Archive for Soup

Smokey pea soup

I’ve been meaning to share this simple soup recipe for ages. It’s a weekly staple in our house and usually turns up on the weekends feeding hungry boys post soccer match.

Everyone likes it.

Green split peas are cheap and full of healthy plant proteins, carbs, fibre and iron.

The smokey flavour is what makes it. You’ll find liquid smoke at your local health store. Take it easy with this stuff – more is not necessarily good!

You can soak the peas overnight, which will shorten the cooking time. I never manage to remember and I’m not sure it makes such a big difference.

One thing though, the peas will absorb a lot of water. You may need to keep adding water to get the consistency you want. If you have leftovers it may even set and require more water to liquefy.

You will need:

3 cups green split peas

8-10 cups water/stock (1 Rapunzel cube)

2 bay leaves

1 large onion

2 medium potatoes

1 tsp liquid smoke

1 tsp salt

Tamari to taste

Bring the peas, bay leaves and water/stock to boil, then reduce to simmer for about 40 minutes. As the peas start to get tender add in the onion + potatoes. You may need to add more water.

Simmer until potatoes and peas are cooked.

Remove bay leaves and blend.

Add liquid smoke, salt + a splash of tamari. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve with a little smoked paprika sprinkled on top.

This recipe is versatile. If you have celery, throw it in with the onion. Feel like adding a handful of thyme? Go for it …

For more soup recipes click here.

You may also like these smokey almonds.

How to make creamy pumpkin soup with an exotic twist

I know you already make great pumpkin soup. It’s one of those foundational foods that soothe our way into winter.IMG_20160530_103319 (Small)

Some of the best pumpkin soup I’ve eaten has been Thai inspired. Think lemon grass, coconut and kaffir lime … delicious! Hard to beat … that is until now.

This recipe adapted from Mark Reinfeld’s The 30-Minute Vegan’s Taste of the East keeps you in Asia but plays with flavours of the Orient.

You’ll need:

1 Tbl sesame oil
1 onion, chopped
2 big cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl fresh ginger, minced
4-5 cups pumpkin, chopped
5 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbl tamari
1 tsp five spice
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp sea salt, to taste
½ cup cashews, toasted
Fresh coriander to garnish

1. In a medium hot oven roast cashews for 10 minutes. Shake the pan once you smell them roasting and be sure not to burn them as they brown up quickly.
2. Saute onion, garlic, ginger in sesame oil. Add pumpkin, stirring.
3. Pour in water/stock and simmer until pumpkin is cooked.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.
5. Blend in batches.

Serve with fresh coriander.

Here’s the link for that Thai Pumpkin Soup. You’ll want that one too.

Feel free to share with your friends.

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A Thai pumpkin soup recipe I want you to have

Why? Because there is no one, not ever who has hasn’t swooned over this velvety bowl-licking soup.thai pumpkin soup (Small)

It makes the rounds of our small seaside community. It pops up at pot luck dinners, women’s circles, birthdays and is delivered in jars to sick friends. The recipe is passed on from mother to daughter to friends and neighbours.

Promise me you’ll make a big pot and invite your friends over. This one is for sharing.

{Special thanks to Carolyn and Gillian ~ the originators of much pumpkiny pleasure}

Most curry pastes are not vegan. The yellow curry paste I use is but I suggest you read the label carefully depending on the brand.

The secret ingredient here are the kaffir lime leaves. Hunt them out. They take the soup to the next level.

In a big pot add roughly chopped:
2 med onions
2 large carrots
1-2 large kumera (sweet potato)
1/2 a pumpkin, ~1.5 kg
2-3 tsp yellow curry paste
2-3 slivered kaffir lime leaves
5-6 cups vege stock

Cook for about 15 mins until everything is tender.

Blend and return to the pot. Take care not to burn yourself.

Stir in:SAM_2017 (Small)
1 can coconut cream
2 Tbl coconut liquid amino or tamari

Season and adjust flavours to suit, ie, adding more curry paste, tamari, chilli flakes, stock if too thick.

Reheat gently. The coconut cream may separate if boiled.
Garnish with coriander or basil.

More soup recipes you may like:

Rib sticking lentil soup
Italian kale & white bean
West African peanut & ginger
Quick & easy miso

And don’t forget how easy it is to make your own vegetable stock

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The best kale soup. Ever.

At the mere hint of rain I go running for my soup pot. And if I have a bunch of cavelo nero (the long dark kale) this sagey, garlicky, beany soup from my old battered Sundays At Moosewood’s Restaurant cookbook is my number one choice. IMG_0196 (Small)

This is a rustic, hearty meal-in-one kinda soup. Thickened with cornmeal, full of beans and kale, it has all your nutrient groups covered.

