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Hearty but not too heavy, this is a wonderful dish for summer and autumn, when there are so many vegetables at the peak of flavour. You can use all sorts of greens—simply adjust the cooking time accordingly. Be creative!
• Other greens that are good in this soup include pak choy, Chinese leaves and watercress. Coarser leaves will take a little more time to cook.
MIDDLE EASTERN LEAFY GREEN SOUP
• Omit the ham and use salt-reduced vegetable stock.
• Stir ⅔ cup (160 g) plain low-fat yoghurt into the soup, with the pan off the heat.
• Add ¼ cup (15 g) chopped fresh coriander leaves and the juice of ½ lemon (or to taste).
• Serve hot, sprinkled with paprika and cayenne pepper to taste.
For a CHINESE-STYLE SOUP,
• Omit the fennel seeds, parsley, ham, basil and parmesan cheese, and spice the soup with 1–2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger sauteed with the onions. Add salt-reduced soy sauce to taste.
• Add 100 g firm tofu, cut into small cubes.
Dark green leafy vegetables such as silverbeet and English spinach provide good amounts of betacarotene, as well as the B vitamins niacin, folate and B6.