When I started weaning Ioan onto solid food, he ate everything I put in front of him. Then, as he reached toddler stage, he began expressing preferences for the bland or sweet (or sausages). A few months ago, after starting pre-school, he suddenly started informing us that his favourite foods were “broccoli, carrots and peas” and his favourite meals (which he demanded every evening) were carrot soup or broccoli soup.
Finally! A child who likes vegetables. Each time he ate a floret of broccoli I’d wish there was someone around to observe this incredible fact, but of course that was never the case. People only noticed what he was eating if it was junk (possibly because that is what he eats 95% of the time).
In the evenings after nursery, Heinz tomato soup (aka “carrot soup”) became a bit of a staple if I knew he wouldn’t eat the main dinner I was preparing. And each time I said “Ioan, what delicious meal do you think I am preparing for dinner tonight” he’d hopefully ask “Broccoli soup?”. So of course, eventually I had to make broccoli soup, although not when Andrew was going to eat with us because he hates broccoli.
So I have started making a very simple broccoli soup for lunch and I love it and Ioan loves it, and each time he eats a spoonful I feel like I have been vaguely victorious as a parent.
This simple broccoli soup is thick and creamy and full of flavour, and also happens to be vegan. It can be bulked out with other green vegetables in your fridge, especially fresh spinach. Stir a handful in at the end before blitzing to give your soup a wonderfully vibrant green colour.
For me the most important thing to remember with broccoli soup is not to over-cook the broccoli, otherwise it looks dull green or grey. So chop the stalks up small, and leave the florets whole. Once cool, store in the fridge and it keeps well for 3 days, so perfect as a working lunch, al desko:
Although don’t let your cat eat it:
If you are so inclined you could stir in some cheese to the soup as you are re-heating it – strongly flavoured cheeses like blue cheese or cheddar work very well.
Simple broccoli soup – serves 6
1tsp olive oil, 2 heads of broccoli, 1 small cauliflower, 1 medium onion, 1tsp lazy garlic, 1 vegetable stock cube, enough water to cover the vegetables when cooking them, salt and pepper to taste
Firstly prepare your veg: remove the broccoli florets from the stalk and finely slice the stalk. Chop the cauliflower into small pieces. Dice the onion.
Add the oil to a large saucepan and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, broccoli and cauliflower and cover with water. Crumble in the stock cube and season with salt and black pepper.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender but not overcooked. Remove from the heat and blitz in a blender (I often use my handheld blender stick for soups) until smooth. Skim off any froth, taste and add more seasoning as needed.
Serve immediately with crusty bread and butter.
Other soup recipes to try: