The primary antioxidant lycopene is found in higher quantities in cooked tomatoes than raw, while spinach is rich in iron, magnesium and vitamin C.
Whether consumed on their own or used in a recipe like this featured here, broth is among the most nutritious foods you can eat, full of amino acids and minerals. The collagen released when making bone broth has an amazing ability to repair the endothelial tissue (the lining of the small and large intestine), plus they are packed with calcium and magnesium which are essential for bone repair. Many of the minerals and amino acids in bone broth possess anti-inflammatory properties and, as such, can help with the prevention and treatment of many illnesses. In particular, chondroitin sulphate (a structural component of cartilage), glucosamine, zinc, calcium and magnesium are vital for reducing inflammatory effects within your body. Vegetable broth is a rich source of magnesium-laden vegetables – ideal for supporting hormone development in teenage girls as menstruation begins.
Spinach soup with slow-dried baby plum tomatoes
For the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 litre vegetable broth
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 kg spinach leaves
200g frozen peas
a good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
a squeeze of lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4-5 tablespoons reduced-fat crème fraîche (optional)
rosemary-infused olive oil to drizzle (optional)
For the tomatoes:
2 tablespoons fruity green olive oil
a few drops of balsamic vinegar
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
12 baby plum tomatoes, halved
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
To make the garnish, mix together the oil, vinegar and herbs. Pour onto a baking sheet and add the tomatoes, turning them in the oil. Lay tomatoes on the sheet, cut-side down, and season lightly with sea salt. Roast for at least 1 hour, checking occasionally to ensure they don’t brown or burn. When cooked, they should be soft and starting to shrivel and wrinkle with a concentrated sweet flavour. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, make the soup. Heat oil in a large pan and cook onion and potato over low heat until tender. Add broth and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, add the herbs and cook gently for 15-20 minutes. Stir in the peas and spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender.
Remove the rosemary sprig, transfer soup to a blender or food processor and blitz, in batches, until smooth – or use a stick blender off the heat. Return to the pan and season with nutmeg, lemon juice, salt and pepper. For a creamier consistency, stir in the crème fraîche. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve garnished with the slow-dried tomatoes and a drizzle of rosemary-infused olive oil.
Vicki Edgson is a practising nutritional therapist and Heather Thomas is a food writer; together, they are the authors of Broth (Jacqui Small), available from good bookstores, from which this recipe and image is reproduced with kind permission.
Pic credit: Lisa Linder