During the you-know-what, we developed some bad habits with our eating and meals. Downgraded ourselves with too many processed foods and lazy bigger portion sizes, so we had a diet reset and from this, we became more mindful of the food we ate. So from this change, came a whole new set of recipes that we had to share with you!
The first is a surprising veggie soup recipe. Surprising because of the simplicity of the ingredients, the low cost and the low calorie count. But it was so filling! We had planned later in the day to have a snack anticipating hunger striking before dinner, but it never happened.
Here are a few general rules about this recipe:
- It’s not a musical notation for you to follow note for note: adapt, remove, use what you have available.
- Frozen veggies are fine, but just beware of the extra water they will add during cooking. You may need to add more seasoning.
- Quantities can be varied according to taste and season, hunger level and how much you want for leftovers. It is even better the next day after the soup spends the night in the fridge as all the ingredients get to know each other better.
Ingredients for two portions
- 1 Litre/4 and a bit cups/1.75 pints of vegetable stock
- 1 large White Onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks of celery
- 2 Peppers (Bell Peppers for non-UK peeps)
- 1 Tablespoon of your cooking oil of choice (Olive/Vegetable)
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- Salt, Pepper and your favourite seasonings
- Prepare your stock and set aside, I usually use stock cubs and dissolve them in boiling water in a measuring jug.
- Chopping time! Watch your fingers, prepare the onion and garlic first and set them aside in their own bowl. Next chop up all your other vegetables and keep them apart. They go in at different times so it is easier to separate now. Chop according to preference, if you want them smaller they will cook quicker but may become very soft. Chop larger if you want them to retain some bite.
- Now you’re ready to cook. Put a large pot on a medium heat (too high and everything will burn, too low it won’t cook and you’ll be boiling the veg from raw) and add your oil. Give it a few seconds to warm up then add the onion and garlic. After a minute, add a small amount of salt, pepper and any other spices you want such as Chili Flakes. Experiment and add whatever takes your fancy. Stir often, once onion starts to turn translucent we’re onto the next step!
- Toss in all the veg, don’t be shy. The goal is here is to soften the vegetables up and add some flavour to them from the oil, onion and spices. Stir fry/sautee/cook for at most 5 minutes: if you’ve maintained a perfect balance between heat and stirring everything should be softened and ready for a bath.
- Pour in all your stock, get the pot back up to a good temperature but do not boil! You will just end up cooking out all the taste. Keep things at a good temperature to see a few bubbles and now patience. It will need at least 20-25 minutes to get nice and ready but can be left for longer on a low temperature if you need a rest first.
- Have a taste, but don’t burn your tongue! This is the point where you can now check if it needs any extra seasoning. Stock can be quite salty so that is why you don’t want to add too much at the beginning.
- Serve in a big bowl. Bread is optional but a slice of good sourdough bread is amazing with it.
As I said, feel free to change the vegetables up depending on what you have in the kitchen. For example, if you have some spinach you need to use up? Add it during Stage 6 after you have turned the heat off, pop a lid on the pot and let the heat from the soup wilt it a little bit! Doesn’t need much to cook at all. You can replace all the fresh veg with a frozen chopped veg mix, just be aware you might not need to add as much stock and it will cook quicker if in smaller pieces. The more you make? The more you’ll figure out what you like.