Onion soup and a perfect pink

Through the hot summer days, sometimes a nice, cold meal is what we really need. One of the most famous cold soups you may have heard of is the gazpacho soup that originates from Spain and is made from crushed fresh tomatoes. This food helped the Andalusian farmers and shepherds to work on hot days as they needed food with plenty of water and salt to keep them hydrated through the summer months. We didn’t prepare this soup (an idea for the future though) but instead a vegan version of the famous French onion soup that was then paired with a cold main dish made with red beets and fresh cucumbers. Because of all the beet in the mixture, the end result was a perfect pink that served our taste buds and our eyes a blissful summer chill.

The strong red colour of beets (the one that never wants to come out of your clothing or dish rags when you get it on them…) is a result of a pigmented dye called betanine. Due to this substance, beets have found wide use not only as food, but also for colouring foods. Homemade strawberry ice cream, for example, can be coloured this way since strawberries themselves give little colour. Such practice are widespread in the food industry for both foods and beverages, and this usage is so prevalent that European legislation gave betanin a dye name: E162. Such labelled dyes often have a bad name with consumers, though this is not justified in many cases. Betanin is no more harmful or less useful if we call it beet extract or dye additive E162. What can scare some people with betanin is the colour of their urine after consuming beets. Though blood in your urine is a serious problem that requires immediate medical attention, betanin passes through our body and gives our urine a red-pink colour. Worry not, this is normal!


Recipe, preparation and price of the meal

 

Quantity(g or ml)

Price for 4 person (EUR)

Soup

 

 

Onion

210

0,31

Olive oil

35

0,21

Sugar

13

0,01

Buckwheat flour

13

0,04

Main dish

Barley

300

0,60

Beet

500

1,69

Cucumber

400

0,44

Olive oil

20

0,12

Cumin

2

0,12

Salt

2

0,00

Together

3,53

 

 

For our vegan French onion soup, we cut the onion into semi circles before pan frying them a bit. We then added sugar until the onions had been caramelised. Once sufficiently cooked, we added water and cooked until the onions were soft. We also added buckwheat flour to make the soup thicker. We served this tasty soup hot, with pieces of spelt bread to dip.

Our main dish was created from a desire to do something with beet, and as a result the idea for this dish came to us. We first began cooking our barley and then began to cut up beet and cucumber into large cubes. Once the barley was cooked, we allowed it to cool before mixing it with the cut vegetables. We spiced this dish with cumin, fresh parsley, and olive oil before serving in a bed of radicchio leaves whose bitterness went very nicely with this cold meal.

The price of today’s 4-person lunch was 3.53€, so just 0.84€ per person! The soup was very cost-effective since only basic ingredients were used. You can often find recipes for French onion soup involving wine, garlic, thyme, butter, and cheese; if you made the soup with vegan butter and cheese and these other ingredients then the final cost would be much greater. Our main dish was also quite cheap, with the most expensive item being beets, taking almost half of the budget. This high price, however, was due to a luxury buy: we bought beets that were already boiled and peeled instead of raw ones (which would have cost about 3 times less). Time is money though, so we feel it was worth it for the time that was saved in cooking and peeling the beets. You could also include other vegetables in this dish to make it more diverse, but this too would raise the price.


Nutritional value

With lunch consumed quantity

% From daily needs

Energy

500,27

kcal

25,00

Proteins

13,01

g

23,20

Total fats

15,95

g

36,30

Carbohydrates

81,14

g

Starch

43,97

g

Sugar

16,27

g

Fibers

18,19

g

72,80

Calcium (Ca)

74,45

mg

7,40

Iron (Fe)

4,30

mg

43,00

Magnesium (Mg)

154,91

mg

38,70

Phosphorus (P)

298,18

mg

42,60

Potassium (K)

987,90

mg

49,40

Sodium (Na)

305,06

mg

55,50

Zinc (Zn)

2,91

mg

29,10

Copper (Cu)

0,55

mg

60,60

Manganese (Mn)

2,08

mg

90,50

Selenium (Se)

29,92

µg

59,80

Vitamin A

8,25

µg

0,80

Vitamin E

2,50

mg

16,70

Vitamin D

0,00

µg

0,00

Vitamin C

12,81

mg

12,80

Thiamin (B1)

0,59

mg

45,20

Riboflavin (B2)

0,32

mg

21,20

Niacin (B3)

4,23

mg

29,20

Pantothenic acid (B5)

0,74

mg

12,40

Vitamin B6

0,44

mg

29,60

Folic acid (B9)

169,23

µg

42,30

Vitamin B12

0,00

µg

0,00

Vitamin K

27,02

µg

38,60

 

 

As always, our lunch was prepared to cover 25% of the daily caloric needs of an average adult, but also with the aim of covering all other nutrients (with the exception of vitamin D and B12, of course). We largely succeeded with this meal, consuming a great deal of fibre, iron, and magnesium. We were, however, short on calcium and vitamin A. If our day is well-balanced, this is no issue. Foods such as arugula, spinach, oats, tofu, and many more are rich in calcium and can be easily incorporated into your day. We have a table of calcium-rich foods that you can view here on our facebook page.

That’s a wrap once more, dear friends. Keep those bellies full!

The Hungry Pumpkin Team.

PS: as always, send those comments, questions, suggestions, compliments, etc. our way at hungry.pumpkin.blog@gmail.com 🙂

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