Not only is this soup delicious, you can almost feel those vitamin-packed leafy greens doing you good as you eat it. Hearty but not too heavy, it is a wonderful dish for summer and autumn. You can use all sorts of greens – simply adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Other greens that are good in this soup include Chinese leaves, pak choy, Chinese choy sum, kale and watercress. Coarser leaves, such as kale, will take a little more time to cook than tender leaves like watercress. * For a vegetarian soup with a Middle Eastern flavour, omit the Parma ham and use vegetable stock. Stir 150 g (5 1/2 oz) plain low-fat yogurt until smooth, then stir into the soup, off the heat. Add 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander and the juice of 1/2 lemon (or to taste). Serve sprinkled with paprika and cayenne pepper to taste. * For a Chinese-style version, omit the fennel seeds, parsley, Parma ham, basil and Parmesan, and spice the soup with 1–2 tbsp peeled and finely chopped fresh root ginger and soy sauce to taste. Add 100 g (3 1/2 oz) firm tofu, cut into small cubes.
Dark green, leafy vegetables, such as Swiss chard, spinach and spring greens, provide good amounts of the antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene, as well as the B vitamins niacin, folate and B6.
A, B1, B6, E, niacin * C, folate, calcium, iron * copper