Plus it’s got a really cool name that goes well with wild weather and red wine!

IncavolataIMG_0195 (Small)

1 bunch of de-stemed, rough chopped kale
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cans of white beans (butter or cannellini), rinsed & drained
6 cups vegetable stock or water
3 Tbl tomato paste
6 large sage leaves (½ tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
½ cup fine cornmeal (polenta)

  • Soak the leaves of the prepared kale in a bowl of cold water while you preare the soup.
  • Steam saute the garlic in ½ cup of stock
  • Blend about half the beans and stock with tomato paste and sage.
  • Stir into garlic adding the rest of the beans and stock.
  • Drain the kale and mix into soup. Simmer for ½ hour.
  • Mix the cornmeal with 2 Tbl stock from the pot or water. 
  • Pour slowly into the soup stirring. 
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Adjust seasonings.
  • Serve topped with vegan parmesan. The recipe is here.

IMG_0198 (Small)You may also like:

Summer soup

How to make miso soup

PS: You want to know how to make the fastest vege stock? Bring to the boil a pot of celery leaves, leeks leaves and water. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Done.


Not your average lentil stew

To be fair, no lentil soup/stew is average. They’re usually beyond comforting and tasty.

And convenient.

“But don’t you have to soak the lentils?”

People often ask this and the answer is “you can, but you don’t have to.” It’s about improving digestibility. The bigger the bean the greater the need for soaking. Chick peas yes. Kidney beans absolutely. Lentils, not so much.

I don’t soak mine. But I do wash them well.

A favourite fast lentil soup is washed red lentils cooked in stock 1:4 ratio with chunks of potato and sliced leeks. Simmer all together until cooked. Season with tamari soy sauce and top with handfuls of fresh coriander, rocket or whatever greens are in the garden.

I could eat it everyday.

But when I’ve got a little more time in the kitchen this is the recipe I dig out. It’s especially good for filling up blokes!

IMG_0887 (Small)

Lentils + quinoa = protein & iron

1 C organic brown lentils
5 C vegetable stock/water

½ C stock or water
2 C onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
¼ tsp cayenne
2 bay leaves
½ C red quinoa

¼ C chopped parsley
2 C tomatoes, chopped
¼ C tomato paste
1 Tbl fresh rosemary, minced (½ tsp dry)

1. Rinse the lentils. Bring them to boil in salted stock or water. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 40 minutes or until cooked.
2. Steam sauté onions until translucent in ½ cup of water/stock. Add garlic, cayenne, bay leaves and quinoa. Stir the mixture until the onions and quinoa give up their liquid.
3. Add parsley and tomatoes. Bring to simmer and stir in tomato paste.
4. Mix in the lentils and their liquid. Simmer 15 mins.
5. Add rosemary, salt and pepper to taste.
6. Stir in more stock/tomato juice/water as needed.

Serve with a dollop of cashew cream and garnish with fresh parsley.
Variations: Swap the quinoa with bulghur wheat and wilt in baby spinach leaves before serving.

For another tasty mid winter stew try this spicy cabbage and kumara hotpot 


A warming winter stew

Eek cooked cabbage!

Not the nicest of thoughts for some of us. But paired up with golden kumara, peanuts, ginger and cayenne all your memories of soggy cooked cabbage will be forgotten.

During the winter months this dish is a weekly staple in my kitchen. It’s a throw-it-all-in-the-pot type meal and goes well over couscous or quinoa topped with fresh coriander. Adjust the hotness to your liking.SAM_2081 (Small)

West African Peanut Stew

1 large onion, chopped
¼ cup vegetable broth
½ tsp cayenne
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 large golden kumara (sweet potato), cubed
1 large can tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
1 Tbl fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbl fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 Tbl peanut butter

1. Steam saute onion for about 5 minutes until soft, add more stock as needed.
2. Stir in the chilli, garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.
3. Add the cabbage, sweet potato, tomatoes, stock, salt, ginger and coriander.
4. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until sweet potato is tender.
5. Stir in the peanut butter and simmer gently.

Serve topped with fresh coriander.

Simple summer soup

When I want to combine all the flavours of summer this is the soup I crave. Simple, tasty and flexible.SAM_1760 (Small)

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 carrot, chopped

2-3 new potatoes, scrubbed, halved and sliced thickly

1 zucchini, chopped

Handful of green beans

2 tomatoes

6 cups water/vegetable stock

1 C fresh basil leaves

1/2 roasted cashews

  • Roast the cashews in a medium oven for ~ 10 mins (watch them carefully).
  • Saute onion, garlic and carrot. Add potatoes and water/stock and bring to the boil. After five minutes add zucchinis, beans and tomatoes and simmer until potatoes are cooked.
  • Blend half the soup with roasted cashews and fresh basil.
  • Season well.
  • Serve with walnut parmesan and fresh basil leaves.

