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.
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
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.
If used, choose vegan butters free from palm oil. Keep recipes away from pets due to toxic ingredients (fresh dough, onion, garlic, mushrooms, jackfruit, vegan meats/cheeses etc). Never give leftover croutons (or any stale bread, crackers etc to garden birds or wildfowl as they could choke (fatty foods like butter or grease can also negatively affect waterproofing and insulation of feathers).
Minestrone soup was first created in Italy, as a way to try new vegetables, due to economic growth when Rome conquered the country. The word comes from ‘minestra’, which means chunky, due to the pasta.
Tuscan White Bean Soup (Short Girl, Tall Order) is a one-pot soup with fresh veggies (including calcium-rich kale), herbs and cannellini beans.
Borlotti Bean Soup with Kale (The Veg Space) is a filling hearty lunch, packed with protein. A creamy soup to keep you full until supper.
Minestrone Soup (The Simple Veganista) is what a proper minestrone should look like – thick and hearty. Compare this to shop-bought.
Suma Minestrone Soup is sold in a tin and is made with kale, green beans and tomatoes, onion, herbs, spices, and macaroni elbows. Sold in health stores and Co-op supermarkets.
Carrot soup is one of the most popular flavours, often as a ‘cream of carrot’ soup or served with coriander. But many store versions are quite watery, so try these plant-based recipes instead. Carrots are one of nature’s sweetest vegetables. First grown in Afghanistan, carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, which turns to vitamin A in the body. So great for your eyesight and skin. Carrot Apple Ginger Soup (Crowded Kitchen) is a comforting winter warmer, for the whole family to enjoy.
Spiced Carrot & Lentil Soup (Crowded Kitchen) is very tasty, and easy to make. This creamy soup is topped with a swirl of vegan yoghurt and za’atar olive oil.
Carrot Miso Soup (The Simple Veganista) uses the Japanese condiment to make this very nourishing and salty. Miso is also good for digestion. Includes ginger and protein-packed tofu.
Where to Buy Good Carrot Soup
Just Wholefoods Carrot Coriander Soup is made with organic ingredients, sold in sachets of 4 that can be served in a cup or a bowl. Also as Leek & Potato and Tomato Basil.
This is one of a series of posts of homemade plant-based alternative recipes to the most popular store-bought soups. French onion soup is delicious, but is usually not even vegetarian as it often contains beef stock. This French Onion Soup (Crowded Kitchen) combines caramelized onions with a vegan cheesy bread topping.
Vegan French Onion Soup (Short Girl, Tall Order) is made with a rich savoury mushroom broth, caramelized onions and buttery toast, topped with vegan mozzarella.
1-Pot French Onion Soup (Minimalist Baker) cooks the onions in oil, vegan butter or water, to maximise natural sweetness and create a tender texture. Add a pinch of salt to infuse with more taste.
The Best Brands of Ready-Made Soup
Although it’s nice to make a homemade soup, sometimes all you want to do is open a tin and heat up a soup on the stove. Either alone for a snack or with other foods, soup makes a filling nutritious meal, ideal comfort food for cold winter nights.
Suma soups are sold in health stores and Co-op supermarkets, in a tin with a ring pull. Some contain ‘meaty ingredients’ to round out the protein (most are vegan). The range includes a simple pea soup along with a vegan pea & ham, an organic tomato soup, a ‘cream of mushroom soup’ and minestrone or lentil.
Soulful One Pot Vegan Meals are prepared by chefs. You can buy gift cards and get 10% off your first order. There are also student discounts and reward points available (to redeem against future orders). Delivery is free on orders over £34.99 (and selection boxes) or choose £5 delivery for smaller orders.
A little bugbear for vegans is that the pots are sent in insulation made from either sheep’s wool or recycled denim. However, you can return the packaging to be used again, so at least it gets reused each time, rather than keep buying new. Recycle plastic packaging at supermarket bag bins or with household waste. Wholesale orders are welcome, to sell in shops. Choose from:
- Sweet Potato, Coconut & Coriander
- Thai Chilli with Edamame, Peas & Quinoa
- Butternut, Lentil & Spinach (top image)
If you like one pot meals, Tideford Organics is an interesting company, as it used to make meals with animal foods, but decided to completely revamp and is now completely plant-based. Most of the soups therefore have proper protein and calcium in them. Served with bread, they make nice ‘pot meals’. Made in Devon from organic ingredients, range includes:
- Spicy Bean & Butternut Soup
- Spicy Jerk Jackfruit Soup
- Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup
- Lentil Spinach Dhal Soup
- Tomato Butterbean Soup
- Sweet Potato, Lentil & Quinoa Soup
- Spiced Parsnip Soup (a find, as this one has no milk or cream and also contains protein with lentils and quinoa). It’s almost impossible to find good plant-based parsnip soup in shops, and it’s everyone’s favourite!
Soupologie Veggie-Crammed Soups
Soupologie makes soups that are crammed with vegetables and rich in nutrients, with interesting ingredients that are as filling, as they are good for you. All the soups are gluten-free and also free from the 14 main allergens, with no added sugar, cornflour thickeners or palm oil. The range includes:
- Spinach & Kale with Garlic
- Broccoli, Pea & Basil
- Pea & Leek
- Cauliflower & Kale
- Lentil & Kale
- Turmeric Noodle Broth
The 5-a-day Soups are designed to comply with WHO guidelines that say we should eat at least 400g of fruits and veggies each day, to help prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. NHS says this amount should be divided into 80g of five different fruits and veggies (from different families, yellow spuds don’t count!) The range includes:
- Classic Tomato with Carrot & Red Pepper
- Carrot & Butternut with a Hint of Chilli
- Garden Pea with Leafy Spinach
- Sweetcorn & Carrot with Turmeric
The Souper Cubes use flash-frozen fresh soups that are sold in portion-sized cubes (2 cubes make one portion of soup or use 1 cube to make a child’s soup or sauce). Just heat on the hob straight from the freezer. The inner bag is compostable and the outer box is made from cardboard.
Cup-a-soups are enjoyed by everyone, but the ingredients in the main brands are not the tastiest, nor the healthiest. Far better to make your own, which is rich in fresh seasonal veggies, and a good way to use leftover produce at the back of the fridge. 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. Use vegan butters with no palm oil.
Leek & potato 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 leek potato cup-a-soups, sold in health stores. Just buy in bulk and keep them in the cupboard, for a warming treat. Also in Tomato Basil and Carrot Coriander.
Start a Community Soup Club
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.
Use vegan butters with no palm oil. Keep these recipes away from pets due to toxic ingredients (garlic, onion, leeks, chives, mushrooms, grapes, nuts, avocado, dried fruits, nutmeg, fresh dough, green potatoes/onions, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, jackfruit and xylitol).
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
Soup Socks are made from strong cotton, to make clear tasty broths and soups. You can also use them to keep chunky spices out of mulled wines and ciders. The pack includes 3 soup socks.