A time for health: Super simple roast beetroot soup
I may have misled you the other day, in fact I told an outright porky pie. I mentioned that I had made beetroot soup using this recipe – when in fact I did nothing of the sort. Necessity is the mother of invention and time was exceedingly tight so beetroot were tossed into the oven with an onion, added to hot stock and herbs in the Vitamix and blitzed. And that’s it. It’s the beetroot equivalent of my iphone tomato soup recipe and no less easy, tasty or satisfying. You could add more stock and make it drinkable but as I’ve been following Jumpstart 15 where I have soup for lunch I wanted a scoopable texture which would fill my mouth and tummy with substance and silkiness.
So the impact of advancing years on my metabolism have made and impact. I’ve never been on a ‘diet’ in my life. If overeating strikes (and as a keen eater and food blogger in Dubai this is ridiculously easy) I just try to eat sensibly. That’s it. There are no scales in my house, you just know when you start feeling uncomfortable round the middle. If there’s anything I follow it’s the Michael Pollen mantra:
There’s no calorie counting. Why do I think this is a good thing? The whole concept of calories is outdated and inaccurate. It’s a simplistic measurement of available energy in foods devised in the 19th century; a calorie is the amount of energy required to heat one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. This doesn’t take into account the complexity and diversity of the digestive system (let alone how the food is prepared) and how much energy each individual actually derives from what’s available. It also assumes that all calories are equal, so 100 calories of chocolate will have the same effect as 100 calories of spinach (which you don’t need scientists to point out is flawed).
The beauty of Jumpstart 15 is that it makes you plan healthy choices for breakfast and lunch, and you eat what you like for dinner. As someone who often eats two slices of toast to start the day, the breakfast smoothie has been an easy habit to start and something I’ve been looking forward to after my morning dog walk.
Lunch is soup – another vegetable-based (or could be vegan for those doing Veganuary)meal (although there is nothing wrong with a meaty version). I’ve not cut out bread but limited myself to a single sour dough or wholemeal slice at the end of the bowl if I’m still feeling hungry.
Late afternoon is always the time that I might reach for a snack so I’m making sure I choose fruit or a few nuts. I have a small glass of wine with dinner (I never eat pudding at home unless entertaining so this is not an issue).
So Jumpstart 15 for me is:
- A smoothie for breakfast with as much organic, local veg from the farmers market as possible
A veggie-heavy soup for lunch with one slice of grain bread maximum
Making an effort to drink more water (I’ll still drink tea)
Fruit, veg or a few nuts as a snack
A normal meal with my family in the evening including a glass of wine
If I’m eating out I’ll try to keep it in moderation (book club wine exempt!)
Plus I’ve upped the pace and distance of my dog walk, doing Vinyasa yoga twice a week and running up and down stairs on the hour as a break from my desk.
Back to this soup. It’s the easiest thing to whip up if you have a power blender and I’m sure an ordinary blender or processor would work well too. It’s peppery, earthy but very clean in taste and feels like a treat for lunch.
Roast beetroot soup
- 4 medium beetroot (you could keep the leaves on)
- 1 large onion
- 1-2 sprigs of fresh herbs, leaves picked (I used 2 sprigs of thyme and 2 of marjoram)
- 500 – 600 ml hot vegetable stock (I use Swiss Marigold Bouillon powder)
- Black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with foil and place the beetroot and onion onto it (no need to peel the onion or trim the beetroot). Cover with another sheet of foil and seal the edges.
- Bake in the oven for an hour or until the vegetables are soft when pierced with a knife). Remove the outer layer of the onion and discard.
- Put the stock, beetroot, onion and herbs into your blender and blitz until perfectly smooth. Add more stock if you want a thinner texture. Add black pepper to taste.
If you are tempted to join in but want more reassurance that this is a sensible eating plan to follow, Kellie, a health educationist and nutrition adviser with Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, and leading healthy eating blogger of Food to Glow got me started on this. For more inspiration (they inspired me too) see what Monica of Smarter Fitter, Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes, Elizabeth of the eponymous Kitchen Diary, Sarah of Maison Cupcake, Kate of Veggie Desserts, Nazima and Pierre of Franglais Kitchen, Michelle of Utterly Scrummy, Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and Ren Behan. Simple and in Season – this recipe truly is! Visit Ren and Sarah for more delicious recipes that fit the description.
Do share any #Jumpstart 15 pics, posts etc with the hashtag so everyone can see what you are up to. Have you been tempted to change your eating habits in January? How are you getting on?