I make a lot of vegetarian soup recipes! For me, there is no comparison between the taste of home-made soup and that of even high quality shop-bought soup. If you make your own soup it will taste better, cost less and be healthier than shop-bought varieties. Soup also freezes well so it is a great way of using a seasonal over-supply of vegetables for use later on in the year.
This easy Beetroot Soup highlights the earthy sweetness of roasted beetroot. It is enhanced with the gentle heat and lemony flavour of fresh ginger and the creamy richness of coconut. Although it is easy to make and the ingredients are simple, it does taste quite subtle and sophisticated. It is great for a simple autumn lunch or supper but is not out of place as a starter at a dinner party.
Roasting the beetroot (step 1) is important as it intensifies the flavour and earthy sweetness of the vegetables. If you wrap them in foil while they are roasting they will retain their juiciness and it will also mean that the skin is easy to remove.
You can use larger beetroot, up to the same weight of 350 g, if you do not have small beetroot. If so, cut them in half before roasting.
The natural starch and fibre of the beetroot thickens this soup rather than flour. This adds an additional element of nutrition and makes the soup perfect for anyone who is gluten intolerant.
Cooking the chopped onions slowly is really important (step 4). It caramelises the vegetables and gives the soup a real depth of flavour.
My recipe is vegetarian but it is easily converted into a vegan recipe. Just replace the butter with vegetable oil.
This soup freezes very well so you can make a batch and keep it for when you need a quick beetroot fix!
I love the sweet, earthy taste of roasted beetroot and the fantastic rich carmine pink colour that it brings to every dish in which it is included. The flavour is autumn on a plate and the colour cheers me up as days are getting cooler and I know winter is on its way.
This autumnal vegan soup combines the earthy sweetness of beetroot with the gentle heat of fresh ginger and the the creaminess of creamed coconut.
6 small beetroot (around 350 g or 1 lb in total)
25 g (1 oz) butter and 1 teaspoon oil (or 2 teaspoons of oil if vegan)
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 cm of fresh ginger
500 ml (1 pint) water
Half teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder
50 g (2 oz) of creamed coconut
Set your oven to 200 C/Gas Mark 6. Wash your beetroot and loosely wrap each one in kitchen foil. Place the wrapped beetroot on an oven tray. Roast the beetroot in the oven for around 40 minutes until soft. Remove the beetroot from the oven and allow to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the skins using a sharp knife. Roughly chop the peeled beetroot.
Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy-based pan
Peel and chop the onion, add it to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
Cook very gently for around 30 minutes until the onion is soft and sweet. Slow cooking caramelises the natural sugars in the onion and greatly improves the flavour of the soup.
When the onion is cooked, add the chopped beetroot together with the peeled and crushed garlic cloves. Peel the fresh ginger and finely grate it into the pan.
Add the water and vegetable bouillon power to the pan. Gently cook the soup for 5 minutes.
Add the coconut cream to the soup.
Blend the soup until it is smooth using a food processor or hand-held blender.
This Fennel Soup can be made in either vegetarian or vegan variations. The aniseed flavour of the fennel is mellowed by slow cooking and this gives the finished soup a sophisticated taste which belies the simplicity of the ingredients. This means that, although it is really easy to make, this soup would not be out of place as a starter at a dinner party, particularly if you include the additions of cream, Pernod and decorate it with chopped dill or herb fennel.
When I first started cooking for myself, around twenty years ago, I loved to experiment with complicated recipes that included lots of different ingredients. However, over the years, my recipes have generally become simpler. Now I like to focus on one main ingredient and cook it in a way that brings out its particular unique flavour. This Fennel Soup recipe is a really good example of this approach. It is all about the taste of the fennel and how it can be transformed by slow cooking into something really special.
Not everyone likes aniseed. Actually, I am not that keen on aniseed! I do not eat aniseed flavoured sweets and actively dislike Pernod as a drink option. However, I love fennel, particularly when it has been slow cooked, as the aniseed taste is transformed into something special. And the addition of Pernod to the soup gives a aniseed boost without being overpowering.
