recipes for winter

Did you know that Winter was invented as an excuse for eating steaming hot soup? OK, that may not be true, but when you try these recipes from The Healthy Chef you’ll be convinced that it could be.

This is a wholesome nourishing soup that I love to make when I need extra goodness for my body. It’s very economical and fuss-free to make and I always cook up extra to last several meals. I love the simplicity of the ingredients and the light touch of star anise makes this soup purely magical on the taste buds.


My Goodness Soup

What’s great about it?

Tuscan kale is part of the cabbage family and this wonderful vegetable is a good source of all three antioxidants: beta-carotene and vitamins C and E. It is also rich in naturally occurring glucosinolates, which help in the fight against cancer. Savoy and other cabbages also contain similar anti-carcinogenic phytochemicals, and are good sources of vitamin C, K and folate. Protein-rich foods such as chicken help nourish your immune system, repair the body and assist recovery.

Serves 4
Time: 90mins (includes 1hr simmering)


4 organic skinless and boneless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 brown onions, chopped
2 litres filtered water
3 star anise
½ teaspoon crushed peppercorns
1 bunch Tuscan kale (aka black leaf kale or cavolo nero)
¼ savoy cabbage, finely shredded
1 to 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

In a large heavy-based pot sauté the onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil until golden. Cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until the thighs are golden. Pour over water and add star anise and peppercorns. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer the ingredients over a gentle heat for 1 hour. Slice the Tuscan kale and add to the simmering soup along with the savoy cabbage. Stir through and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season to taste with 1 to 2 tablespoons of tamari soy sauce. Spoon into serving bowls and enjoy.


Add a little garlic to the stock before cooking.
Add Brussels sprouts (finely shredded) in place of the cabbage.


Minestrone with Vegetables of the Moment

When I make minestrone I vary the vegetables I use depending on what I can get in the market that day. This wonderful vegetable soup reflects the season – the vegetables of the moment that are clean and pure and that can be thrown into a large pot and simmered to perfection. Depending on seasonal availability, green peas, sweet corn, zucchini, capsicum, pumpkin, broccoli, leek or sweet potato can be added. I love minestrone because it’s a one pot meal that’s simple and nourishing and it can be enjoyed for a few days or until the pot is empty. I’ve used water not vegetable stock to make my soup as I find the flavours from the vegetables penetrate beautifully into the simmering broth and create a wonderful clean flavour. I also enjoy serving it with a spoonful of pesto stirred through just before eating as this lifts the flavour to another dimension. Enjoy.

What’s great about it?

Fennel is a wonderful vegetable for digestive support and can help with gastrointestinal disturbances such as indigestion or bloating. Carrot is a great source of carotenoid antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory and help to support a healthy immune system. Beans are a good source of protein that can help to repair the body and nourish the immune system. Beans also contain fibre that helps to delay glucose absorption, keeping our blood sugar more stable as well as supporting healthy digestion and colon. Kale is rich in vitamins A, C and K and folic acid, as well as calcium, potassium, copper and iron. These nutrients are necessary for healthy bones, skin and eyes. Herbs such as parsley are full of superfood goodness that are anti-inflammatory to the body. Parsley is rich in chemoprotective oils that can help neutralise carcinogens as well as chlorophyll, which helps nourish the digestive system, support detoxification and elimination and alkalinise the body. Garlic and black pepper are anti-inflammatory and can stimulate digestion.

Serves 4
Time: 45mins (includes ½ hr simmering)


2 onions, diced
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 large bunch Tuscan kale, sliced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
600ml pureed tomato (fresh or tinned)
1 x 400g tin cooked beans (e.g. borlotti beans)
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 litre water
Pesto to serve
Grated Parmesan to serve (optional)

Sauté onions, smoked paprika, fennel, garlic, celery and carrot in a little olive oil for 5 minutes in a large pot. Wash kale and roughly chop the leaves then add them to the pot. Add chopped tomato, beans and water to just cover the vegetables. Bring to the boil – cover and simmer over a low heat for 20 to 30 minutes until thick and carrots are tender. Season with a little black pepper and sea salt and fold in the parsley. Serve in bowls and enjoy with a spoonful of pesto and grated Parmesan.


Top the minestrone with chopped avocado just before serving.
Pump up the protein by adding extra beans or chopped skinless organic chicken when adding the stock.
Vary the beans you use and try black beans, cannelini beans, broad beans and edamame beans.
Add a hint of chili for a little heat.
Enjoy alone or with wholegrain sourdough.

Teresa Cutter, aka The Healthy Chef, is one of Australia’s leading authorities on healthy cooking. An experienced chef, as well as a nutritionist and fitness professional, she combines her knowledge of food, diet and exercise to develop delicious recipes that maximise health and wellbeing.