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How to make your own soup

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You can create soups like thisMulligatawnyin a flash

Soup can be a simple snack, a filling mid-week meal or a great dish to serve to friends – the variations are endless. Although convenient, canned, powdered or ready-made chilled soups can be high in salt. So why not try making your own? You don’t need any special equipment and it’s easy, cheap and nutritious. Soup can be stored in the fridge for three days or frozen for up to three months. You can defrost it straight from the freezer to give you a meal in minutes.  

 

Soup can be made with almost any ingredient and is perfect for using up leftovers and odds and ends of meat, fish or vegetables. It can be thick and creamy or a warming hearty broth. It can even be served chilled on a summer’s day, such as thisgazpacho, which doesn’t even need cooking. 

History

It’s thought that soup has been enjoyed for around 20,000 years. Every country and culture eats soup. With almost mythical status as a healing food and used in times of both feast and famine, it’s no wonder soup is often regarded as the ultimate comfort food.

Download yourHow to make your own soup guide (PDF 274,KB) 

 

Fill yourself up

Soup is one of the most filling foods you can eat. Research has shown that soup can keep you fuller for longer than eating the same ingredients separately.

This makes soup a particularly good food if you have diabetes and trying to avoid snacking between meals.

Try this easypotato, leek and cheese soup.

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Soup and weight loss

As long as it’s not full of fat or cream, soup can be useful if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain ahealthy weight.A major ingredient is water, which means soup can be less ‘energy-dense’ food. Energy density is the amount of energy or calories per gram of food. So you can eat a filling amount of soup without consuming too many calories.

How to make soup

Unlike baking, where you need to follow a recipe, soup is very flexible. You can adapt any soup to make it your own and it’s almost impossible to get it wrong, so it’s ideal for the novice cook. 

Stock

The key to good soup is stock. Look for fresh or liquid versions, they’re usually tastier and less salty than stock cubes. If using stock cubes, go for reduced salt ones. Best of all ishomemade stock, which is really simple to make. Make a big batch and freeze it in small portions. 

The base

This could just be a chopped onion, or a stick of celery and a carrot. It’s not the main flavour but is the starting point for soup and adds depth. Finely chop and sauté in a little oil until soft, or brown to add colour and a deeper flavour.

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Sweet potato soup

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Parsnip and apple soup

The heart of your soup

This is the key flavour of the soup – it could just be one ingredient, such as thissweet potato soup or complementary ingredients, such as this classic autumn combination ofparsnip and apple.

Flavouring 

Here you have the opportunity to change the dynamic of the soup. Simple vegetable soup can be transformed – chilli, ginger and garlic will give an Asian flavour or add shredded leftover chicken or ham.

Curry powder or paste and fresh coriander provide an Indian influence, a teaspoon of pesto makes it Italian, while a pinch of harissa and a squeeze of lemon delivers Arabic essence. 

Try ourchilli bean soup with avocado salsa

Boosting flavour with herbs and spices enables you to use far less salt, so add any that you like. You can also add a teaspoon of mustard, it’s up to you.

Try this recipe forharira soup.

Add lentils or beans

Throw in a handful of red lentils with the stock to add fibre and also thicken the soup. Or try tinned beans, chickpeas or lentils. These ingredients have a low GI (Glycaemic Index) so do not affect your blood glucose levels as much. 

Recipes for you to try: 

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Red lentil soup 

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Kale and green lentil soup

Garnish

For extra zing when serving, try a swirl of 0% fat Greek yogurt, a sprinkle of toasted almonds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or freshly chopped chives or basil. For healthy croutons roast small cubes of sweet potato until crispy.

We have lots of tasty soup recipes in ourrecipe finder, just add 'soup' in the search field.

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