To make your own bowl of soup is an empowering thing you can do to stop the consumerism of the most basic of foods. There’s nothing wrong with ordering in a nice tin of soup now and then (Suma is a workers’ co-op that sells nice organic soups in soups that you can find health stores and some supermarkets). But if you learn the basics, homemade soup is a nice way to use up whatever’s in season and leftover in the fridge or vegetable basket. You can easily add protein and calcium by throwing in some tinned beans, and then with some seasoning and good bread from your local baker, you won’t find a better meal. Here are some nice basic simple and affordable recipes to start you off, all made with everyday ingredients that you can switch around. Then you’ll find a couple of good books of plant-based soup recipes, and links to good homegrown soup companies, to keep a few tins spare in the cupboard. Vegan Tomato Soup (Crowded Kitchen) takes everyone’s favourite to make a homemade version instead. This creamy soup is made with roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic. The perfect lunch for a rainy summer day.
Potato Lentil Soup (Crowded Kitchen)
Another good reason to make your own or buy the brand above, is that the main brand Batchelors, contains palm oil (its use worldwide is harming orangutans, there is no such thing as sustainable palm oil). Other ingredients include glucose syrup, potato starch, maize starch and croutons (with more palm oil). It’s also owned by Premier Foods, a bit multi-national food brand, it’s much better to support small organic brands instead, isn’t it?
Start with a base, by frying off some chopped carrot with celery, leek or onion in a little rapeseed oil, adding spices if wished. Then add some veggie stock and chunky veg (potatoes or root veggies) and simmer for 20 minutes, adding quick-cook veg (like spinach) just a few minutes before serving. You can blend for a creamier soup or just leave it chunky. Then season to taste and serve. See medications for foods to avoid (like excessive greens). Choose palm-oil-free vegan butters. See foods to keep away from pets.
Simple Plant-Based Soup Recipes
Summer Minestrone Soup is thicker and tastier than watery store versions. The courgettes, corn, tomatoes and green beans with fresh herbs are so nutritious, and two types of beans add fibre and protein.
Vegan Asparagus Soup (Crowded Kitchen) is wonderful to use up leftover fresh asparagus, which is only in season for around 6 weeks each year. This smooth soup also contains peas, leeks, spinach, dill and potatoes, so no need for cream.
Creamy Beet Soup is a roasted soup that is comforting and creamy, easy to make and children love it. Potatoes, carrots and apples stop the beets being overwhelming in flavour.
Vegan Broccoli Potato Soup is packed with calcium, and the potatoes replace the cream. Packed with nutritious vegetables, this is ready in 30 minutes and can be used with frozen broccoli if wished.
Vegan Cauliflower Soup is rich and creamy with potato. Very easy to make, and an ideal soup to use up leftovers.
Vegan Mushroom & Wild Rice Soup (Short Girl, Tall Order) gives the meaty mouthfeel and taste, without the meat. Very creamy and the wild rice makes this a very filling dish, especailly if served with bread or toast.
Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup (Crowded Kitchen) is made with tofu baked in poultry seasoning, for all the protein and plants. A lovely zero cholesterol take on a classic, perfect for sick days.
Cabbage soup may not sound the most appetising soup there is, but stick with it. Cabbage is a very nutritious vegetable, and these yum recipes are far away from the awful ‘cabbage soup diet’ mentality. They are thick and nutritious and filling and packed with lots of other veggies too. Soups also contain lots of water, so are very hydrating. Vegetable Cabbage Soup (The Simple Veganista) is packed with a whole head of cabbage and other veggies, plus tasty herbs. You could also use kale (high in calcium). Also known as ‘peasant’s cabbage’, the word is from Scottish name for ‘kailyard’ that described a small garden in the 14th century.
Cauliflower Leek Soup (Crowded Kitchen) is ideal for spring. Made in one pot or blender, just cook up the veggies, blend and it’s ready in 30 minutes.
Butter Bean Stew with Kale (The Veg Space) is another rich protein bean kale stew, also high in calcium. Easy to batch-cook and freeze, this stew also contains lemon, sun-dried tomato and walnuts for even more protein and calcium.
Vegan French Onion Soup (Crowded Kitchen) features caramelized onions and a deep rich flavour, with a vegan cheesy bread topping. This version is dairy-free and perfect for a cosy winter night.
Vegan Corn Chowder (Crowded Kitchen) is a lovely way to use up leftover corn cobs. Paired with chilli peppers and ginger, this is made creamy with coconut milk for a rich and delicious lunch.
Strawberry & Watermelon Gazpacho (Crowded Kitchen) is a lovely cold soup for a summer day. The watermelon is combined with local strawberries for a pretty pink lunch. The soup is fired up with basil and fiery peppers, and cooled down with cucumber.
