I don’t think soups get as much attention as they deserve. They are seriously under rated eventhough they are an absolutely brilliant lunch to make for your family.
You can whack whatever you want in there and pack it full of veggies and goodness, which makes it ideal for little fussy eaters. You can then mix in carbs like pasta, rice or pulses (lentils, butter beans…).
Most soups involve our favourite all-in-one method, where we can whack everything in a pan and cook it. To lock in all the flavours of the ingredients, as well as retaining all their nutritional value, I cook the veg all together in a pan with a lid on. This ensures the ingredients are cooked through as they get steamed and don’t loose all their nutrients (which you would get when boiling them).
You also want to make sure to use a good stock to mix in. As I also cook this for my baby and toddler, I use a very low salt stock cube. You can use chicken or veg cubes, it’s up to you.
My kids LOVE pasta, so I usually mix in a couple of handfuls of pastina (like orzo pasta or little stars). Or sometimes I just serve it with a few slices of buttered toast or chunky bread. But this soup is so versatile you can mix in whatever you want to give it a bit of texture, and also make it a bit more filling. It also freezes really well, so I always cook double the amount to batch freeze it for an easy meal during the week.
You can experiment with different veg if you like. I always start with a base of onions or leeks plus carrot, and then build the ingredients from there. And I like to add a potato or sweet potato for extra thickness and fullness. I find that it can be quite thin and still leave you feeling hungry afterwards… But again, you can add, detract or substitute any ingredients that don’t take your fancy. Want to try using kale instead of spinach? Want to add some veg that need using up in the fridge? Give it a go! Just be mindful of how veg need different cooking times. So, if you have things like onions, leeks, carrot or peppers, just add those first and when they start to soften add the rest of the veg.
So without further adeu, here is our recipe for a super yummy super veggie soup, which you and your kids will love!
This recipe serves 1 Adult and 2 kids (1 Toddler and 1 baby). But I usually end up with left over, which I whack in the freezer for an easy meal for the kids during the week. So I suppose you could also use it for 2 Adults and 2 kids if you like.
It is a basic recipe, to which you can add more veg if you like. I tend to also add 1/2 a Courgette and a handful of frozen Peas towards the end of cooking. But we kept it simple, so you can experiment and make it your own.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 2 Baking Potatos
- 1/2 a Leek (or Onion if you prefer)
- 1 Large Carrot (peeled)
- 4-6 Chestnut Mushrooms (depending on size)
- 4 handfuls of Spinach
- Stock (made with 1/2 Chicken Stock cube + 1/2 Veggie Stock cube) – this will be enough to cover the Potatoes, which will be explained in the Method.
- Olive oil, for cooking
- Parmesan (for grating on top) or Cream Cheese (to mix in at the end)
- You will need a Blender or Hand Held mixer for to liquidise the soup
- Wash all your veg. Peel and roughly chop the Potatoes in to small chunks (this is to ensure they are easy to blend later on). Add to a saucer pan and cover with water. Start bringing to the boil.
2. While the Potatoes are waiting to boil, start chopping the Carrot in to rough small pieces. Add to a heated saucer pan with a drizzle of Olive Oil. Cover with a lid and cook on low heat.
3. Chop the Leek (or Onion) in to small pieces. Make sure to wash the Leek, as it usually has dirt within it’s layers. To do this: add the chopped bits to a medium bowl of water. Rub the pieces together with your fingers in the water, to separate the layers and ensure the dirt gets washed out and sinks to the bottom. Then pick up the pieces of Leek letting the water sift through your fingers, and add to the pan with the Carrot. Cook on low heat with the lid on, until the veg start to soften. Usually 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3. When the Potatoes start to boil, turn the heat down to medium and add the Stock Cubes, broken in to small pieces. Stir with a wooden spoon to make sure the Stock Cubes melt thoroughly in the water. You don’t want little Stock lumps popping up here and there. Then leave the potatoes to cook in the stock until nice and soft (about 15-20 minutes).
4. When the Carrots and Leeks start to soften, roughly chop the Mushrooms and Spinach in to small pieces and add to the veggie pan, with the lid back on. The idea is that you are also steaming the veg and keep in all the veg juice and nutrients, rather than it evaporating away. If you want to add other veg, do it before the Mushrooms and Spinach, as they take the least amount to cook. Stir occasionally.
5. When the veg and potatoes are all nice and soft, it is time to put everything in the blender. If you don’t have one, you can use a hand held electric mixer and add the Potatoes and Stock to the pan with the veg in. Then blend it all in there.
6. Add the veg mix to the blender first. Then add the Potatoes with a slotted spoon. You will then need to add the Stock used to cook the potatoes in. You want to add enough liquid to ensure the blender can mix the veg all together without getting stuck. I usually go by whatever looks right; you don’t want the soup too thick, but also not too thin either. Add a few spoon fulls of Stock to begin with and start blending. If it looks too thick you can keep adding more spoonfuls until you have a “just right” result. It also depends on what soup consistency you prefer, so it is really up to you how much Stock to add.
7. And presto pronto! You have a delicious, nutritious, veggie soup. You can choose to add more texture with cooked small pasta shapes or rice. Or just serve it with some lovely butter toast or bread. But always make sure to add a generous amount of grated cheese (Parmesan is best), or a big dollop of cream cheese (we like Philadelphia with it) to make it more creamy.
This also freezes really well, so I always make extra for easy meals during the week. Just make sure to take out to thaw in the morning and then heat up in a sauce pan on low heat. It might come out a bit lumpy at first, so just keep stirring and perhaps add a little water to make it smooth again.
We hope you enjoy it! As usual, please feel free to leave any comments, questions or suggestions on our page.