Soups can be your best friend in the kitchen! Plant-based soups offer us the opportunity to nourish our selves with delicious, nutrient-dense, easy-to make and easily digestible meals that can be rustled up quickly or batch-cooked and frozen so you always have a ‘ready’ meal to hand and a quick and economical way of creating a satisfying and wholesome family meal.

Amber Locke

Amber Locke

One soup can be please a crowd of differing tastes. Soups can be made to suit any occasion; from a quick lunch to an elegant dinner party starter and if they are made to a vegan or plant-based recipe then additional sprinkles and toppings can be offered separately to suit different dietary requirements. For example a basic tomato soup can be offered with grated parmesan, crumbled crispy pancetta, diced avocado, a horseradish cream and sour dough croutons so everyone can pick and choose and personalise their bowl according to their personal tastes and dietary requirements making it easy for the chef to keep everyone happy!

Many soups are naturally ‘vegan’. Many well-loved soup classics are vegan by the ingredients they typically use (or don’t use) in their recipes. Think of mushroom soup, tomato soup, celery soup, gazpacho, carrot and coriander soup – many of these are ’vegan’ simply by the nature of the ingredients they use and can be some of the most flavoursome and satisfying soups you can make. So if you’re serving them to friends who are adverse to eating ‘vegan’ food, simply don’t tell them, they’ll never know and secretly you’ll be feeding them a meal that’s not only better for you but also kinder to the planet.

It’s easy to create non-vegan ingredient you may crave. For example if you’re craving a creamy flavoured and textured soup it’s easy to re-create this by incorporating nut milk or a cashew cream or by blending in ‘creamy’ vegetables such as cooked cauliflower, parsnips, roasted garlic or white beans. To replace cheese try nutritional yeast flakes, vegan parmesan or cubes of marinated tofu and to re-create savoury/meaty flavours try adding in umami-rich ingredients, liquid smoke or smoked salt or a dash of vegan Worcestershire sauce.

It can be an opportunity to be more creative and adventurous and get you out of a soup ‘rut’. If you don’t typically cook plant-based meals creating a totally vegan soup can be a fun challenge to get you thinking about ways of using different ingredients or trying new things like making a home made vegetable stock from scratch.

It’s a great way of consuming a large amount and wide variety of vegetables in one meal. In one bowl of soup you can easily reach your 5 a day so can be a brilliant way to cram a whole load of fresh fruit and vegetables into one meal and even disguise extra ‘hidden’ veg for more picky eaters or vegetable haters!

Plant-based soups can be great for digestive issues and also for weight loss. If you are looking to lose weight or just trying to give your digestive track a bit of a breather then soups are an ideal way to consume a highly satisfying but easily digestible meal that’s packed full of nutrition but not necessarily excess calories.

Veggie soups can be a great and cost-effective way of using up left overs. They are an ideal way to use any odds and ends left in the fridge or slightly wilted specimens of fruit and vegetables that might other wise be discarded giving them a completely new lese of life by whipping them up into a delicious blended soup!

Vegan soups can be one of the best ways to ‘eat the rainbow’ and a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Soups can be a wonderful way to add more colour to your diet and eat or drink a ‘rainbow’ of nutrients. They can also be a good way to encourage picky eaters or children to try new or different ingredients as it’s sometimes less daunting to sip a new flavour than bite into a piece of unknown or un-liked fruit or vegetable and sometime people who dislike a vegetable served whole like beetroot for example with happily drink it in the form of a soup. So to easily bring more colour to your table think golden sweet potato soup, magenta-bright beetroot borscht, vibrant purple potato soup, quirky blue corn soup, a beautiful spring greens broth, vivid orange carrot soup or a jet-black coloured black bean soup and delight in the amazing variety of colours of nature you can enjoy in a bowl.

Soups can be the ultimate ‘feel good’ food. A simple bowl of soup can be one of the most restorative and comforting dishes you can eat, especially on a cold wet day or if you’re feeling the blues. Alternatively on a hot summer’s day a bowl of chilled or cold soup can be equally as enlivening and refreshing to the palate and also give a your spirit a little invigorating lift. So within a few sips a bowl of soup can do far more than just satisfy your appetite, it can also revive and soothe the soul and boost your mood too!

Vegan Soups - Over 100 recipes for soups, sprinkles, toppings & twists by Amber Locke, published by Mitchell Beazley, £7.99 www.octopusbooks.co.uk


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