In season: Vegetables for hearty winter soups

In season: Vegetables for hearty winter soups

rsz_2-in_season_winter_produce_5-_a_dayWinter is the perfect time for homemade soup with seasonal vegetables offering plenty of delicious options, says the team at 5+ A Day. Soup is an easy way to get more vegetables into your day while making the most of what’s available now and it’s a comforting way to warm up on a cold winter’s day.

Here are five vegetables available in winter, filled with nutrients, which can easily be included in soups to help beat the chill.


Three different types of kumara are widely available: red, gold and orange. Nutritionally speaking they are on equal terms, with all three varieties being a good source of fibre and a rich source of antioxidants. Red and gold kumara also contain niacin, one of the B vitamins, which helps your nervous system to function properly.

Kumara add a creamy, silky texture to soup. For a particularly delicious soup try adding warming spices such as ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and clove.


Parsnips contain a variety of nutrients, including niacin and potassium, which support a healthy nervous system. They are also a source of dietary fibre.

Members of the carrot family, parsnips have a sweet, earthy flavour, making them a delicious addition to hearty winter soups, stews and roasts. Parsnip and apple is a classic soup match, while parsley, sage and thyme work well with this versatile vegetable.


Potatoes are one of the country’s most popular vegetables, with around 97% of us eating them at least once a week. A valuable source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, potatoes contain 10% of the recommended dietary intake of pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, which helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue. They are also a good source of vitamin C, which is important for your immune system and helps your body absorb iron from food.

Potatoes help you feel full and satisfied, making them a great addition to many soups. Add them to chowders or minestrone.


Broccoli is the star member of the brassica family of vegetables, which also includes cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. It contains dietary fibre and is a good source of vitamin C and a source of vitamin B6 and folate. The World Cancer Research Fund has found a diet rich in brassicas may protect against cancers of the colon, rectum and thyroid.

A vibrant green broccoli soup is packed with nutrients, perfect for lunch or as a starter. Basil, sage and thyme work well as an extra flavour to broccoli- based soups.


Leeks are a good source of vitamin C, which is necessary for the structure of your blood vessels and protects cells from free radical damage. They are also a source of iron. Leeks are relatives of garlic and onions but are sweeter and milder in flavour. To bring out the full flavour of leeks in soup, be sure to sauté them well first. Two of the world’s most famous soups, Scotland’s cock-a-leekie and France’s crème vichyssoise, are based around them.

Did you know?

The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust was formed in 2007 and works for the benefit of the children of New Zealand. The Trust is committed to increasing the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables for better health in all New Zealanders. 5+ A Day focuses its work in the education setting. Curriculum-linked resources promoting awareness, understanding and knowledge.

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