You Don’t Need Bone Broth
An unfortunate hype in recent years is that bone broth is good for you, to build collagen. Heart surgeon Steven Gundry writes that collagen (for bone health and skin elasticity) lessens as we age, but you don’t ‘make more’ just by eating or drinking it. Just eating a good balanced diet produces the same results. And in fact, too much can have detrimental effects, especially of course, to cows. Vegan Bone Broth (Vegan with Curves) contains sea moss gel for protein and collagen, instead of beef.
Homemade Vegetable Broth (The Minimalist Vegan) keeps in the fridge for up to a week in a well-sealed jar, or in the freezer for around a month (leave space as the top, to allow space for the liquid to expand, as it freezes).
1-Ingredient Simple Vegan Broth (Shane & Simple) is super-simple to make. All you do is boiling water to Shane’s homemade Vegan Bouillon Powder (a tasty mix of seasonings with cheesy-tasting nutritional yeast, herbs and turmeric).
5 Minute Vegan ‘Chicken’ Seasoning (Simple Vegan Blog) is super-simple to make, to give more flavour to vegan dishes. This is a blend of dry spices and herbs that stores well for a few months, in an airght container. Use it on vegan chicken or turkey, in vegan chicken noodle soup, or with breakfast potatoes or cabbage soup. Also check out Iosune’s poultry seasoning (sage, rosemary, marjoram and black pepper) and Italian seasoning.
Homemade Cup a Soups
Vegan Leek & Potato Cup Soup (The Veg Space) is a classic soup with simple ingredients. Leave the skins on the potatoes, to replace the cream. Stewing the leeks also adds more flavour than the average leek soup. This popular soup was invented in France during the 19th century, when it was named Potage Parmentier, after Antoine-Augustin Parmenier. Leeks are a member of the allium family and give a nice peppery kick to what would otherwise be quite a bland soup. Just Wholefoods offers nice organic vegan cup-a-soups, sold in health stores. Just buy in bulk and keep them in the cupboard, for a warming treat. In 3 flavours: Leek & Potato, Tomato Basil and Carrot Coriander.
A Book of Vegan Soup Recipes
Soup Club is a beautiful book of 80 plant-based soups and stews to share. Inspired by the Seattle community soup club run by Caroline Wright, who after a brain cancer diagnosis, told friends she was craving homemade soup, she found soup on her doorstep each day for months. She survived (with a deep gratitude for both soup and her community). So she decided to start a weekly soup club, delivering her own healthful recipes to her friends’ porches.
This unique recipe book offers soup that is more than just a filling meal. Each soup can be made on the stove top and Instant Pot, and each recipe is vegan and glutenfree. Recipes include:
- Catalan Chickpea Stew with Spinach
- Jamaican Pumpkin & Red Pea Soup
- Split Pea Soup with Roasted Kale
- West African Vegetable Stew
- Black Bean Soup
- Pumpkin-Coconut Soup with Curry Leaves
- Kale Farinata
- Broccoli & Rice Soup
Caroline Wright is a former food TV producer who worked with Martha Stewart. Her terminal brain cancer diagnosis in 2017 shifted her career to focus on her health and young sons. She lives in Seattle, USA. The book is illustrated by artist Willow Heath.
Caroline’s inspiring story that began with cancer and ended with community, compelled me to make soup for others. What better way to thank people for their kindness. And the recipes do work! Deborah Madison
The Best Brands of Tinned Soup
Suma’s tinned vegan soups are ideal to keep in the cupboard, for when you want a quick snack. Either alone or with a crusty roll, these make a filling meal. As well as being organic and not needing a tin opener (just pull the ring and recycle with the can), most contain ‘vegan meaty’ ingredients, to round out the meal. Keep these soups away from pets, as they may think they are real meat and the soups contain soy, garlic, onion and other toxic ingredients for furry friends.
Sold in Co-op and other shops, choose from:
- Suma Vegan Pea & Ham Soup is made with wholesome ham-style pieces, and also in a simple pea soup version. Made creamy with coconut milk, over a quarter of the tin is nutritious green peas.
- Suma Organic Tomato Soup features lots of tomatoes, thickened with rice flour and flavoured with vegetable bouillon. There are even some concentrated vegetable juices in there of onion, carrot, parsnip, mushroom and pumpkin, along with herbs and spices (turmeric, parsley, lovage, garlic and fennel seeds).
- Vegan Mushroom Soup made with creamy coconut milk, garlic and onion powder, dehydrated onion and a mushroom bouillon made with salt, and both shiitake and white mushrooms.
- Minestrone Soup with kale, carrots, green beans and tomatoes, served with onion, concentrated vegetable juices, herbs, spices, tomatoes and macaroni elbows.