Jo is a television cook and author of three books – The Nation’s Favourite Food, In the Mood for Food and In the Mood for Entertaining.
This is one of her wonderfully simple and healthy recipes packed with green vegetable goodness, vitamins and minerals galore. The soup alone is great, but the croutons are a real tasty treat to scatter over the top. Salty, crunchy and very moreish.
preparation time: 15 minutes cooking time: 20 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 medium-large courgette/zucchini, sliced
1l/35fl oz/4 cups vegetable stock
300g/101⁄2oz spring/ collard greens, roughly chopped
100g/31⁄2oz/2⁄3 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1 large handful of mint leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the croutons:
100g/31⁄2oz feta cheese
50g/13⁄4oz/2⁄3 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
1⁄4 tsp dried chilli/hot pepper flakes
1 tsp sumac
Preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/gas 7. Break the feta into small chunks and gently mix together with the pumpkin seeds, olive oil, dried chilli/hot pepper flakes and sumac. Spread in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 10–12 minutes, shaking the baking sheet once during cooking, to ensure even cooking. When cooked, the feta should be starting to turn golden in places and the pumpkin seeds will be crunchy and puffed up. Remove from the oven and leave to one side.
Meanwhile, make the soup. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the fennel and garlic and gently sauté for about 5 minutes until the fennel is softened but not coloured. Stir in the leek and courgette/zucchini and continue to sauté for 5 minutes, then add the stock. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer, then add the spring/ collard greens and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the peas, and as soon as the soup returns to a simmer, cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the mint.
Using a hand-held stick/immersion blender or electric blender, blitz the soup until it is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the pumpkin seed and feta croutons scattered on top.
More healthy eating (and indulgent) tips will be available from celebrity chefs at the BBC Good Food Show London