• Ellen Spinner

An everyday soup template.

I love making soup - there’s something about it that makes me feel like the sort of domestic goddess that I definitely am not! However, my soup making efforts have tended to fall into the category of time-consuming weekend leisure activity so I’ve recently worked out a minimal effort version due to:

a) less free time and

b) more demand - it’s cold outside and nobody feels like eating salad for lunch.

This may well be something that everyone else has cracked and I’m just late to the party but I thought that I’d share my new method which has the benefits of being easy, low-mess, really tasty, nutrient-dense and easy to digest. If you struggle with unhealthy snacking, a mug of homemade soup is a great option to have to hand. The only equipment required is a stick blender which you can pick up for as little as £12 (also really handy for salad dressings and home-made mayonnaise).

Step 1. Heat the oven to about 170c and fill a roasting tray generously with roughly chopped vegetables. E.g celery sticks, carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, red onions, courgettes plus a whole red or green chilli if available (a great way to use up anything that’s starting to look a bit tragic in the fridge). If you have a bag of frozen butternut squash, that would also be good. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, stirring once.

Step 2. Add the roasted vegetables to a large pot along with 1.5 litres of stock and, if you like a creamy soup, a tin of coconut milk. For stock, I usually use Marigold Swiss Vegetable bouillon powder (available in Crunchy Carrot, Tesco and Sainsbury's) but use a bit less than recommended on the container as it’s fairly salty. If you have bone broth or a lovely homemade stock, by all means use that.

Step 3. Add frozen vegetables if you fancy (e.g. sweetcorn, peas), and a protein - e.g. drained tinned chickpeas, other beans/legumes, leftover chicken, dry red lentils, etc. You may also want to add herbs/spices such as grated fresh ginger, turmeric, crushed garlic or smoked paprika. Simmer for 40 minutes.

Step 4. Use the stick blender to blend until smooth.

Step 5. Optional. Add a wholegrain to the pot, e.g. pearl barley, brown rice, quinoa, stir in and simmer gently until cooked.

If you really want to cover all of your vegetable bases, add a handful of rocket leaves as a topping for those all-important green leafies. Toasted seeds are also a great addition.

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