Broccoli Soup with Roasted Almonds

On a Monday I like pacifying my conscience by cooking a super healthy soup to make up for any extra calories I eat (or drink) over the weekend.

I opened my fridge and noticed the big broccoli head I bought from the garden shop last Friday.

For a long time, the nutritional benefits of broccoli were overlooked.  Nowadays, there is more awareness about the importance of greens in our diets and broccoli is one superfood which is used more often.

Ideally, you eat it raw or lightly steamed.  However if you have to cook it, keep the cooking time to a minimum and benefit from the whole head – florets, leaves and stalks.

In this recipe, I make it a point to capture the nutrients lost through cooking into a hearty soup. Very often, broccoli soup contains cream or a strong cheese.  I chose to thicken my soup by adding root vegetables and compliment the broccoli with roasted almonds.

Broccoli Soup with Roasted Almonds


1 large broccoli head

1 large onion

2 carrots

2 potatoes

½ cup almond milk (unsweetened)

750 – 1 ltr vegetable stock

1 tbsp olive oil

½ cup roasted almonds


  1. Wash and chop the vegetables. Peel the stalk of the broccoli and chop.
  2. Sauté the onion for a few minutes until it gets a golden brown tinge at the edges.
  3. Add the chopped carrots and potatoes, stir and sauté for 3-4 minutes. If the mixture is dry, add half a cup of vegetable stock and stir.
  4. Add the broccoli florets, chopped broccoli leaves and stalks. Mix well and sauté for further 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add enough stock without covering the vegetables (adding too much stock will make the soup watery).
  6. Bring soup to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until root vegetables are tender.
  7. Cool slightly, and process partially with a hand blender. (If you prefer a completely smooth soup, you can process all the soup in food processor).
  8. Stir in the almond milk and warm gently without bringing soup to the boil.
  9. Serve in warmed soup plates with a sprinkle of roughly chopped roasted almonds on top.


Colette’s Kitchen

Have you stumbled upon Colette’s Kitchen on Facebook? I chose to go for a closed group  to build a community of like-minded people.  If you’re not interested in home cooking and good food, you’re free to opt out. But if you’re interested, I share no fuss recipes which are easy to follow through step-by-step photos.  I also make it a point to vary my recipes to give you ideas what you can cook at home.

When I go out for a meal, I share my choices to give you options you may wish to consider yourself.

Eating “healthy” does not mean living on a permanent diet.  If you’re a food lover, like I am, feeling deprived from various foods would be very depressing.  I love dining out.  The secret or challenge (depends which way you look at it) is to make the right choices.  It is true to say, it will be difficult to manage your weight if you eat out every day.  However, if you balance things out, you will manage to enjoy good food and a trim waisteline.

Here are some of the food ideas I prepared and shared on Colette’s Kitchen, over the past days.

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In reply to requests received on FB, I shared the recipes for the Vegetable Curry and the Overnight Oats.

If you would like any of these recipes, drop me a line and I’d be happy to share.

Roast Root Vegetables

How to make Roast Root Vegetables

Do you like root vegetables?  Do you use them often?  I used to use them sparingly, until on New Year’s Day I decided to roast a selection of root vegetables as a side dish.  It was devoured!  Some members of my family got up for second helpings of vegetables.

Since then, roasted root vegetables have become one of my staples for Sunday lunch.

Are root vegetables good for you?

The yellow-orangish root vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, are loaded with beta-carotene, which is either converted into vitamin A in the body or acts as an antioxidant protecting you against harmful free radicals.

Beetroots are super good for you.  They are very high in iron and folate.  They also contain nitrates, betaine, magnesium and other antioxidants.  Recent studies suggest that beetroots can help lower blood pressure.

Fennel is another bulbous vegetable which is high in vitamin C and fibre.  It has a sweet taste of licorice. The entire plant is edible and it makes a fresh, crunchy addition to salads.  Roasting brings out the sweetness of the vegetable, although admittedly it loses some of its nutrients through cooking.

Are root vegetables good for diabetics?

Some root vegetables are higher in sugars than others.  Or shall I say, they have a high GI which means their sugars enter the blood stream quickly.  However, eaten in small to moderate amounts and accompanied by foods, predominantly high in fibre, the effect of the sugar content is slowed down, significantly.

To accompany the roasted root vegetables, today I chose an ingredient which is high in protein and fibre – pasta made with red lentil flour. I also added zucchini to help digestion and add ‘green’ to my plate.

Lentil Pasta with Roast Root Vegetables
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins

An unusual plate of pasta bulked up with sweet roast vegetables and zucchini. I served it warm, but it is equally tasty served at room temperature.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: legumes, Plant-based
Servings: 2 people
Author: Colette Cumbo
  • 160 grms Pasta made with red lentil flour
  • 190 grms Sweet potato
  • 100 grms New potatoes
  • 120 grms Onions
  • 150 grms Carrots
  • 150 grms Parsnips
  • 250 grms Fennel bulb
  • 300 grms Zucchini
  • 40 grms Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp Ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp Parsley (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat oven to 240o C. Peel the onions, scrub the root vegetables and chop into equal size pieces. Do not peel the garlic head.

  2. Line a roasting dish with heavy duty foil and place the vegetables in a single layer.  You may need to use a couple of dishes, but keep vegetables in a single layer, because otherwise they steam not roast.

  3. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with ground cumin, coriander and pepper.  

  4. Roast in warm oven for 25-30 minutes, turning vegetables over every 10 minutes to ensure even cooking.

  5. Whilst roasting the vegetables, bring a small pot of water to the boil.  Add 1/2 tsp of cooking salt and add the pasta.  Stir, and follow cooking instructions on the packet.  (The pasta I used required 5-7 minutes for al dente pasta).  Drain.

  6. When the vegetables are roasted, peel the garlic and add the cloves to the rest of the vegetables.  Serve with warm pasta and a good sprinkle of chopped parsley.

    Roast Root Vegetables
Recipe Notes

Nowadays, supermarkets carry various gluten free pasta.  I opted for one made from red lentil flour. It has no other flour added.  

If you do not wish to use gluten free pasta, the recipe works well with wholegrain pasta.

You may add a tablespoon of dressing (extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar and 1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard) to your pasta.  This is optional as the roasting juices from the vegetables are enough to dress the pasta.



How to make the best of your Broccoli

Do you benefit from cooking seasonal vegetables?  Going for fruit and veg when in season is kind to your health and to your pocket.

From October through to April, broccoli are at their best. They’re not expensive to buy and you can use them in a variety of ways. Once harvested, the shelf-life of the broccoli is rather short and a yellowish hue is the first indication that the broccoli head is not fresh.  When shopping, choose broccoli heads which are tight and heavy in weight.

If you buy your veg from a farmers market or similar, ask for broccoli heads with leaves intact. Ideally, you get organic vegetables but if it’s not possible, wash your broccoli head and leaves well, under running water to remove all traces of pesticide.

Why are Broccoli good for you?

Broccoli are a member of the cabbage family.  Together with a number of other vegetables such as kale, collard greens, bok choy, brussels sprouts and a number of others, they’re known as cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are loaded with vitamins and promote weight loss.

Broccoli are often referred to as a superfood.  The florets are a great source of vitamins K and C.  They also provide folic acid, potassium and fiber. The leaves are also high in fibre and they are an very good source of vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, selenium, vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, and potassium.

Baking your broccoli is one way of enjoying this super nutritious vegetable.

Quinoa with Roasted Broccoli and Almonds

Broccoli leaves are tender and nutritious.  For maximum benefit, eat your broccoli florets and chopped leaves raw, by adding them to your salad. Broccoli leaves can also be sautéed or baked in the oven.

Quinoa with Roasted Broccoli and Almonds
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins

This warm salad provides you with protein from the quinoa, healthy fat from the almonds and plenty of vitamins from the broccoli head and its leaves.  A cup of broccoli also provides you with 11 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of protein.

Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Plant-based
Servings: 2 people
Author: Colette Cumbo
  • 2 Fresh onions (you can use leeks)
  • 1 Medium-sized broccoli head (leaves intact)
  • 10 Baby plum tomatoes (halved)
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 50 grms Roasted almonds (chopped)
  • 1 cup Quinoa (I used white, red and black quinoa)
  • 1 3/4 cups Vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar (raw)
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  1. Peel onions and rinse vegetables under running water

  2. Break broccoli head into florets and tear leaves into pieces (do not tear them into tiny pieces). 

  3. Line a roasting dish with heavy duty foil, place the broccoli florets, onions and tomatoes.  Add 2 tbsp olive oil.

  4. Roast at 200C for 10 minutes. Bring dish out of the oven and add the broccoli leaves. Turn with a spatula so that the leaves get a light covering of oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for a further 10 minute.

  5. In the meantime, rinse the quinoa under running water and bring the vegetable stock to the boil. Tip in quinoa and stir well. Cover with tight fitting lid, bring back to the boil and lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 12-13 minutes until stock is completely absorbed.

  6. When stock is absorbed, turn off the heat and leave the quinoa to stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

  7. In a screw top jar mix the extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and maple syrup.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Shake well.

  8. Mix quinoa with roasted vegetables and plate.  Serve with roasted almonds on top and 2 tbsp dressing.

My thanks go to:

Dr Axe and

Plant Smart Living


Curried Soups Will Make You Feel Warm

Do you find soups to be a complete meal in a bowl?

Curried Marrow and Sweet Potato
Curried Marrows and Sweet Potato Soup with Roasted Cashews

This is one of those soups which I knocked together, on the spur of the moment, with store cupboard ingredients.


The result is a heart-warming and nutritious comfort food, ideal for a cold winter’s day.  It makes an excellent meal for the lunch box as well as a satisfying supper, when eaten with some crusty bread.



Curried Marrows and Sweet Potato with Roast Cashews
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr
In this soup, the curry enhances the mild taste of marrows and sweet potato. It gives the soup a kick - a come-to winter warmer. The ground cashews add bite and body to the soup.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Plant-based
Servings: 4 people
Author: Colette Cumbo
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (raw)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • fresh ginger (one inch piece)
  • 2 tbsps curry powder (medium heat)
  • 800 grms marrows (long thin ones)
  • 350 grms sweet potato (with skin on)
  • 900 ml vegetable stock
  • 165 ml coconut milk (full fat)
  • 70 grms roasted cashews (ground)
  • 10 grms roasted cashews (whole)
  • coriander leaves
  • salt and pepper
  1. Wash marrows and scrub sweet potato - chop roughly.

  2. Roughly mince chopped onion, garlic and ginger in food processor. (If you do not have a food processor or chopper, chop very finely with knife).

  3. In a large pot, heat coconut oil and add minced onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking or burning. Add the curry and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

  4. Add the roughly chopped marrows and potatoes to the curry mixture and stir until vegetables are well-coated. You may need to add some of the vegetable stock, if the mixture is too dry.

  5. Lower the heat, cover the pot and sweat the vegetables for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

  6. Pour in the vegetable stock. Shake the canned coconut milk well and add, along with the stock. Give the soup a good stir and cover with a tight-fitting lid.

  7. Bring to the boil, lower the heat to barest minimum and simmer for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave soup to cool for 10-15 minutes.

  8. With a hand blender, process the vegetables until smooth and stir in the ground cashews.

  9. Warm soup gently for a few minutes, stirring in the cashews to blend completely. Season to taste.

  10. Serve piping hot with whole roasted cashews and coriander.

Recipe Notes


Sweet potatoes are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals.  They're packed with vitamin A (beta-carotene), essential for good vision and to help the immune system.  They are also a good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6.  Sweet potatoes are also a source of dietary fibre, niacin, phosphorus, vitamins B1 and B2.

