With fall here and school in full swing, that can only mean two things – cooler weather and people getting sick. Now, while I love the cooler weather, I can live without the getting sick part. I mean, here we are only about 2 weeks into school and my youngest has already caught some sort of cold. So, to help prevent any more infectious outbreaks, I put together this wonderful soup. Not only is it a gorgeous color, but it is chock full of ingredients that are just perfect for strengthening your immune system for the long cold road ahead. And, if you look at some of these ingredients and think there’s no way your kid will eat it. Give it a try. The flavors blend nicely and suprisingly, both my kids loved it.
When shopping for this recipe, please, please, please buy organic ingredients. I know that organic can sometimes be a bit more expensive, but for a recipe like this it’s almost a necessity. With some of these ingredients being root veggies, you definitely want to make sure there were no chemicals used to grow them. Remember, we’re trying to make a soup that’s healthy for you, and the best way to do that is with organics. At this time of year, even the organic versions of these ingredients should be inexpensive.
Now, before I get into the recipe (which is so simple, it almost doesn’t qualify as an actual recipe), I want to touch on why I chose some of the ingredients that I did.
Onions. Rich in sulfur-containing compounds and the flavonoid quercetin, onions have been shown to have antibacterial benefits, lower our risk of several cancers and provide anti-inflammatory benefits. And, luckily for us, when onions are simmered to make soup, their quercetin doesn’t get degraded, it just gets transferred into the soup’s water. Keeping this key flavonoid intact ensures that we are getting all of it’s health benefits.
Beets. Beets are one of those veggies that, even if you don’t like them, you can’t argue with the fact that they just look like they’re good for you with that incredibly deep purple color. Turns out, the pigment that gives beets that deep dark color, betacyanin, is also a strong cancer-fighting agent.
Butternut Squash. All winter squash are incredibly healthy, and at this time of year are very, very inexpensive. Butternut squash, like all winter squash, is an excellent source of Vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and Vitamin C. Beta-carotene has beens shown to have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (noticing a trend here?)
Swiss Chard. As a “dark leafy green”, chard is incredibly high in it’s vitamin and mineral content. It’s an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A (beta-carotene), Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin E and more. Now, talking colds, you want a strong, efficient immune system. Just one cup of cooked chard provides 109.9% of the daily value of Vitamin A, 52.5% of the daily value of Vitamin C and 16.6% of the daily value of Vitamin E. Even with all the other great things in this soup, this particular ingredient is key in boosting the “healthy factor”.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil. With anti-inflammatory benefits, healthy fats, and support for your GI tract, olive oil is the perfect thing to round out the ingredients for this soup.
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 1 bunch of beets (the bunch I used had 3 decent size beets in it), peeled and chopped. Stems and leaves removed (I saved the leaves for another day)
- 1 large bunch of swiss chard, chopped (stems and leaves)
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt & fresh ground pepper (to taste)
- 1) Add oil to a large stock pot, until the bottom is covered. Heat over medium heat.
- 2) Add onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add beets and squash. Stir well.
- 3) Add enough water to completely cover the veggies. Bring water to a low boil. Cook for 10-12 minutes.
- 4) Add chard. Check your water level, if everythings not covered, add more. Cook for another 10-12 minutes, or until squash, beets and chard stems are soft.
- 5) Remove from heat.
- 6) If you have an immersion blender, use it to grind what’s in the pot until there are no more chunks and it’s smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, add the soup, in small increments to a blender and blend until smooth.
- 7) Add salt and pepper to taste.
- 8) Whatever you don’t eat, can be stored in mason jars (once cooled) and either stored in the fridge for a few days or frozen in your freezer for another time.