Creamy Broccoli, Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Broccoli, Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Broccoli, Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Serves 6

2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets and stalks diced
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2L salt-reduced chicken stock
1 cup wild rice
3 chicken thighs, sliced
1 cup almonds
¼ cup cashews
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of one lemon

In a large heavy based saucepan, saute onion in 3 tablespoons of oil until translucent on medium heat.
Add garlic and saute for a minute until fragrant.
Add broccoli, thyme, cashews and stock and replace lid on saucepan. Simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes until broccoli is tender.
Turn off heat. Remove thyme sprigs.
Using a stick blender, blend the soup until smooth. You can also use a normal blender, using a ladle to transfer from the soup pot to the jug to blend.
Once the soup is smooth, add wild rice and chicken. Simmer for 45 minutes until rice is tender.
While the soup is simmering, preheat oven to 180 degrees. Add almonds, 1 tablespoon of oil, lemon juice and paprika to a baking tray and combine. The easiest way to do this is to 'shuffle' the almonds by quickly moving the tray side to side to coat them.
Roast almonds for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Season soup with salt and pepper to your taste then serve soup with a handful of roasted almonds on top and some additional thyme if you like.
You can also add a squeeze of grilled lemon over the soup for a citrus twist.

Recipe created by Melanie Lionello for Nuts for Life

Five Reasons To Go Nuts This Winter

Snacking on a handful of nuts a day could help you avoid the unwanted kilo creep this winter.

Nuts for Life Dietitian Belinda Neville says snacking on nutrient-rich nuts is a great and easy way to combat unhealthy eating habits that often arise as the weather turns cold.

"During the cold weather, your metabolism revs up to warm your body, making you hungrier," said Ms Neville. "This can leave you craving foods like creamy pastas, pies and other heavy meals, but comfort eating doesn't need to weigh you down.

"Choosing healthier foods that have a combination of good fats, protein and fibre, like nuts, can curb cravings and help keep you feeling fuller for longer – so you are less likely to over eat at your next meal.

"As well as helping to manage your weight, a handful of nuts a day provides important nutrients for immunity, heart health and can even lower the GI of carb rich meals."

Here are Nuts for Life dietitian Belinda Neville's top five reasons to go nuts this winter:

Boost Satiety
Nuts are a rich source of healthy unsaturated fats - the 'good' type of fat that helps to switch on satiety hormones in your gut, helping to reduce hunger pangs1-3. Nuts have also been shown to help manage body weight with their combination of protein, fibre and fat, keeping you feeling fuller for longer and thereby helping to control our overall daily food intake.

Burn More Calories
Yes, nuts are high in healthy fats, but that doesn't mean that they will make you fat! Studies show that regularly eating a 30g handful of nuts can actually help to boost your metabolic rate by 5-10 per cent, increasing the amount of calories burned. Also, because we don't actually absorb all of the fat found in nuts, there's no reason to pass them up!

Lower the GI of High Carb Meals
Nuts have a glycemic index-lowering effect. When they are mixed with carbohydrate foods in a meal – like adding pine nuts to your pasta - they help to slow the digestion and release of glucose into your bloodstream, which helps to satisfy your appetite for longer.

Support Immunity
Most tree nuts contain a host of important vitamins and minerals. Cashews are particularly high in zinc, a powerful nutrient required for strong immune function, while Brazil Nuts are high in selenium, an important trace mineral that also helps support immunity. In fact, just two Brazil nuts provide your recommended daily intake of selenium.

Protect Your Heart
Studies show that eating a 30g handful of nuts a day can help to lower your risk of heart diseases. The combination of antioxidants, healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, and fibre can contribute to better heart health. Macadamias are the top nut source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and a tasty way to give your heart some love.

Nuts for Life is Australia's leading nutrition authority on tree nuts and health. The nutrition education initiative educates about the health benefits of regular nut consumption in the Australian diet. It is funded by the Australian Tree Nut Industry and Hort Innovation.