Psst parmesan used to be my cover-up-anything-solution and was one of the last types of dairy I stopped eating. Thankfully this walnut/yeast alternative not only tastes great, it comes without the high acidic rating of its dairy cousin.

Click here to receive my lover-of-food letter

Related links:

How to replace dairy


8 ingredients you usually throw out but shouldn’t

It’s no more “off with your skin and out you go!”

Your relationship with vegetable waste is about to deepen.SAM_1314 (Small)

Vegetable stock is the ever versatile ingredient that will add depth to your soups and sauces. And you can easily make your own.

Collect vegetable trimmings into a container in your fridge and you’ll soon have enough to make a pot of stock.

For oil-free cooking, vegetable stock replaces oil. Crazy I know, but there are a whole lot of plant-based folk truly improving their coronary health by doing so.

But which vegetables shall I stock pile (oh the pun!)?

Here are my main contenders:

  • Garlic paper and those tiny cloves that are too hard to peel
  • Onion skin and ends
  • Leek skins and trimmings
  • Celery leaves and bulb off-cuts
  • Carrots peelings and ends
  • Potato peelings
  • Corn cobs
  • Herb stalks

My rule of thumb is: if a vegetable tastes bad when overcooked – think Brussel sprouts, broccoli, red peppers, cauliflower – then don’t include it.

Place your vege scraps in a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the veges are cooked. Strain and add salt and pepper to taste.

The stock can be frozen in bulk or in ice-cube trays.

Real world alert! There are times when I don’t have my own stock at the ready and store bought stocks/powders are good to have on hand. But watch out for high salt content, msg and anything you can’t pronounce or recognise as food, because it probably isn’t food.

When in doubt, use water.

With your big pot of stock now underway, here are some delicious soup/stew recipes for it to go in.

Not your average lentil stew

Spicey West African peanut stew

Simple summer soup

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The number 1 health food you must have in your fridge

Fast food (that’s healthy) has actually been around since before fridges were invented.

miso soupThose folks in the Far East know a thing or two about health, longevity and happiness. And legend has it that miso was given by the gods to bestow all three.

Traditional oriental medicine has valued miso as a supreme medicine for the prevention and relief of disease. Modern-day studies confer and show those who eat miso soup daily have lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

So what’s healthy about it?

A cultured food, miso is packed with live enzymes that aid digestion. It’s also rich in nutrients such as B vitamins, essential amino acids and essential oils.

There are different types of miso ranging from dark (stronger & saltier) to light varieties (sweeter).

Made from fermented soybeans, barley or brown rice and sea salt, miso is traditionally aged over several months to years. Be sure to purchase organic unpasteurised miso, the nonorganic varieties contain chemicals that you don’t want in your food.

How do I use it?

Mugi miso, made from fermented barley, is a good all round miso. I use it to enrich soups, dressings and sauces. Austrian soup-lover stirs a teaspoon into a cup of hot water for his soup-on-the-run fix.

It’s important not to boil miso due to the live microorganisms. Simmer your soup and add the miso paste mixed with broth at the end of cooking.

Miso soup can be a meal in itself and this recipe combines my favourite flavours – think miso & potato; ginger & spring onions.

All ingredients are optional. Your soup can be as simple as miso & hot water.


4 cups of water

2 potatoes, bite-sized cubes

1 onion, diced

1/2 cup celery, sliced

1/2 cup carrot, sliced into half moons

1/2 cup cauliflower, chopped

1 Tbl dried wakame sliced finely (use scissors)

1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, soaked (30 mins), rinsed & sliced

1 Tbl grated fresh ginger

Sliced spring onion to garnish


1. Soak shiitake mushrooms separately for 30 mins.

2. Put water in a pot and add wakame, potato, cauli, carrot, celery & water.

3. Rinse shiitakes, slice and add to pot.

4. Boil until potato is cooked. Turn off the heat.

5. Ladle about 1/4 cup of broth from pot into a bowl. Mix in 1-1.5 Tbl miso paste. Stir well and return to pot. Add more miso as necessary – it should be neither bland nor salty.

6. Stir in a tablespoon of grated ginger and garnish with spring onions.

Variations: Try with 1/4 cup quinoa,  butternut pumpkin, cubed tofu, other sea vegetables, button mushrooms, brown rice, buckwheat noodles, broccoli, zucchini … you get the picture.

If you have a favourite miso soup combo feel free to share in the comments below. I’d love to hear it!

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