This is a really easy recipe that showcases the fantastic flavour of fennel. Slow cooking the fennel mellows its aniseed flavour and produces a sophisticated soup that is at home as a dinner party starter as well as an informal lunch.
25 g butter or 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 fennel bulbs
Salt and pepper
1 large potato
500 ml water
1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder or a vegetable stockcube
Milk or water as required to thin the soup
1 tablespoon Pernod (optional)
1 tablespoon double cream (optional)
A few sprigs of fresh dill or herb fennel (optional)
Heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan
Roughly chop the fennel bulbs and the onion and add to the saucepan. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and fry them very gently for around 15 minutes until they are soft and sweet.
Peel and chop the potato and add to the pan with the fennel and onion.
Add 500 ml of water and a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Blend the soup until smoothe in a food processor or with a hand-held blender.
Add milk or water – or a combination – to thin the soup to the desired consistency. You will need around 500 ml depending on how thick you want your soup.
If you wish, you can add Pernod and cream to the soup before serving and decorate the surface of each bowl with chopped dill or herb fennel.
This recipe can be either vegetarian or vegan. If you wish to make a vegan version, use oil to cook the vegetables, water to thin the soup and omit the double cream (or use a non-dairy alternative).
This Tomato Soup is perfect for a summer lunch or supper. It is really easy to make and perfectly showcases the taste of those beautiful sun-ripened tomatoes that are currently in season. My method of only thinning the soup down with water, stock or milk once it has been blended means that you have control of how thick it is and avoids you ending up with watery soup if the tomatoes that you use are particularly juicy.
This is a very versatile soup as it can be eaten either warm or chilled. This makes it perfectly adaptable to the vagaries of English weather. You make the soup and then decide whether you want something warming and comforting or refreshing and cooling.
Cooking the chopped onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes slowly is really important. It caramelises the vegetables and gives the soup a real depth of flavour.
The quality of the tomatoes that you use will affect the flavour of the soup. Try and use good quality, flavourful tomatoes. If you have home-grown tomatoes, so much the better. Otherwise, seek out tasty tomatoes in your local farmers market, farm shop or supermarket. You can use any kind of tomatoes for this recipe but choose those which have a good strong flavour.
A useful tip to skin the tomatoes is to put them in a saucepan, cover with boiling water, drain and cool with cold water. The skins should then be very easy to remove.
Potatoes are used to thicken this soup rather than flour. This adds an additional element of nutrition (potatoes contain a lot of nutrients) and makes the soup perfect for anyone who is gluten intolerant.
As the soup is thinned right at the end of the recipe, you can make it as thick or thin as you wish. You can also choose whether to use milk which will make richer soup rather than water or stock. A swirl of cream is also good if you are not focusing too hard on being healthy!
My recipe is vegetarian but it is easily converted into a vegan recipe. Just replace the butter with vegetable oil and using water or vegetable stock to thin the soup.
I love tomatoes. I use both fresh and tinned tomatoes in a lot of my recipes. My Tomato Tart is an easy vegetarian tart which uses fresh tomatoes. My easy Tomato Sauce recipe, which uses tinned tomatoes, is a really easy basic pasta sauce.
This easy made-from-scratch Tomato Soup highlights the sweet taste of lovely seasonal tomatoes and can be eaten either warm or chilled.
25 g (1 oz) butter and a tablespoon of oil
2 onions (peeled)
2 carrots (peeled)
3 sticks of celery
1 bulb of fennel
2 medium potatoes (peeled)
2 cloves of garlic
14 tomatoes (approximately 1 kilo or 2 lbs)
Salt and pepper
Liquid to thin the soup (milk, vegetable stock, water as preferred)
Roughly chop the onions, carrots, celery and fennel.
Heat the butter and oil in a heavy pan or casserole. Add the chopped vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Cook gently for approximately 15 minutes until they have softened. This is the base for your soup and seasoning the vegetables and slow cooking to ensure they are soft and sweet will greatly enhance its flavour.
Roughly chop the potatoes and add them to the saucepan along with the crushed garlic cloves. Cook gently for a further five minutes.
Skin the tomatoes. The easiest way to do this is to put them in a saucepan, cover with boiling water and leave for two minutes. Then remove from the saucepan, run under cold water so that they are cool enough to handle. The skins should be easy to remove.
Chop the skinned tomatoes. If you are using bigger tomatoes, when you slice them in half you may see green tougher bit of flesh where the stalk end of the tomato. It is worth cutting this bit off to avoid any fibrous lumpy bits in your soup!
Add the tomatoes to the saucepan with the rest of the vegetables.
Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes with the lid on. Do not add any extra liquid as the tomatoes will release their juice during cooking.
After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and allow the soup mixture to cool.
Liquidise the soup in a liquidiser or using a hand blender. Once you have done this, you can thin your soup down by adding some extra liquid. How much you need depends on how much juice came out of your tomatoes and how thick you like your soup. You can use milk, vegetable stock or water or a combination of liquids depending on your preference. I generally add a mixture of vegetable stock and milk.
Reheat gently if serving the soup warm. If you are planning to eat it chilled, allow it to cool to room temperature and then place in the fridge for at least an hour.
This Leek and Potato Soup is a lovely, simple traditional soup. It is warming and hearty with a mild onion flavour. The potatoes thicken the soup without making it too heavy. It is filling enough to serve as a light lunch with some good bread but it can also be served as a starter for a more formal meal.
It is a truly versatile soup because it can be eaten either hot or cold. The cold version is similar to the French cold soup Vichyssoise which is generally made with chicken stock. This means that it is a soup for all seasons. It will warm you up in winter and cool you down in summer! If you are serving it cold, you need to allow it to cool down to room temperature after you have made it. Then put it in the fridge for at least two hours – ideally overnight – to ensure that it is properly chilled.
I like to stir a little cream into the finished soup and top it off with some fresh chives. Neither are essential. The soup will taste good without these additions if you do not wish to include them.
What you need to know about making Leek and Potato Soup
You must cook the leeks and onions slowly to allow them to sweeten and soften without burning. Don’t try and rush this stage. This slow gentle cooking is what will give your soup its extra-special flavour.
A good quality stock is essential. This will give your soup depth of flavour. You can use either vegetarian stock or meat-based stock. If you have home-made stock, either vegetarian or meat-based, so much the better. I sometimes use home-made chicken stock or the cooking juices from a boiled ham. Both go well as a basis for this soup. You can use stock-cubes or powder to make the stock if you do not have any home-made stock to hand. If so, try and use a good quality brand.
This soup is vegetarian if you use a vegetable-based stock. You can make a vegan version by substituting the butter for an extra tablespoon of oil and omitting the cream.
This soup can be made in advance and then reheated. It also freezes well and can be kept in the freezer for at least 6 months.
This is a really easy soup which can be eaten either hot or cold. Although it uses relatively cheap ingredients, the soup is elegant and flavourful and is not out of place as a first course at a dinner party.
2 onions (I use white onions to keep the colour of the final soup pale)
2 large potatoes (about 500 g or 1 lb)
50 g (2 oz) butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 litre (2 pints) good quality stock
A bunch of fresh chives
A little double cream (optional)
Wash the leeks, trim off the dark top parts of the leaves and chop the stalks roughly. Peel and chop the onions.
Heat the butter and the oil in your saucepan. Add the chopped leeks and onions, season them with salt and pepper, and very gently fry them for around 20 minutes until they are soft and sweet. It is really important to add seasoning at this point and to cook gently to bring out the flavour of the vegetables – it will make a huge difference to the taste of your soup.
Next, peel and chop the potatoes and add them to the saucepan with the leeks and onions. Cook gently for a few minutes.
Add the stock to your saucepan and simmer the vegetables gently for about 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly before blending.