Winter is perfect soup weather. Blended soups, with their velvety texture, are among the most comforting on a bleak winter’s day at work. It’s raining and cold outside, and the last thing you feel like doing is venturing far in search of a warm, sustaining lunch.
Soup is a great choice for winter lunches. Yet, a large number of the soups you find at the supermarket, or your local sandwich bar, are delicious because they are loaded with butter, cream or cheese. Bought soups can also be ridiculously expensive, especially the better, gourmet brands.
There are many good reasons to make your own soup at home to bring to work. Soups are easy to make and transport. You can either pour the soup, hot, into a thermos in the morning, or bring it in a plastic container to heat up in the microwave at work. When you make soups at home you know exactly what goes into them – that means you know you are eating a healthy lunch. Homemade soup is also considerably cheaper. You can make it in large batches and freeze the surplus into portions, ready to go.
Vegetable-based soups are an excellent choice for those wanting a satisfying, nutritious lunch that will see you through the winter, without getting a nasty surprise once the winter coat comes off in the spring!
Here are my two favourite soup recipes. They are packed with flavour – and just happen to be meat and dairy-free!
This soup is creamy and spicy – you wouldn’t know there was no cheese added! (makes 6 generous servings)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 large potatoes cut into cubes
1 head of broccoli cut into pieces
1 head of cauliflower cut into pieces
2 litres of vegetable stock
1 heaped tsp of chilli flakes
2 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Sauté the onion and chilli-flakes in olive oil in a large pan before adding the potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. Cook for ten minutes before adding the vegetable stock and bringing to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for another 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are well cooked. Once the soup is cooked, season with salt and pepper and then blend until smooth. This is quite a thick soup, so you can add a little water to thin it down if you prefer.
This delicious soup makes you feel as if you just sat down to a filling vegetable curry – without any effort! (makes 4 generous servings)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large potato cut into cubes
8 medium carrots – peeled and thinly sliced
5 cups of vegetable stock
2 tsp of curry powder (make your own curry mix to make this soup really special: 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 Tbsp cumin, ½ Tbsp yellow mustard seeds and 1 Tbsp coriander)
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Juice of half a lemon
Sauté the curry powder (or mixed spices) in the oil, in a large pan, for 1-2 minutes before adding the onion, potato, and carrots. Cook for ten minutes before adding the vegetable stock and bringing to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for another 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are well cooked. Once the soup is cooked, season with lemon-juice, salt and pepper and then blend until smooth.
Enjoy – and keep warm, and healthy, this winter at work!