With the summer drawing to a close and the weather turning cooler, it’s gotta be soup time in the kitchen! No need to reach for the processed, shop bought tinned variety, making soup is the easiest thing. All you need is a large saucepan, enough worktop space to chop some veg and a responsive gas or electric hob that makes cooking a pleasure, not a chore. Cheap, nutritious and ever so comforting, here are 3 easy recipes that the whole family will enjoy.
1 – Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup (serves 4)
Ingredients: 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes; 125g brown lentils, rinsed; 1 can chopped tomatoes; 1 large onion, finely chopped; 1 large carrot, finely diced; 3 cloves garlic; 1 1cm piece of fresh ginger, grated; 3 tbsp olive oil; 2 tsp cumin; 1 tsp turmeric; 1 tsp coriander; 1 tsp paprika; 1 tsp cinnamon; finely chopped; 1.5 litres vegetable broth; salt to taste
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, and sauté onions and carrots for 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and dry spices and gently fry for another minute. Pour in the vegetable broth and add sweet potatoes, lentils and tomatoes, seasoning to taste. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about ½ hour until the sweet potatoes are soft and the lentils cooked. Serve immediately with strips of toasted pitta bread.
2 – Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (serves 4)
Ingredients: 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed; 1 large onion, chopped; 3 cloves garlic, crushed; 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks; 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped; 80g full fat soft cheese (e.g. Philadelphia), 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped; 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped; 40g blue cheese, crumbled; salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, bring 1 litre of lightly salted water to the boil, then add all the prepared vegetables except the garlic. Cover and cook gently until the vegetables are tender (approx. 30 minutes). When the soup has cooled slightly, puree in a blender, then add the soft cheese and garlic and blend again until smooth. Return the soup to the pan to reheat gently, then season to taste. Serve with crumbled blue cheese sprinkled on top, and garnish with sprigs of parsley.
3 – Carrot & Coconut Soup (serves 4)
Ingredients: 500g carrots, peeled and chopped; 1 medium onion, chopped; 1 can unsweetened coconut milk; 500ml chicken stock; 2 tbsp Thai chilli sauce; 225g unsalted butter; salt and pepper, fresh chopped coriander for serving
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add onions and carrots, salt and pepper and sauté gently for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Next, add the coconut milk, stock and chilli sauce. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes until all the vegetables are very soft and the liquid has started to reduce.
Once the soup has cooled slightly, puree in a blender before reheating. Add more water to achieve the desired consistency, season to taste and serve topped with coriander leaves.