Quick vegetable soups

5 April 2017
A few ladies asked for my recipe for tomato soup. It's one of my quick soups and being so easy to prepare it's a very handy recipe to have on hand to use for a wide range of vegetables.  The one recipe will help you prepare a lot of different soups. These are my go-to meal when I don't have much time or when we've been out and instead of buying takeaway food, I make up a quick soup and have it on the table in 30 minutes. The prep time is about five minutes, the rest is cooking time.

This basic process can be used for vegetables such as tomatoes, capsicums/peppers, celery, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach/chard/silver beet/Asian greens, peas, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini/courgettes.

Using the trio of onion, carrots and celery - the flavour base of many European recipes, you can build a complex flavour in even a simple soup that doesn't necessarily need homemade stock. You can use stock if you have some on hand, but it's not absolutely necessary. When I don't have stock, I finish off with a little cream, but that is optional, it's just a flavour enhancer.

The following recipe makes enough tomato soup for 4 serves.
  • At least 500g/1lb tomatoes,  roughly chopped - you can use more for a more intense flavour
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • Add the herbs you like - I used a couple of sprigs of rosemary, dried oregano and some Italian thyme. 
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Cream (optional)
  • Chicken stock (optional) or water
  • Salt and pepper
After you've roughly chopped the above, add it to a saucepan with 1.5 litres of water or stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until all the vegetables have softened. Puree the vegetables using a stick blender, then taste, season or add cream if necessary, and serve.  It will taste even better the following day.

 Potato soup with parsley.
Fresh green pea and pods soup.

Generally, to make up any of these soups, use your flavour base of chopped onion, celery and carrot with the water or stock, and instead of using tomato as your main flavour, use whatever you have on hand.  Cook until the vegetables are soft, puree with a stick blender, taste, season if necessary, add cream if needed and serve.

It's a filling, healthy meal that doesn't take much time to prepare and won't break the bank. You can combine different vegetables to create different tastes - sweet potato, potato and pumpkin is a real hit here. I hope you try this then write a few notes about it to tuck into your favourite cookbook. It will serve you well over the years.