One of the biggest obstacles you may encounter when you try to get it right to eat more vegetables is, unfortunately, the fact that for many who’s lives are running on a very tight schedule, vegetable dishes take too much time to prepare!   That said, it is impossible to eat better for better health, weight loss or to prevent and treat diseases without increasing one’s intake of fresh or home-prepared vegetables.

Why should I not rely on instant and ready made food options only? 

At home you have  control over the ingredients you use.  More importantly, when vegetables dishes are prepared from scratch, it does not only taste better, but better nutrient composition and retention is almost guaranteed! The same can not be said of all convenience options and often ingredients used are not necessarily ideal.

For example, in mass produced ready made foods, sunflower or palm oleïen oil are often used as these options are more cost effective. These options however are less nutrient dense that e.g. cold pressed olive oil and for individuals with specific genetic variations, higher intake of these oils could increase inflammation in the body which would contribute to e.g. insulin resistance and associated obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Are prepared veggies as healthful as fresh? 

Levels of some of the more sensitive nutrients e.g. vitamin C, are reduced during prolonged exposure to heat. On the other hand, certain nutrients, e.g. the lycopene found in abundant quantities in tomatoes, actually become more available for absorption when exposed to heat – particularly in combination with fat…

Either way – raw or cooked – vegetables soups are a great way of cramming a load of goodness into a small space! In addition, they are usually not only easy to prepare but also cost effective.

This roasted tomato soup is a fantastic go-to quick light meal.  Serve it with with quality bread of choice or as is. It is so tasty, it’s good enough to serve as a starter for any dinner party. As it is so easy to prepare,  it is an ideal if you need to have your hands free to sit and relax on the couch with a glass of wine whilst enjoying the company of friends.

Creamy roasted tomato soup

Ingredients IMG_0739 

15 medium sized tomatoes (about 1,2 kg)
3 sweet red peppers or 2 red one and 1 yellow one if you buy a mixed packet
½ cup dairy cream or coconut cream
¼ cup olive oil
3 large sprigs of rosemary
6 large cloves of garlic
1 litre of quality vegetable or chicken stock (Ready made stock may be used provided it does not contain hydrogenated fat.)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
Salt and black pepper to taste.
1 – 2 tbs (15- 30 ml) of sugar (optional)
Fresh coriander or basil to serve (Use sweet basil if you use cream in this recipe and coriander if you use coconut cream.)

What you need

Large baking tray

Handheld or jug blender

What to do

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Slice the tomatoes in quarters.

IMG_0718Remove the pips from the sweet peppers and slice them in quarters as well.

Remove the outer layer from the garlic cloves.

Place the tomatoes, peppers, garlic and rosemary twigs on a baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Use your hands to ensure that the vegetables are well covered.
Bake for 30 – 45 minutes in the middle of the oven till the peppers are well roasted. The tomatoes will look quite shrivelled up by now.
Remove the baking tray from the oven and leave to cool slightly so that you can handle the sprigs of rosemary. Remove the leaves using your fingers and discard the stick – but not the leaves.

Add all the vegetables and herbs and roasted garlic to a large bowl or pot. Use some of the stock to blend the vegetables to a smooth puree. Now add the rest of the stock and cream or coconut cream.

Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste at this stage. Reheat in the pot or in a microwaveable bowl when you are ready to serve. Serve with fresh coriander or basil.

Serves 4