Smoky Black Bean Soup

The smoky flavours of this soup pair perfectly with the black beans and sweetcorn in the recipe, and the miso adds umami notes that bring it all together. This is a budget recipe that serves 4, and it takes under 15 minutes to make

Ingredients

1 red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1l vegetable broth
2 x 200g cans or 4 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tsp smoked paprika, or 2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp tomato purée
pinch cayenne pepper
200g frozen sweetcorn
1 tbsp yellow miso

Optional toppings: more sweetcorn, thawed; bell pepper; avocado; squeeze lime juice, etc.

Method

1. Sauté the onion over a medium heat for 3 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic for another 30 seconds.
2. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth. Add the rest of the broth, the beans, the paprika (and liquid smoke, if using), coriander, cumin, tomato purée, cayenne pepper.
3. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the sweetcorn and continue for two minutes more.
4. If desired, transfer half of the soup to a blender with the miso and blend to smooth. Transfer back to the rest of the soup and reheat. Do not allow to boil. If not blending, remove from the heat, add the miso and mix well.
5. Serve, if desired, with a squeeze of lime, chopped bell pepper, sweetcorn, and avocado.

Leek, Potato, and Cabbage Soup

A budget recipe that serves 6. This soup is filling, hearty, and very simple to make.

Ingredients

2 leeks, halved lengthways, sliced, and then washed
1/2 green cabbage, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium potatoes, chopped
1.5 litres vegetable broth
Sprig or 1 tsp each thyme and rosemary
2 bay leaves
Salt and white pepper

Method

1. In a large soup pan over a medium-low heat, sauté the leeks and cabbage for about 7 minutes until softened. Add a splash of water or broth to prevent sticking, if necessary.
2. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
3. Add the potatoes, broth, and herbs. To prevent the herbs getting lost in the pot, you can put them in tea infuser hooked onto the side of the pot, but if you don’t have one, you can retrieve them with a spoon when the soup is cooked.
4. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked. At this point, if you want a thicker soup, you can transfer up to half of the mixture to the blender and blend until smooth.
5. Season to taste, and serve.

Smoky Potato Sweetcorn Soup

Flavoursome and with a hint of smokiness, this budget soup takes about 10 minutes to prepare. If you don’t have access to a blender, it’s equally delicious unblended. Serves 2-3.

Ingredients

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
100g mushrooms, chopped or sliced, as desired
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large potato, unpeeled and diced
800ml vegetable broth
300g sweetcorn
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Sauté the onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers over a medium-heat until the mushrooms start to release their juices. Add the garlic and sauté for a further 30 seconds.
  2. Add the potato, broth, sweetcorn, and smoked paprika. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for about 7 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Serve as is, seasoned with salt and pepper as desired, or remove about a third of the soup to blend it before returning it to the pot to reheat.

Tomato, Spinach, and Bean Soup

This speedy, budget soup is chunky and nutritious. It serves 8 and is ready in under 15 minutes.

Ingredients

1 onion, medium dice
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable stock
3 cans chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp suitable-for-vegans sugar or maple syrup
1 tbsp vinegar of choice (balsamic is preferable, but apple cider, white wine, red wine, etc. will also work)
2 large handfuls spinach, chopped
1 x 400g can beans of choice
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 generous bunch basil
More freshly ground black pepper, to serve

Method

1. Sauté the onion over a medium low heat in a large soup pot until lightly coloured (2-3 minutes). Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup of the stock and stir to deglaze the pot.
2. Add the rest of the stock, tomatoes, purée, sweetener, vinegar (if using), spinach, beans, and the 1/2 tsp black pepper.
3. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add the chopped basil and season with black pepper to taste.

Coconut Spinach and Chickpeas with Couscous

A dinner that takes just 10 minutes to prepare is a sheer delight, especially when it is healthy, minimally processed, and beautifully fragrant with coconut and spices.

Ingredients:
200g couscous (the photograph shows giant wholewheat couscous)
200g baby spinach
50g kale, destemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
150g baby button mushrooms
1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained
1 bell pepper, medium dice
1 can coconut milk (well shaken to combine)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
pinch chilli flakes
salt and pepper
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

Directions:
1. Cook the couscous according to the packet directions.
2. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over a medium heat, wilt the spinach. You may have to add it in batches. A splash of hot water will help speed things up.
3. Add the kale, mushrooms, chickpeas, and peppers. Stir to combine.
4. Add the coconut milk and spices. Cook until the mushrooms shrink a little. Season to taste. Add the cherry tomatoes and warm through.

Loaded Minestrone

A real treat for those who love their vegetables, this soup is packed with all kinds of delicious textures and flavours. If you can’t find the packaged quick-cook minestrone mix, feel free to add your own mix of whole grains, pasta, and split peas or lentils, or just small pasta shapes, adjusting the cooking time accordingly. Serves 8.

