I have been visiting the doctors office of late to run a few tests relating to my hormone levels. After a long, cold and dreary New York winter I was not all that surprised to find out how low my vitamin D levels were. Vitamin D is not present in many foods and you need to be getting sunshine in contact with bare skin without sunscreen on to absorb vitamin D. The exact amount of time required in the sun is still under debate with anywhere between 5 – 30 minutes per day. I walk everywhere, drink Vitamin D fortified non-dairy milk products, eat massive amounts of salmon (one of the best food sources of vitamin D) and try to get outside as much as possible on the weekends. If I am Vitamin D deficient this is a supplement I think should become a staple of most peoples’ diet, particularly those in colder climates.
An interesting knock on effect from my low vitamin D levels was that it resulted in lowering my calcium levels. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the intestines and without either of these present in adequate amounts my poor bones must have been becoming more brittle by the day. Vitamin D and calcium are essential for bone growth, preventing bones from becoming fracture prone and from osteoporosis setting in as you age . My only saving grace during this period must have been all the high impact activity I do that helps keep bones strong. Now I am religiously taking my Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega D3 as well as focusing on cooking dishes rich in calcium. This is why I decided to nosh into this broccoli soup, not only is it healthy, low calorie, yet filling it also provides a good source of calcium from the broccoli, cheese and almonds; all three of which provide some form of calcium.
I have served the soup with roasted and sliced chicken breast marinated in chili and garlic to make for a heartier dinner dish. A really good quality creamy goats cheese gives flavor and richness and a little goes a long way. I usually make a batch for myself then have it for lunch or an afternoon snack over the next 4-5 days. You can find a video of Gordon Ramsay making the soup here.
Ingredients (Serves 3-4)
- 1 large head broccoli
- Sea salt and pepper
- Goats cheese or feta
- Flaked almonds or walnuts, lightly toasted
- Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
Fill a large pot of water, add salt and bring to boil. Meanwhile, cut the broccoli into florets then add to boiling water. Simmer for approx. 4 minutes until tender but still bright green. Remove pot from heat and drain broccoli while reserving liquid. Add the cooked broccoli into a blender with a little of the water and blend until smooth. Add more liqud as needed to get desired consistency.
Pour the soup into a pot, reheat then transfer to shallow soup bowls. Garnish with crumbled goats cheese or feta and toasted nuts along with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous amount of cracked pepper.