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Participant Stories: “Winter Soup Recipe (Broccoli, Chili, Parmesan Soup)”


By John Gannon

Growing Broccoli

Broccoli is an excellent cool-season vegetable to grow. It is very nutritious rich in vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins K, E, folate, B1 and B6, zinc, calcium, and iron. The health benefits include cancer prevention, lowering cholesterol, detoxifying the body, and reducing inflammation.

It can take between 50-100 days to grow. You can grow in a pot 35- 50cm deep or in the ground if you have room. Plant in full sun. Use good quality potting mix if growing in a container, or mix in some compost and composted manure into the ground if growing in the soil. If growing in a container, make sure it has good drainage!

How to grow?

I find it easier to grow from a seedling. You can grow from seed also, in early autumn. I transplant the broccoli seedling into the ground or a large container (50cm deep.) Keep up the watering so the soil doesn’t dry out. Harvest when the broccoli forms one green large head, but before it flowers or starts to turn yellow! (This is too late, as it is starting to go to seed.) Cut off the broccoli with a knife and it is ready to be cooked. Smaller broccoli shoots will grow around the cut stem, and you can harvest them in a few more weeks as smaller broccoli in the same way.

Broccoli, Chili, and Parmesan Soup


  • 1 large onion
  • 2 red chili (deseeded and chopped fine.)
  • 3 large broccoli heads
  • 1 large potato (diced)


  • 4 cups stock
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil


1. Chop onion, chili (make sure to remove the seeds), and broccoli, and potato.

2. Fry onion (until translucent), chili, and diced potato in a large pot with olive oil.

3. Add broccoli and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil and simmer. Add more water if needed to cover the broccoli. Simmer for approx 20 min.

4. Add grated parmesan to soup, cook for a further 5 min.

5. Blend at least half (if you want it chunky) or the whole soup with a blender

6. Serve with some toasted bread.

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