Soups are a great staple lunch dish for any time of year and a tasty step towards getting your 5-a-day. They are cheap to make, filling, nutritious and are a fab way to use up vegetables that have been lurking in the fridge so that they are not wasted.
The best homemade soups recipes are made from plentiful produce which are in season – for instance, gluts of tomatoes, sweetcorn or courgettes at the end of summer, and squash, potatoes and mushrooms in winter.
Iced soups such as gazpacho and vichyssoise make refreshing options on a hot day, while in winter creamy or rustic chunky soups will keep the chills at bay.
Whatever the month, there’s always a soup recipe to suit your mood.
Top tips for making soups
- Good soups usually start with a base of sweated vegetables. A chopped onion cooked slowly in oil or butter will release its sweet natural sugars into the soup. You could also use chopped leeks. Depending on the flavour you are going for, now is also the time to add any hard vegetables such as diced carrot, potatoes or celery to get them nicely softened, ready for the next stage. Also remember to cook out any spices before adding liquid.
- Potatoes will thicken the soup without imparting too much flavour. You could also use other starchy foods such as red lentils, chick peas, beans, rice or even stale bread to give the texture some extra body if required.
- All soups require some form of liquid of course. Water alone is fine for most vegetable soups. For an extra flavour boost use a stock cube, but if you want to make a rich meaty soup then we recommend you make your own stock from meat bones. Boil up any carcass bones following a roast along with an onion, a few peppercorns and a bay leaf in a couple of litres of water and simmer until it has reduced by at least half. Strain and use for soups. Water left over from boiling a chicken or ham joint is also fantastic.
- Most simple soups only take up to half an hour to make. As soon as the vegetables are soft you can turn off the heat. Always add the green vegetables such as peas or broccoli towards the end of cooking your soup to keep the colour vibrant.
- Once the soup is cooked, decide whether to blend it or semi blend it if you prefer a chunkier texture. Make sure it has cooled a little first to avoid any splatters.
- Check for seasoning. A dash or two of Kikkoman Soy Sauce is perfect for balancing the taste and bringing out the flavour of the ingredients.
- Garnishes – the finishing touch can really make a humble soup extra special. Choose from crunchy fried bread croutons, a swirl of cream or yoghurt, a scattering of chopped herbs or a grating of parmesan to elevate it to the next level if wished.
Simple soup recipes
Here’s a few easy soup recipes to get you started:
- Creamy White Vegetable Soup
- Chilled red pepper soup with rustic croutons
- Tomato and pepper soup with Kikkoman Soy Sauce and lime
- Red pepper tomato and vodka soup
- Cream of Parsnip and Apple Soup
- Japanese Soup with Chicken and Tofu Dumplings
- Asian Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Pastries
- Tofu Noodle Soup
- Mushroom soup
- Pumpkin and lentil soup with bacon
- Beetroot soup