Ok, here we go! The colder weather is on its way here in the Northern Hemisphere. Out come the pans – warming soups are suddenly on the menu again. That nurturing, heart-warming feeling – ahhhhhh.
The thing everyone loves about soup is that you can make them all in one pot. That means they are relatively fuss-free and there is less washing up – hurrah!
The other thing about soup is that there are infinite ways you can make them. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever made the same soup twice (except when I am testing and developing my own recipes of course).
In this recipe, I am sharing a delicious rosemary inspired, tomato soup. It’s a sort of ‘cream of tomato’ soup that makes good use of red lentils and sweet potatoes, to make a well rounded, one-pot meal.
I couldn’t resist a generous dose of coconut cream too. The coconut brings it all together whilst creating the most delectable balance.
It’s really easy to make and keeps for days if you want to make a batch for tucking into all week long. It serves really nicely with my Gluten-free Vegan Soda Loaf Bread too.
Rosemary – a special herb that deserves a place in every conscious kitchen
Rosemary is one of my favourite herbs. I have a garden full of the stuff. In fact one of the first things I did when I moved here, many moons ago, planted lots of these herbs. Rosemary has deeply healing properties. It is said to help keep your mind clear and stop you going crazy (and I think in this day and age, we all could probably do with a bit of that).
I do admit, that when I’ve felt the force of life crushing in – whenever I rub fresh rosemary leaves and inhale its distinctive camphor fragrance, I feel instantly better.
Science had confirmed lots of the amazing benefits of rosemary – so it’s not all just in my mind (not that I am particularly scientific)…
Super brain food
Rosemary was traditionally associated with strengthening the memory and has been shown to stimulate the nervous system in the brain whilst increasing the flow of blood to the head. It also has been said that it contains compounds that stop the degradation of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter that ensures healthy memory and communication between the cells.
All round energizing stimulant AND relaxant
Rosemary is an all-round stimulant known for it’s uplifting, energizing qualities. It supports blood circulation, improves digestion, encourages healthy hair growth and the immune system. As if this weren’t enough, it also imparts the rather welcomed ability to calm and gently soothe at the same time as energizing.
Rosemary is an amazing anti-oxidant
Potent antioxidants within rosemary protect the body against free-radical damage. I remember reading that rosemary has been shown to contain carnosol and ursollic acid which are known to prevent melanoma and cancer, whilst caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid are well known for their antioxidant (and anti-inflammatory) benefits.
Rosemary has an excellent reputation as an anti-inflammatory and has been reported to relieve asthma, eczema, arthritis, gout and other inflammatory conditions. There are other herbs and spices that may be even more powerful at reducing inflammation, although, rosemary is certainly beneficial as an all-rounder, especially if it is something you begin to consume regularly in your diet.
Helps against fight or flight, adrenal fatigue and stress
Most of us live in a busy world that all too frequently mimics the ‘fight or flight’ mode of our ancestors. Fight or flight immediately puts us in a state of stress as the body experiences a cascade of the highly stimulating, cortisol hormone throughout the body. It is thought that rosemary (along with herbs like lavender) has the uncanny knack of being able to lower cortisol levels in the body. I don’t know the science of this, yet I can say that if I inhale the pungent scent of rosemary if I’m feeling some degree of internal stress, I experience a rapid re-centering in my body and calming of stress hormones. So this ability to help against adrenal fatigue and stress really does resonate with me personally – something definitely happens!
Creamy Rosemary Tomato Soup with Sweet Potato & Lentils
OK let’s make this delicious soup together!
I’ve written up my recipe here (handy to print too if you like)…
- Two tablespoons fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
- 1 onion (medium/large)
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 large sweet potato (500g approx)
- Dash of coconut oil
- 75g red lentils (just under 1/2 a cup)
- 625ml water (2 1/2 cups)
- 500ml passata (2 cups)
- Big twist black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 heaped teaspoon dried parsley (or small handful of fresh)
- 150ml coconut cream
- Remove the stalks from your fresh rosemary (and compost them). Finely chop the leaves as best as you can.
- Peel and chop the onion.
- Crush the garlic and remove the skin.
- Saute the onion and garlic in the coconut oil for a couple of minutes in a pan.
- In the meantime, chop your sweet potato into small cubes. Leave on the skin (for extra goodness), just chop off any bits that don't look good. However, saying that, if your sweet potato isn't organic then you might actually want to peel it.
- Add the water, passata, finely chopped rosemary, lentils and sweet potato to the pan, place on the lid and bring to the boil.
- Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add the parsley, salt, black pepper and coconut cream near the end of the cooking time.
- Blend until creamy (I use a hand blender in the pan, to save on washing up).
- Serve right away or over the next fews days (the flavours keep dancing so it tastes even more delicious the longer you keep it).
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