or Bok Choi as it’s sometimes known, is a brilliant source of vitamin C, which helps us to fight off infection and keep are immune systems robust. Pak Choi is a great source of vitamins B2, B6, C, A, K, beta carotene, folic acid, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc.
Leeks contain important amounts of the flavonoid kaempferol, which has repeatedly been shown to help protect our blood vessel linings from damage.
Spring onions contain carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. These exert an eye-protective effect. In addition the vitamin A content of spring onions plays a vital role in maintaining normal vision and keeping your eyes healthy. They are also found to protect the eyes from inflammation and fight against macular degeneration — a clinical condition that results in loss of vision.
The choline in chives is an important nutrient that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.
Garlic boosts the function of the immune system. Studies have also found garlic supplementation to have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure. In many instances, supplementation can be as effective as regular medications.
Scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.
The health benefits of lime include weight loss, skin care, improved digestion, relief from constipation, eye care, treatment peptic ulcers, respiratory disorders, gout, gums and urinary tract infections.
Star anise is the primary source of shikimic acid, a plant-based compound that is the precursor to oseltamivir, an antiviral medication which you may have heard of marketed as Tamiflu. Shikimic acid helps ramp up immune function to better resist viral infection. In addition South Korean researchers found that extracts of star anise exhibited strong antifungal properties when tested against Candida albicans (a form of fungi that can grow unhindered in the body, leading to an infection, known as candidiasis)
Contrary to its name, buckwheat is not in any way related to wheat. This seed is a gluten free power food! It grows so quickly that it does not usually require a lot of pesticides or other chemicals to grow well. Great for treating water retention, lowering high blood pressure and helpful in the management of diabetes.
Coriander is a super useful herb if you suffer from psoriasis and associated arthritis. Coriander contains Cineole and linoleic acid. These components possess anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic properties, they help to reduce the swelling that is caused by these two conditions.
Sesame seeds contain sesamin. Sesamin has been proven to lower cholesterol and to prevent high blood pressure. It’s also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage.
To make a stock
I make my veggie stock using a wide variety of whatever’s in the fridge! It usually consists of veg that needs using up. Today’s was made with celery, carrots, red and white onions, bay leaves, salt and paper. Chop everything, put it in a pan, add salt and pepper to season and cover with a couple of litres of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for a good hour. Add more water to the stock if it’s losing liquid too quickly. You want to be left with around 1 litre by the time your stock is ready.
To make the soup
Warm 700ml of veg stock and 300ml of water in a pan. (you may want to change the ratio depending on how strong tasting your stock is) Allow to simmer gently. Throw all the ingredients in starting with the buckwheat noodles. Continue to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, just long enough for the noodles to soften. The veg will stay lovely, bright green and crunchy, retaining all it’s wonderful vitamins.
Serve in a large soup bowl, sprinkle with sesame seeds and coriander.