This week marks the festival of Lammas, traditionally the first harvest when the land is rich with abundance in the ripening crops in the fields, in our gardens, and in hedgerows and woodlands.
This soup is a wonderful, vibrant way to use up a glut of summer tomatoes with a twist of fresh basil for extra flavour.
It’s perfect to serve at a lammas meal to share with family and friends. If you want to make your own bread, see my recipe for a hearty wholemeal loaf here.
You can use whatever fresh greens you have handy to wilt into the soup towards the end of the cooking time – here I have suggested kale and watercress, but you could also use spinach, cabbage or even sea greens like samphire.
Tomatoes are a source of the anti-inflammatory agent lycopene. They’re great to eat fresh, raw or sun dried when in season to promote cellular healing. Tomatoes do grow in the UK (particularly well on the Isle of Wight) so look out for UK-grown tomatoes where you can, at farmers markets. I’ve also added turmeric (containing the anti-inflammatory agent curcumin) to this recipe for extra colour and a boost of immune boosting, anti-inflammatory goodness.
Wash your Tomatoes! Uses for Essential Oils
Tomatoes are one of the “dirty dozen” – the top 12 fruits and vegetables that are most likely to contain high pesticide residue. If you’re not buying organic tomatoes, make sure you wash them thoroughly before cooking. You can remove further residue by adding a drop of Castile soap (a gentle, concentrated and all-natural soap) to your washing water. I also use Doterra essential oils that are therapeutic grade and food safe (more on the incredible power of essential oils in future blog posts!), and add a drop or two of lemon oil to water before soaking vegetables. This works extremely well for removing extra dirt and residue.
Zero Waste Tips – Buying Fresh Greens
Buying fresh greens is notoriously difficult to do without buying excess plastic packaging. Here are my top tips:
- Visit supermarkets on Sunday afternoons about an hour before closing, as this tends to be when discounted food comes out. You can pick up fresh greens at a much cheaper price! A lot of greens get thrown away as food waste as the sell by dates are stringent, but the food is still perfectly fresh and good to eat. If it would be thrown away anyway, then you are avoiding food waste even if it does come in plastic packaging.
- Visit farmers markets – often greens like kale and spinach will be available unpackaged. A lot of local growers are open to changing to paper packaging too, if you voice your concerns.
- Visit local greengrocers and Asian supermarkets, as you can often find fresh greens unpackaged here.
Summer Reds & Greens Soup
Approx 10 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
6 mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 veggie stock cube
1 bunch of fresh basil (25 g), roughly chopped
3 handfuls of kale, chopped
500 g watercress, chopped
Large pinch turmeric
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp brown cane sugar
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Saute the onions, garlic, and mushrooms in the oil for 5-10 minutes, until softened and browned. Add the tomatoes, salt and a few grinds of black pepper and saute for a further 5 minutes, until just softened.
Add the stock, basil, turmeric, balsamic vinegar and sugar and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook the soup for 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are starting to break down, but not completely mushy.
Use a stick blender to blend the soup or transfer to a stand-up blender. Blend roughly – you want some chunks to remain! Add the fresh greens to the hot soup and mix well to wilt them down, 2-3 minutes.
Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if needed. Serve topped with toasted seeds and / or olive oil, and some nutritional yeast flakes if you like.