According to the calendar here in Buenos Aires, Spring officially arrives on the 21st of September. I was hoping that these last days of winter would be warmer and brighter, but the past few days have only been chilly, windy and much too grey for my liking.
The temperature is still low enough for me to wear my grey sweater with the word “Brooklyn” printed in front, and as with all days cold and wintry, I seek comfort in a large bowl of soup.
You see, where I grew up in Asia, soup plays a fundamental part in Chinese cuisine. Soup has its sacred place at the dining table, and it’s hard to imagine life without soup.
In fact, almost every Chinese meal comes served with a bowl of soup – whether as a side dish or a main course. Soup is so much a part of Chinese cuisine that without it, I’d feel that something is missing.
Back home, soup would often be left simmering in a large pot over the course of many hours. Apparently, the longer you let the soup brew, the more nutritious it becomes, and the better it is for you.
Often, my granny Nai Nai will leave a gigantic pot of soup brewing over a gentle flame from the wee hours of the morning until the early evening, and finally scoop out portions at dinner time, the soup thick, rich and fragrant with the many flavors of its ingredients.
Soup has also always been the antidote to bouts of sickness, and whenever I’d be under the weather, or feel a sore throat creeping up on me, the advice that’s often given is “drink some soup.”
Even though I no longer live in Asia, I still take this wise advice to heart. And each time I’m feeling a little sick, or simply in need a something soothing and comforting, I make soup.
Over this past winter, Juan and I have been making our own version of a healing soup quite often – almost once a week in fact.
Thankfully, this soup doesn’t require hours of brewing (because who has the time these days to brew soup for so long?), but it does keep you warm and full, filling your stomach and nourishing your soul.
Initially, I wasn’t sure whether to share this recipe on the blog, because it seemed way too simple.
However, I know that many of you are looking for main dish recipes that are both healthy and easy, so I figured it would only make sense to share it, especially since this is a recipe that I go back to over and over again, so much so that I know it by heart.
We like to use a flexible mixture of vegetables, which often includes butternut squash, carrots, grated ginger, garlic cloves and chopped spring onions.
The best thing about this healing vegetable noodle soup is that you can use whatever vegetables you have in your fridge for the base, although I definitely recommend adding in grated ginger to deepen the flavor and provide additional nutritional properties.
According to the Chinese yin and yang culture, ginger provides heat, so adding some grated ginger to your soup will help keep you warmer in days of cold.
We use rice noodles because it’s naturally gluten-free and leaves you feeling light, instead of heavy, after eating. However, if you prefer, you can always substitute the rice noodles with noodles of your choosing.
Here’s how to make this delicious healing vegetable noodle soup.
Start off by placing the diced butternut squash, pumpkin, carrots, onion, grated ginger, garlic cloves, spring onions, chives and kale in a large pot together with the vegetable stock, and then bring it to a boil.
Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer over the next 30 to 35 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and cooked through, before adding salt to taste. In case you like a bit of citrus in your soup, add in a squeeze of lemon and mix it well.
Now that the vegetables are ready, add in the uncooked rice noodles and allow them to cook for the next 10 minutes until they are done.
All that’s left to do is to divide the vegetable noodle soup between two large bowls and garnish them with chopped spring onions before serving.
I hope you enjoy this delicious and healing vegetable noodle soup, and that it keeps you warm and nourished, wherever you are.
- 1 cup diced butternut squash
- 1 cup diced pumpkin
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 cup chopped spring onions + more for garnishing
- 1 cup torn kale leaves
- ½ cup chopped chives
- 5 cups unsalted vegetable stock
- Salt to taste
- ½ pound of uncooked rice noodles
- Squeeze of lemon, optional
- Place the diced butternut squash, pumpkin, carrots, onion, grated ginger, garlic cloves, spring onions, chives and kale in a large pot together with the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
- Once it starts to boil, cover the pot and bring the heat down to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer for the next 30 to 35 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
- When the vegetables are tender and cooked, add salt to taste. If you like a bit of citrus in your soup, add in a squeeze of lemon and mix well.
- Add in the uncooked rice noodles and let them cook for the next 10 minutes until soft and fully cooked.
- Divide vegetable noodle soup into two large bowl and serve garnished with chopped spring onions.