Who else agrees that soup and bread is the most perfect lunch? It’s filling enough to keep you going, but light enough to not weigh you down. And if you’re watching what you’re eating, going sans bread won’t break the deal because, let’s be honest, the beautifully deep and delicious broth is where all the flavour is at.
Whenever I think of the term ‘cabbage soup’ I remember those sporadic times my Mother, Father, Uncles and Aunts would go on the infamous ‘cabbage soup diet’. The house would be full of walking talking zombies and would stink of over-cooked, reheated cabbage during those days and made me begin to associate cabbage with bland diets and unhappy people.
If anyone doesn’t know about this diet, it involves consuming nothing but cabbage soup and water and it claims to help you lose extra ordinate numbers of kilos over x number of days – I don’t know the full details and don’t care to learn about it either because quite frankly I am against such extreme fad diets. As an aspiring personal trainer hoping to be fully qualified by the end of the year, inshaAllah (God willingly), I am fully aware of how unsustainable these diets are, how damaging they are to one’s health and metabolism and how insufficient they are for helping to regulate our energy levels. Not only that, but we also need certain macronutrients for health and functioning – protein is an essential macronutrient which is often lacking in such fad diets. Our bodies can forego carbs but functioning without protein is detrimental to our health, especially if we stay on these diets for a long time.
Enter Iraqi Cabbage and Lamb soup.
This soup contains protein (lamb and split peas), fibre (to keep us full, in the split peas and cabbage) and a healthy mix of nutrients and minerals from all the ingredients, including iron (something I’m deficient in), Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Selenium, Riboflavin, Thiamine just to name some.
This soup will actually sustain you for the day, even if you have it on it’s own. It won’t make you feel lethargic, like you’re about the crash and faint or like your energy levels are in minus numbers.
This soup isn’t boring, bland, flavourless and doesn’t make you want to kill yourself. I loved this soup and had it three days in a row and didn’t get bored! My husband also approved, adding that it was more like a broth-y salan than a soup (probably the reason why he liked it!).
You don’t have to have this soup only if you’re on a diet – make this on a wet and rainy day or on a day you just don’t feel like eating a full-blown meal.
I’m currently watching what I eat, so I had this soup without the bread except during this shoot. I didn’t feel deprived when I was having it without the bread – protein and fibre is absolutely essential to fill you up and keep you going – I can’t stress this enough! Enough with the faddy diets with the deathly dreary soups… Please, stop the madness!
This soup was inspired by Maryam’s Culinary Wonders, but I have added my own spin by increasing the ratio of split peas and cabbage and using different spices. You can check out her version HERE! (As well as the rest of her blog, it’s pretty awesome and full of authentic Iraqi recipes!)
The lamb is slow cooked over low heat for almost 3 hours, making it tender, juicy and falling off the bone. The cabbage absorbs the spices and tomatoes beautifully and the split peas add a nutty touch to all the tenderness. I can see this becoming a regular to my home!
Serve this on it’s own, or with some crusty, warm bread (preferably homemade) or over rice! It’s delectable anyway you please 🙂