Ingredients

1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 carrots, medium dice
250g green beans, chopped
250g mushrooms, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
500g passata
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can cannellini beans, or any beans of choice
250g quick-cook minestrone mix
1.5 l vegetable stock
1tsp each dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme, dried parsley
Fresh parsley to serve (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large handful of spinach per serving

Method

1. In a large, preheated soup pot over a medium-low heat, add the onion, celery and carrots, and sauté 3 minutes, adding a little water if the vegetables start to stick. Add the mushrooms and green beans, and sauté for 3 minutes more. Add the garlic for another 30 seconds.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the salt and pepper, fresh parsley, and spinach. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. To serve, place a large handful of spinach into the bottom of each bowl and top with the soup. Garnish with fresh parsley, lots of freshly ground black pepper, and a bit of salt if required.

Pea and Mint Soup

Fragrant and delicate, this pea and mint soup makes for a beautiful summer lunch. This recipe serves 6, and is inexpensive.

Ingredients

1 large onion
1 stalk celery
3 cloves garlic
1.2 l vegetable stock
1 large potato, washed and roughly diced
1 large parsnip, peeled and roughly chopped
500g frozen peas
15g fresh mint, divided into 10g for blending and 5g for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

1. Heat a pan over a medium-low heat, and sauté the onion for 3 minutes. Add the celery and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the garlic for 30 seconds.
2. Deglaze the pan with about 1/4 cup of the broth, and then add the rest.
3. Add the parsnip and potatoes, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potato and parsnip are very soft.
4. Add the peas and simmer for a further 3 minutes.
5. Add the mint, and blend the soup, thinning with additional broth if required. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spicy Stir-Fry Vegetable Soup

This spicy loaded soup is ready in 15 minutes and serves 8, so feel free to halve the recipe. If you don’t like spice, reduce the amount of chili or omit altogether. Feel free to use the recipe as a roadmap: no ingredient is essential, so experiment with the vegetables and see which flavours appeal to you.

Ingredients

1 red onion, sliced
3 bell peppers, sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 inch piece of ginger, quartered and thinly sliced
150g button mushrooms, quartered
2 bok choy, the white ends sliced and the green tops left whole
2 red chilis (optional), sliced
1/2 block tofu (approx 150g), cubed
2 litres vegetable stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp yellow miso paste

Method

1. Sauté the onions in a large soup pot over a medium-low heat. When they start to colour, add the peppers, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, bok choy whites, and chilis.
2. When the vegetables have started to soften, add the tofu, stock, and soy sauce.
3. Don’t bring the soup to a boil; instead, allow it to simmer over a low heat for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the bok choy and the miso, and stir. Simmer for two minutes more.

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry

This fragrant and warming meal takes under 20 minutes. It serves two people on its own, or four served with rice.

Ingredients

1 tsp suitable-for-vegan red chilli paste
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, grated
400g sweet potato, peeled and in medium dice
1 small cauliflower, in florets
150g mushrooms, quartered
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, medium dice
4 green onions, chopped
100g spinach
Handful basil, torn

Method

1. In a lidded frying pan, or a wide-rimmed pot, mix the red chilli paste, coconut milk, vegetable broth, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Simmer for a minute or two until the sauce becomes fragrant.
2. Add the sweet potatoes and cauliflower, cover, bring to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add the mushrooms, peppers, and green onions, re-cover, and simmer for 2-3 minutes more until cauliflower and sweet potato are cooked for your liking.
4. Turn off the heat, add the spinach and basil, recover, and allow to steam for about 2 minutes, until the spinach is wilted.
5. Serve and enjoy.

Creamy jicama, clementine and habanero soup

A simple, mostly raw soup with a wealth of flavours and a little heat. This makes 4 small bowls or 2 large ones.

Ingredients

2 cups jicama, peeled and coarsely chopped
2T sesame seed butter
1 scallion, coarsely chopped, 2 – 3″ green reserved for garnish
1t fresh garlic, minced
4 small, ripe clementines, peeled, pith removed and seeded, 2-3 segments per bowl reserved for garnish
1/2T lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/8t fresh habanero pepper (I use 1/4t), minced with a pinch coarse sea salt
Coarse sea salt to taste
1/4 cup fresh mixed baby greens

Optional: Use dried chili or fresh, minced jalapeño as an alternative and/or sriracha for garnish to add flavour and colour. Oranges will also work in place of clementines, but they won’t work as nicely for the garnish. Add a little olive with the clementines for the garnish for an even richer flavor and colour. Raw sesame seed butter isn’t available everywhere, but you can grind your own, or if you prefer, simply use the regular kind. Raw almond butter will change the texture and colour, but raw cashew butter, macadamia nut butter, a little olive or avocado oil will all go nicely in this soup.

Method

Puree the jicama and sea salt until smooth. Add the scallion, garlic, clementines, sesame seed butter, lemon juice and water. Mince, then crush and grind the habanero with a little sea salt. If you haven’t handled habanero pepper before, be careful. You may even want to use gloves.

When your pepper is a paste, add it with the rest of the ingredients. Puree until mostly smooth and (mostly) creamy. Season to taste. Ladle out and garnish with baby greens, a few clementine segments and serve.