Soups are the perfect option for anyone who is looking to try out simple veggie/vegan cooking. Limiting yourself to plant-based ingredients may seem like a handicap at first. But you will be surprised at how many flavors and textures are possible. Try your hand at these recipes to get a feel for what healthy cooking feels like.
One of the simplest ways to ensure that your soup turns out great is to make your own base. Vegetable broth which is used mostly is more or the less the deciding factor. This is what decides if you make it or break it. So before you make any of your soups:
The Crux of All Veggie Soups: Vegetable Broth
Preparation Time: 30 minutes; Yields 1.5 litres
Ingredients: 10 button mushrooms diced, 2 sticks celery diced, 3 tomatoes diced, ½ large onion or one small onion diced, ½ leek chopped, 1 large carrot chopped, 1 small bulb fennel diced, 3 cloves garlic half crushed, 1 teaspoon peppercorn rough ground, 4 sprigs parsley torn into piece by hand, 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil.
- Pour the olive oil in a large heavy pan or stockpot. Place it on a stove and set to medium flame.
- Drop in the onion, leek, carrot and fennel. Saute this for about 2 -3 minutes.
- Add enough water to cover all the vegetables. Turn up the heat to high.
- Add garlic, pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, celery and parsley. Keep stirring this mixture until it comes to a boil. Once it reaches that point, check the timer to make sure it continues boiling for the next 15 minutes.
- Decant the mixture into a metal sieve. You could either discard the vegetables at this point or use it in another dish. This liquid stock is ready for use.
It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you plan to use it over a longer period make sure to freeze it and not just refrigerate. You could divide it into small batches just so that you don’t thaw out the entire lot each time you make soup.
1. Vegetable – Barley Soup
This vegan homemade soup is surely something you can try your hands on. Topped up with enough vegetables, this is a complete meal all by itself. This is a low-fat, low-cholesterol bean-barley soup and is totally worth every minute of simmer.
Preparation Time: 75 mins; Yields 6 – 8 servings
Ingredients: ½ large onion diced, 3 cloves garlic finely chopped, 2 tablespoons cold-pressed oil of your choice, a couple of sprigs of celery chopped fine, 2 large carrots chopped into cubes, 1 cup cauliflower diced, 1 cup pearled raw barley, 1 cup boiled white beans, ½ cup tomato paste or crushed tomatoes, 1 oregano, ½ teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 8 cups vegetable broth, salt and pepper to taste.
- Saute the onions in a large pan over medium flame after heating the oil for about 2 minutes.
- Add celery, carrots, and cauliflowers and saute for about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the vegetable broth and all the other ingredients except for salt and pepper. Wait for the mixture to reach a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid.
- Allow it to simmer for a minimum of about 20 to 30 minutes up to an hour. Make sure to stir the mix occasionally and check on the barley. The barley will turn soft and fluffy when done.
- Add salt and pepper for taste before serving.
2. Corn and Capsicum Soup
This gluten-free recipe is for anyone looking to make a quick healthy soup at home. You could go vegan on this recipe just by omitting the last step of adding cheese. This could be substituted with a substitute.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes; Yields 3 – 4 servings
Ingredients: 3/4th each of green and red bell peppers, ¼ cup shallots finely minced, 2 tablespoons cold-pressed oil of your choice, 2 teaspoons curry powder, 4 cups fresh corn, 1 cup gluten-free vegetable stock, 3 cups non-dairy milk or plain soy milk, ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Drop in the bell peppers and wait for them to turn tender.
- Once the bell peppers are tender add the shallots and stir until they too become tender. Before they turn brown, add the curry powder and a pinch of salt. Allow this mixture to simmer for about a minute.
- Now add the corn, vegetable stock and two pinches pepper. Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan with a lid and allow it to simmer for about 7 minutes or until the corn is tender.
- Take 2 cups of this corn mixture and blend along with one cup soymilk or non-dairy milk in a food processor. Try to get a smooth consistency when blending.
- Add this mixture back into the saucepan along with the other cup of soymilk or non-dairy milk. Stir this mixture gently on a low flame for about 7 minutes or until you find it heated through.
- Check for salt and pepper before sprinkling the cheddar cheese and serve!
3. Asian Coconut-Vegetable Soup
This soup is a twist from the original Tom Kha. Tom Kha is a traditional Coconut Soup which includes a lot of spices such as galangal and lemongrass. Once you get the hang of it, you could experiment with some of the other spices to make it more interesting.
Preparation Time: 80 minutes; Yields 5 servings.
Ingredients: 1 large onion chopped, 3 red bell peppers diced, 4 large cloves of garlic minced fine, 1 medium sized carrot sliced, 100 grams of boiled chickpeas, 2 tablespoons cold pressed coconut oil, ½ teaspoon each of coriander and cayenne, 3 cups of tomatoes diced, 1 cup fresh coconut milk, 1 cup peanut butter, fresh lemon juice squeezed out of 3 lemons, ½ cup vegetable broth, ½ cup cilantro or basil chopped, salt and pepper.
- Pour the oil into a large pot or saucepan and allow it to turn warm over a medium flame. Saute the onions, pepper, and garlic until they turn soft.
- Drop in the other ingredients except for the cilantro/basil. Bring this mixture to a simmer and then allow it to cook over low heat for about an hour.
- Transfer half of this mixture into a blender and puree until it becomes smooth. Pour this back into the saucepan.
- Add salt and pepper to taste before sprinkling it with cilantro/basil and serving.
You could add some sauteed tofu to give the dish a protein step-up.
4. Vegetable Lentil Soup
Lentil soup is part of most cook’s repertoire, each one with their own twist. This is one of the simplest options for a high protein, healthy vegan soup. You could step up the seasoning with oregano, thyme, and basil once you get a hang of the base flavors.
Preparation Time: 60 minutes; Yields 4 – 5 servings
Ingredients: 1 large onion diced, 1 large carrot cubed, 4 cups vegan vegetable broth, 1 cup dry brown lentils, ¼ teaspoon thyme, 2 bay leaves crushed, 1 teaspoon cold pressed oil/ virgin olive oil of your choice, 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, Kosher’s salt, table salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large pot or saucepan saute the onions and carrots for about 3 – 5 minutes.
- Once you find the onions have become clear, add the vegetable broth, lentils, thyme and bay leaves. Add a dash of Kosher’s salt and a pinch of pepper.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and place a lid on the saucepan. Let it simmer for about 45 minutes or until the lentils become soft and mushy.
- Switch off the flame. Remove the bay leaves and add the lemon. Check for salt and pepper before serving.
5. Cabbage Soup
Preparation Time: 20 mins; Yields 4 servings
Ingredients: 1 pound cabbage chopped into 1 cm strips, 2 onions cut into semi-circular rings, 1 large carrot sliced (optional) 3 cloves garlic minced fine, 2 cups vegan vegetable broth, ¼ cup cilantro chopped fine, Tabasco sauce, pepper, and salt to taste.
- Mix up the cabbage, onions, carrots, garlic and vegetable broth in a saucepan over low flame. Add a dash of salt, pepper, and Tabasco.
- Place a lid on the saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Make sure to stir it occasionally.
- Once you find the cabbages soft, transfer half of the contents of the saucepan into a blender jar. Blend it into a smooth paste.
- Add the blended portion back into the pan. Check for salt and pepper before adding cilantro and serving.
Go ahead and try your hand at these soups before you give up your whole-food plant based diet!
Disclaimer: The above article is sponsored by Thyrve, the world’s first Gut Health Program that incorporates microbiome testing and personalized probiotics to ensure a healthier gut, happier life, and a brighter future.