For the past three farm seasons, we provided Chef Jason with a weekly vegetable from the farm. He then created a fresh, vegetarian, farm to table soup or sauce that was included in our weekly vegetable CSA bags. The soups all have the same freshly-prepared vegetable base. We use no meats, dairy, or gluten in our soups. The soups are very basic, emphasizing the farm vegetable that was sourced that particular week. There are times when Chef Jason knew that chicken broth would be the more tasty alternative. But we challenged him to create something just as tasty using the vegetable broth…and he did!
Top 5 Favorite Farm to Table Soups & Sauces
I went back to all of our CSA newsletters and create a list of all the different soup and sauce creations. Here is the complete list:
Escarole & Bean soup
White bean chard soup
Tomato and kale soup
Sweet potato soup
Leek and potato soup
Chunky vegetable soup
Stewed tomatoes and cucuzza soup
Butternut & acorn squash soup
Cabbage and eggplant soup
Roasted Tomato & Red Russian Kale soup
Summer Zucchini soup
Red Bean Chard soup
Asian Vegetable soup
Broccoli Leaf & Lentil soup
Buttercup & Butternut Squash soup
But what were some of the favorite soups that our clients raved about? Here are the top five soups that caught the attention of our loyal HeartBeet Farms’ clients:
Cabbage & Eggplant Soup
Eggplant is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1 and copper. It is also a great source of manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate and vitamin K. Eggplant can be grilled, stuffed, tossed in pasta, mashed into a dip, stir-fried, braised, roasted or baked.
There are 4 primary types of cabbages including: Green, Red, Napa, and Savoy. Green cabbage is the most common and can be eaten raw or in stir fries, soups and braises. The whole leaves can be used to make cabbage rolls. Red cabbage has a little deeper and earthier flavor and is great for making coleslaw and leafy green salad mixes. Napa is also called Chinese cabbage, it has thick, crisp stems and yellow-green leaves. Savoy Cabbage, also known as curly cabbage, is deep green with crinkled leaves and great for soups and sJr fries. Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 in addition to manganese, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B1, folate and copper.
The Cabbage and Eggplant soup combines all of the goodness from both eggplant and cabbage into one soup. The ingredients include eggplant, savoy cabbage, vegetable broth, herbs, onion, carrots, celery and tomato. This soup was one of my daughter Abby’s favorites…she still talks about it to this day!
Farm to Table Tomato Soup
There are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes that exist. Tomatoes are great for our skin, containing a high level of lycopene. Tomatoes help to maintain strong bones as they contain a considerable amount of calcium and Vitamin K. Tomatoes provide essential antioxidants – they contain Vitamin A and C which work to neutralize harmful free radicals in the blood. Tomatoes contain Vitamin B and potassium, reducing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. The Vitamin A in tomatoes helps keep our hair shiny and strong as well as improving our vision. These are just a few important reasons to include tomatoes in your regular diet!
Our Tomato Soup is prepared with farm-fresh tomatoes, sauteed fresh garlic, onion, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. It is a delicious soup, but some of us use it as a sauce over veggies and chicken!
White Bean Chard Soup
Before I began volunteering at Hobbs Farm, I never heard of Swiss Chard. Swiss Chard has distinctly large, dark green leaves and colorful stems, which are harvested at various stages of maturity. The whole plant with tender, young leaves can be used for salads, while the individual large-sized, mature leaves can be harvested for sautéing and cooking. The vegetable is known by many names including silverbeet, spinach beet, perpetual spinach, bright lights, crab beet, and seakale beets. It has an impressive phytonutrient profile which contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and whole body benefits. Swiss chard is very low in calories and an excellent source of Vitamin C, K,A, and B, and omega 3 fats.
Our delicious White Bean Chard Soup contains Swiss Chard, Cannellini Beans or Navy Beans, Onions, Vegetable Stock, & Seasoning. Some variations of the recipe contain tomatoes.
Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut squash is part of the Cucurbita family, which also includes spaghetti squash and different types of gourds.
Butternut squash contains 82 calories per serving along with many vitamins and minerals. The massive load of antioxidants, anticancer and anti-inflammatory nutrients in butternut squash make it effective in preventing and treating a large variety of health conditions, from the common cold to potentially certain cancers. Butternut squash has enough vitamin A in just one serving to cover your entire day. There are fat-fighting qualities of butternut squash that make it great for weight loss efforts.
Typically, butternut squash is available fresh in the US during September and October. When selecting butternut squash, look for a solid beige color skin without bruising or damage marks. Brown spots or large nicks along the surface may allow bacteria to enter the squash, so avoid options that look damaged in some way. You can keep it in your kitchen outside of the refrigerator, but be sure to place it in an area without direct sunlight, as sunlight speeds up the process of degradation.
There are many ways to prepare and cook butternut squash including cubing and roasting it. I normally cube the butternut squash, roast it with herbs, put it in a blender with some homemade vegetable broth, add some additional seasoning and then you have a simple, delicious farm to table soup! Butternut squash soup is a favorite of many especially during the cooler months. Our HeartBeet Farms butternut squash soup is prepared with butternut squash, onion, veggie broth and seasoning.
Japanese Sweet Potato Soup
So are Japanese sweet potatoes sweeter than the typical orange sweet potatoes? Some say yes and some say no! I find them to not be as sweet as the typical orange sweet potato – but that is just me! They both are delicious, they both are sweet, and they both are extremely nutritious. Here are some interesting facts about the Japanese Sweet Potato published by The Center for Science in the Public Interest:
“Sweet potatoes, or Ipomoea batatas, originated in Central or South America and have been cultivated by humans for over 5,000 years. Today, there are over 400 strains of sweet potato grown around the world. Different parts of the plant, such as the leaves, stems and root tubers, are used for food, medicine and animal feed. Sweet potatoes are only distantly related to potatoes. Sweet potatoes belong to the same family as morning glory, while potatoes are considered a type of nightshade. Potato tubers are derived from the plant stems while sweet potato tubers are derived from the root. Satsuma-imo, or Japanese sweet potato, is a sweet, yellow-fleshed strain. Traditionally grown in Japan and Okinawa, it is now available at grocery stores across North America. It is a staple food of the Okinawans, who are some of the healthiest and longest-lived people on Earth. Their good health and long lifespan are attributed, in part, to their diet. The phytonutrients associated with different colors in sweet potato do have different health properties. Besides that, however, sweet potato strains have a very similar nutritional profile. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, sweet potato has been named the ‘healthiest of all vegetables.”
Our Japanese Sweet Potato Soup is prepared with Japanese sweet potatoes, onion, seasoning and vegetable broth and is one of our favorites to prepare!