Souping, I’m reliably informed, is the new juicing. I’m really pleased about this because I have never understood the obsession with juicing. Soup is healthy, hearty and adaptable. Juice is often green, grim, full of fruit-calories and in my opinion overhyped.
I find it really hard to get excited by people waxing lyrical about slimey, green and brown juice mixtures made of fruit and veg. Served on their own, whole or chopped up, they would be perfectly delicious and filling. But mushed together (spinach, apple, celery, kale…..really?) they not only look disgusting (and often taste disgusting), they’re calorie-laden too. The amount of fruit ‘calories’ that can be crammed into one juice is often more than anyone could possibly eat at one sitting if they were consuming them whole. That’s why I love soup or should I say ‘souping’. Great for eating satisfaction, great for health and nutrition and great for being low in calories (thanks to all the water in soup). That means they are also great for maintaining my Grab Life Over 50 weight loss (1 stone 4lb so far and counting!).
To be fair, juicing and souping don’t really bear comparison. The former feels like a fad. The latter is just a great way to eat healthily and feel satisfied for longer.
The ‘souping’ I love is simply all about creating easy, delicious and healthy meals (usually lunches) made from lots of vegetables, water and stock. Each one is so quick to make. I batch cook it and freeze what’s left-over to have another healthy meal ready for tomorrow or next week.
And winter, or summer, there are plenty of inspiring soup recipes to try…
1 Ready – chopped veg
I avoid the excuse of not having time to peel and chop veg by buying them ready-chopped It also helps to speed up the process. I can make a really delicious dish – start to finish – in less than 30 minutes. And most of the time, I don’t have to do anything as the mixture simmers away.
Asda do a good selection of ready-chopped veg at a really good price (every little counts!). My favourites are their Spicy Butternut Squash Soup mix featured in the video above and the Mediterranean mix below. I think most supermarkets do veg like this too.
2 Go-To Soup Ingredients
I keep a stock-pile of stock (sorry) as it’s critical for making my soups really tasty. I also make sure I have light spray oil for frying off the veg at the start without cranking up the calories. I buy Taj frozen, crushed garlic (little blocks in a big bag mean it’s quick and easy to chuck one in the soup mix when needed) as well as good old Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce. This is a must-have flavour maker as far as I’m concerned.
3 Soup-making kit
a) A good liquidiser
A large, dedicated liquidiser can make short work of a pan full of tasty cooked veg and quickly turn it into delicious soup.
b) Plastic ‘freezer to microwave’ containers
These are vital if you batch cook your soups and want to portion them out and save some for later.
c) A Sharpie
However many times I tell myself I will remember which soup is which, I can guarantee that once they’re in the freezer, I almost always forget after a couple of days. I now make a note on the box lid. It’s easy enough to wash off when the soup is eaten and the box is re-used for a fresh, home-made batch.
Simple Spicy Butternut Squash Soup
As featured in the video above, I take a couple of bags of Asda’s Spicy Butternut Squash Soup Mix. I throw them in a pan and quickly fry them off with some spray oil. Then I add a frozen block of garlic puree, two teaspoons of stock powder and plenty of water to cover the ingredients. I leave the whole lot to come to the boil and drop the heat to allow it to bubble for around 15-20 minutes. I finish off by adding a few dashes of Lea and Perrins or a hotter, chilli sauce if I”m feeling adventurous and adjust to taste before whizzing up the mixture in the liquidiser.
Next time, look out for my Summer-inspired Pea & Mint Soup. Delicious!