It’s chilly outside, but you want to feel full and warm inside? Enter these two formulas for easy hearty plant-based soups!
Making a hearty plant-based soup involves going beyond just the vegetables. If you want to stay fuller for longer, adding beans in the soup will increase protein and fibre, which will help with satiety (that satisfied post-meal feeling!). Adding a grain (either in the soup itself or bread to dunk in it) helps to make plant-based soups into satisfying meals.
Read on for the only two formulas you need for oil-free, wholefood soups that are both healthy and yummy!
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I like to share formulas rather than recipes, because I want to empower you to be able to throw plant-based meals together without having to follow a strict recipe / make sure you have all the ingredients.
We often make soup on a Wednesday, as that’s when we receive our Abel & Cole veggie box, and it enables us to use up any vegetables that were left from last week’s box. Anyhoo, the point is that you can make both of these soup formulas with what you’ve got!
If you get a bit nervous about timings, you might want to chop your vegetables in advance. Most vegetables work in this kind of soup, but here are some ideas:
|Cruciferous veggies*||Greens*||Other veggies|
|Broccoli||Rocket / arugula||Carrots|
|Bok choy||Collard greens||Courgette / zucchini|
* Some vegetables can be classified both as greens and cruciferous veggies… No matter which box you put them in, they’re all good for you!
Pssst, did you know that chopping garlic 15 minutes before using it helps to activate its anti-cancer properties? Requires a bit of organisation, but it’s good to know!
Start by cooking some celery and carrot in a little bit of water. If you’re a heathen who likes onion, this is when you’d use it too.
I’ve been reading Your Body In Balance, so I’m trying to reduce my oil consumption. And to be honest, you can’t really taste the difference with the end product, hence why I advocate for cooking the veggies in a bit of water rather than oil.
Then add the rest of your vegetables, including the garlic. Add a can of chopped tomatoes (optional, but it helps the soup feel more filling!), some beans and a grain and cover with boiling water. If you use canned beans, they’re pretty much ready instantly, so there isn’t much of a lead time. If you’re using dried beans, follow the instructions on the packet! Dried red lentils cook quite quickly, in around 15 minutes.
Regarding grains, the best one to use in soups in my opinion is pearl barley. But it takes an hour to cook, so it isn’t really an option if you need to throw together a speedy weeknight dinner! (Though if you work from home, you could chop everything on your lunch break and have it cook on low during the afternoon.)
You could also use:
- Whole-wheat pasta
- Rice noodles
- … or anything you have in your cupboards really!
Add your greens at the end, as they will wilt into nothingness otherwise!
|Other veggies||Carrot + chopped tomatoes||Mushrooms + seaweed|
|Herbs and spices||Rosemary + garlic||Chili flakes + ginger|
|Whole grains||Pearl barley||Wholegrain rice noodles|
|Daily Dozen servings||7||7|
For this second soup formula, we’re going for a creamy blended consistency – without the cream! By focusing on wholefood plant-based ingredients and skipping dairy or vegan cream alternatives, we’re reducing the saturated fat and keeping the soup both satiating and healthy.
So how do we make a creamy soup without cream? Enter two secret weapons: cashew nuts and butter beans!
To make them easier to blend, I’d recommend soaking the cashews overnight. If you haven’t done that, you can also soak them in boiling water for 15 minutes.
If you’re using dried butter beans, you’ll want to soak them for 8 hours or overnight. If you’re using canned butter beans, they’re already ready to go!
Now if you’ve read all the way through, you might be wondering how do we roast veggies without oil? Here’s a gratuitous Happy Pear video about oil-free cooking, because I love their accent:
But essentially the secret is to either use baking parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Alternatively, you could grill your veggies to give them that nice “caramelised” taste.
Then the choice is yours: you can use a stick blender and cook the soup in a pan, or just blend it all up in a blender. I believe some Vitamix blenders can even cook soup!
|Pumpkin soup||Red pepper and tomato|
|Beans||Butter beans||Butter beans|
|Cruciferous veggies||Baked cauliflower||Baked cauliflower|
|Other veggies||Baked pumpkin||Grilled red pepper + chopped tomatoes|
|Nuts||Cashew nuts||Cashew nuts|
|Herbs and spices||Curry powder / turmeric + ginger||Fresh basil / dried Italian herb mix|
|Whole grains||Rye bread||Sourdough bread (doesn’t “count” as a Daily Dozen food, but it’s tasty!)|
|Daily Dozen servings||6||6|
This was all about hearty plant-based soups
You may also like:
- Looking for vegan soups to buy? Here’s your list!
- Keep the munchies at bay with these 6 hearty vegan breakfast ideas
- 4 hearty plant-based meals to keep you warm and satisfied
This post was initially published in November 2022. It has been updated in April 2023.