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Two-Tone Pepper Soup

This fun talking-point for guests is simple to make, and great fun to eat. It serves 4, and you can choose whatever colour peppers you like. We’ve chosen green and yellow for the recipe.

Ingredients:
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 green bell peppers, roughly chopped
4 yellow bell peppers, roughly chopped
1.2-1.6l vegetable broth

Directions:
1. Preheat two saucepans over medium-low heat. Divide the onions and celery between the two and sauté until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the garlic, and sauté for 15 seconds.
2. Add the green peppers to one saucepan and the yellow peppers to the other. Add enough broth to cover, and bring to boil. Simmer 15 minutes.
3. Transfer the ingredients of the saucepan containing the yellow peppers to a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a jug. Repeat with the saucepan containing the green peppers, and transfer to a separate jug.
4. Pour from both jugs into a bowl at the same time and at the same speed to keep the colours of the soup separate. Season to taste, and enjoy.

Waste-Not Want-Not Soup

Don’t throw those vegetable scraps away. You can slow-simmer them for a flavourful vegetable broth, or you can turn them into a hearty soup that’s very easy on the budget.
Ingredients:
2 medium onions, medium chopped
3 parsnips, medium dice
3 carrots, medium dice
1 small turnip or swede, medium dice
Stems from a bunch kale, chopped
Cauliflower leaves, chopped
Outer leaves of a savoy cabbage, finely shredded
Stem of 1 broccoli head, chopped
Inner stalks and leaves of celery, chopped
2 potatoes, medium dice
2 l vegetable broth
2 tsp turmeric
1.5 cups soup mix
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
1) Sauté the onion in a large soup pot until lightly coloured.
2) Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until vegetables are cooked to your liking.
3) Serve.

Carrot and Red Lentil Soup: Budget Recipe

This soup costs €0.18 per portion and takes about 20 minutes to prepare. The recipe is very easy, but we’ve written it out in lots of detail in case you’re new to cooking. We’ve used a blender to make it smooth, but it’s equally delicious chunky.

Ingredients (for 2 servings):
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 l vegetable broth*
2 carrots, washed, topped and tailed, and sliced (no need to peel!)
80g red lentils, picked over to make sure there’s no grit
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp smoked paprika

Directions:
1. Heat a stainless steel saucepan over a medium low heat until hot. Reduce the heat slightly, add the onions and keep stirring until the onions start to take on a little colour and release their aroma (about 2 minutes). Turn the heat right down to low before adding the garlic for about 30 seconds.
2. Add the broth, carrots, and red lentils. Crumble the herbs between your finger and thumb, if desired, so that they release more of their fragrance.
3. Raise the heat to high until bubbles start appearing around the sides of the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes to make sure the lentils aren’t sticking.
4. Add the smoked paprika, and stir.
5. At this point, you can blend the soup with an immersion (stick) blender or in a jug blender, following the instructions that came with your blender.
6. Serve, and enjoy.

Celeriac and Chickpea Soup with Spinach-Miso Purée

This extremely thick, yet very creamy, soup  makes for a filling and delicious lunch.

Ingredients:

For the soup

1 onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 celeriac, peeled and diced roughly
1 can chickpeas
300g white cabbage, chopped roughly
1 can coconut milk
500ml vegetable broth
Pinch white pepper
2 tsp onion salt
2 tsp dried basil

For the purée

50g spinach
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp soy (or other all-plant) milk
1 tbsp white or yellow miso

To garnish

Suitable-for-vegans crispy salad onions, if desired

Directions:

1. Sauté the onion in a large soup pan over a medium-low heat until it starts to soften, but don’t let it take on much colour. Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic for about a minute.
2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the celeriac is tender.
3. Meanwhile, make the spinach purée by blending all ingredients in a high-speed blender.
4. Rinse the blender, blend the soup in it, return to the pan, and season to taste.
5. Serve the soup topped with some of the spinach-miso purée, and garnish with crispy onions, if desired.

Creamy Red Curry Soup

This soup couldn’t possibly be any silkier. The beautiful texture is down to the quantity of coconut milk in the recipe, and the flavours are lively and bright. This serves six.

Ingredients

1 onion, roughly diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cauliflower, in florets
2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
2 tbsp soy sauce

Directions

1. In a large soup pot over a medium-low heat, sauté the onion until aromatic and starting to turn golden. Add the garlic cloves, and stir for 30 seconds.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Blend.
3. Season, taste, and serve.

Pear, Pea, and Parsnip Soup

Summery, refreshing, sweet, and delicate: a perfect soup for a hot day, and very easy to make.