Marrows are very low in calories but their nutritional value packs a punch. The peel of the marrow is rich in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant which can help prevent free radicals from causing damage to DNA tissue.

Cashews, similar to all other nuts, are a good source of unsaturated fat.  Eaten in moderation, nuts and seeds form an essential part of a healthy, plant-based diet.

 Coconut milk provides a plant-based protein which is good for you. But both coconut milk and oil contain saturated fats - best you use these in moderation. 


Sharing is caring.  Share this recipe with your friends and ask them to let me know what they think.


Which Diet Works For You?

Are you one of the 32% of the population who made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight? Or maybe, you’re one of the 38% who plan to exercise more.  Either way it suggests you would like to improve your lifestyle.

All good … but with all the diet plans floating around, how would you know which diet plan works best for you?

Fad diets come and go – celebrity diets, blood type diets, the new Atkins diet, Rosemary Conley, Whole Food Plant-based diet (WFPB) – the list is endless. A number of them are supported by sound marketing plans and are pretty expensive, too. No surprise it all gets so confusing.

Which diet is best for you?

The best diet for you is called “Moderation”.

It is true that if you follow a diet low in carbs, you lose weight.  Likewise if you eliminate fat from you diet.  If you’re a gym fanatic and workout 6-7 days a week, you are also likely to lose weight.

If you eliminate a food group (carbohydrates, fat or protein) from your diet, you will lose weight (unless you replace the calories with a different food).  But how sound and sustainable will your diet or lifestyle be?

If a healthy lifestyle was one of your New Year’s resolutions, moderation is key.  If you are aiming at weight loss, portion size matters.

What do you understand by a “balanced diet”?

The word “diet” has become synonymous with food restriction.  This is not the case.  The primary definition of the word “diet” is:  the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.

A balanced diet is a plan that is sound and sustainable. It is sociable and you do not “come off” a balanced diet after a number of weeks.

  • A balanced diet provides you with the nutrients your body needs to function properly.
  • It also provides you with the right amount of energy.  If your energy intake is greater than your expenditure, you will gain weight and vice versa.
  • Sufficient fluids (not alcohol) are an integral part of a balanced diet.
  • A balanced diet is low in refined sugar and salt.

What foods make up a balanced diet?

Eatwell GuideIn order to function properly your body needs both macro nutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) as well as micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals).


Carbohydrates are the main source of food for the brain and must be available in constant supply for the brain to function properly.  Carbs are found in foods such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, cereals, fruits and vegetables. It is recommended that 50-55% of your energy intake comes from unprocessed whole grains, pulses and vegetables.


Eliminating fat or following a low fat diet can have serious consequences.  Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) cannot be transported round the body in the absence of fat. Besides, fat provides the body with energy, insulation, cell construction and prevents evaporation.  Good sources of fat are oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fat is 33% of your energy (calorie) intake.


Protein is found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes (to mention but a few sources). It is an essential food group, however, contrary to popular belief, your body does not require huge amounts.  The RDA is 1g / kg of body weight – which equates to approximately 10% of your energy intake.  The body cannot store excess protein.  When intake exceeds requirements, it is either eliminated in urea or stored as fat.

Vitamins and minerals

Your body’s requirements of vitamins and minerals is tiny when compared to carbs, fat and protein. If you are eating a variety of unprocessed foods, especially fruit, vegetables and legumes, your intake of vitamins and minerals should be sufficient.

Your New Year’s resolutions are SMART

A healthy lifestyle is achievable and sustainable.  It’s certainly not as overwhelming as it sounds.  If you manage a balanced diet (in the right portions), keep yourself hydrated and include 30 minutes of activity every day, you’re guaranteed quality of life.

Contact me for help with your weight loss programme.


My thanks go to:


Google Dictionary

Harvard Health Publishing

NHS Guidelines

Image: Public Health England and Wales