Sweet & Sour Vegetable Soup

After a week where I actually developed tan lines and pink knees (quite a feat for my lilywhite skin), the weather did a major volte-face: the temperature plummeted, the skies glowered like thunder and the heavens opened. The raindrops were so huge and heavy and sounded so loud I feared for the resistance of the utility room roof!

Soup! I must have soup!

I had swapped my shorts for jeans and donned my long socks (my mum thought I said long johns, but I didn’t want to jump the gun, we have a whole other season to get through first!) Soup was definitely called for and there were a few veg needing to be used up.

I have to confess, I don’t like dark leafy greens such as kale, chard and cavolo nero or black kale. I know, they are a must-have from the veg world providing so many essential nutrients including protein, calcium, A and B vitamins, Vitamin C and K (essential for bone health), iron and Omega 3 fatty acids, and I do have them often but generally in juices. I find them bitter and chewy when cooked. (I do like cabbage and spring greens).

We had been juicing some cavolo nero but there were a few leaves left that were in a use-by state and I didn’t want to have them again in my next juice. Our neighbour with the allotment had generously given us some runner beans and a giant marrow (huge zucchini), so these formed the basis of the soup. I wanted to try something different as these last in particular are a bit bland.


Look at the size of this marrow! It was about 35cms or 14″ long! It is so heavy and will last ages. We’re going to have to get creative to do it justice.


This is what we came up with – you might be surprised by a couple of the ingredients:



All measurements approximate.

(All organic, so any peel left on – except for onion!)

About 1/2 Cup Puy Lentils soaked while rest of veg prepared to make more digestible

1 Tsp Raw Virgin Coconut Oil

A few leaves of Cavolo Nero, washed and chopped with any thick veins removed

1 Onion, chopped

2 Cloves of Garlic, pressed

2 Large Carrots, washed but with peel left on, chopped

About 3-4″ Large Marrow, washed and chopped

About 6-8 Runner Beans, washed and chopped

About 1/4 -1/2 medium head of Broccoli, washed and chopped, including stem

3 small Bramley Apples (from our tree, early windfalls) peeled and chopped

1/2 Tablespoon Coconut Palm Sugar (Unrefined and retaining minerals, it has a low GI, meaning it doesn’t cause spikes in blood sugar levels or insulin production like refined sugar, much less sweet).

2-3 Tsps Vegetable Bouillon Powder in approx 3/4 Litre of Hot Water (or enough to just cover the vegetables)

or 3/4 Litre of Vegetable Stock

A Small handful dried Sage Leaves (from our garden)

Splash of Tamari

Lots of Ground Black Pepper

I was going to add a pinch of Cinnamon, but chickened out at the last minute!


In a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil until a piece of onion starts sizzling but not smoking hot.

Add onion and garlic and stirfry for a minute then add the rest of the vegetables, gently stirring them about. Put the lid on, turn down the heat and let them sweat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on a low heat for about an hour or until the lentils and cavolo nero are thoroughly cooked.

I like soup to be blended a little to thicken it and bring together the flavours, so we whizzed it a little with a stick blender before serving, but left most of the vegetables whole.

Adjust the seasoning.


This made enough for 3-4 servings, depending on your appetite and whether having it for a light lunch or main meal. It was even better the following day when the flavours had blended. I had it for dinner the second day with some brown basmati rice in the bottom of the bowl.

Extremely satisfying, tasty and different.

And I didn’t mind the cavolo nero at all!

Copyright: Chris McGowan


7 thoughts on “Sweet & Sour Vegetable Soup

  1. Cavalo nero is my favourite of the kale family and goes really well with puy lentils. I like to just stir fry the cavalo nero and add a little soy sauce at the end and some extra olive oil in the puy lentils, nothing else , just nice and simple 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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