Ingredients

1 onion, diced
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
3 pears, unpelled and diced
250g peas, fresh or frozen
1 litre vegetable stock
Salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper

Directions
1. Sauté the onions over a medium high heat until just starting to colour.
2. Add the parsnips, pears, peas, and stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 15 minutes until the parsnips are soft.
3. Blend, season, and serve.

Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew

Another easy and cheap recipe. Serve topped, if desired, with some roasted asparagus and croutons. Serves two.

Ingredients

4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper or sweet pointed pepper, small dice
1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp sweet paprika or smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
200g baby spinach
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
1. In a non-stick or stainless steel pan over a very low heat, sweat the garlic, adding a couple of drops of water if needed, until fragrant but not coloured.
2. Add the red pepper, chickpeas, vinegar, tomatoes, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne and stir for about 30 seconds.
3. Raise the heat to medium low and add the broth. Stir, and then add handfuls of spinach to wilt.
4. Season, and serve.

Cannellini Bean and Red Cabbage Stew

A simple, budget recipe, bursting with colour, and oil-free, this stew is bound to please. Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 leek, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
250g red cabbage, finely shredded
2 cans tomatoes (400g each)
1 l vegetable stock
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp hot paprika
200g cooked cannellini beans
To garnish, soured tofu

Directions
1. Sweat the leek, garlic, carrots, and celery in a large stock pot over the lowest heat possible for 10 minutes. If they start to stick, add a splash of water.
2. Add the red cabbage, tomatoes, vegetable stock, lemon juice (which serves the function of preventing the cabbage from losing its colour) and paprikas to the pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the carrots are fork tender.
3. Add the beans, and warm through.
4. Serve garnished with some soured tofu, if desired.

Creamy Butternut, Cauliflower, and Lentil Soup

This is an easy budget soup, making four main-meal-sized portions. Don’t let the inclusion of the notoriously difficult to peel squash put you off; there are two options below to make your job much, much easier. As always, use this recipe as a roadmap: try it with the addition of coconut milk and either Thai or Indian spices; add a can of tomato sauce and some Italian herbs. A good base soup can be varied in so many different ways.

Ingredients:

1 red onion, medium dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 butternut squash
200g split red lentils
1 small cauliflower, in florets (approx. 500g)
1.5 litres vegetable stock
Pinch chilli flakes
1 tbsp fresh sage leaves, minced (or 1 tsp, dried, rubbed between fingers)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 heaped tbsp yellow miso

Directions:
1. Carefully make several slits in skin of the squash with a small sharp knife, and microwave for about 3-5 minutes to loosen the peel from the flesh slightly. Alternatively, slit and then boil the squash whole in a large stock pot for about 5 minutes, until softened. Wait until it’s cool enough to handle, and then peel, deseed, and chop into bite-sized dice.
2. In a stock pot over a very low heat, sweat the onion and garlic, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes. Don’t allow them to take on any colour; if they start to stick, the heat is too high. Lower it, and add a little broth to loosen.
3. Add the cauliflower, stock, butternut squash, chilli flakes, and sage leaves. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
4. While the soup is cooking, rinse and drain the lentils, picking them over to ensure there are no small stones or pieces of grit among them. Add them to a saucepan with about 400g water, bring to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until softened. Drain and rinse.
5. Add the lentils back to the pot with the butternut squash (cooking them separately ensures that the lentils don’t add any foam to your soup), and mix well to combine. Spoon between a third and half of the soup into a blender jug with the miso paste and blend until creamy. Alternatively, remove the same quantity of soup and use an immersion blender to blend it to smooth.
6. Stir the blended soup back to the pot, warm, and serve in warmed bowls with some parsley, additional chilli flakes, and nutritional yeast if desired.

Hot and Sour Soup

With a different combination of flavours in every mouthful, and taking under 15 minutes to prepare, this soup is bound to be a winner. It makes 4 large servings.

If you can’t find the types of mushrooms listed in the ingredients, use 350g sliced mushrooms of your choice, and if you can’t find the vinegars, use apple cider vinegar.

Ingredients

250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
20g dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted (save the soaking water) and sliced
20g dried Chinese black (wood ear) mushrooms, reconstituted (save the soaking water) and sliced
1 can bamboo shoots (120g drained weight)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 inch ginger, grated
1-2 red chilli peppers, deseeded and finely sliced
1.5 l vegetable broth
110g mung bean sprouts
200g extra-firm tofu, cubed
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
Pinch white pepper
2 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced

Directions

1. Heat a large stock pot over a medium-low heat, and when hot add the mushrooms and bamboo. Lower the heat and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, adding just a splash of water if the mushrooms start to stick.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, and chilli, and stir for about 30 seconds.
3. Add the broth, mushroom soaking water, bean sprouts, tofu, soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, and white pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve topped with the green onions.