Winter Warmers: Soups that are super quick

Nothing can warm you up on a cold winter’s day quite like a hot bowl of hearty soup. One of the great winter comforts, soup is also a fantastic way to up your daily intake of nutrient dense vegies, it’s economical and will guarantee you a weeks’ worth of leftovers. Plus warm liquids like soup may help to soothe dreaded winter ailments like sore throats and ensure you get the nourishment you need when you’re feeling under the weather. Making homemade soup is easier than you might think and doesn’t need to be a time-consuming or daunting task to be delicious or healthy. We’ve got four super quick soup ideas to warm your cockles this winter. Crusty bread optional.

  1. Smashing Pumpkin Soup – You will need 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 onion coarsely chopped, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1.2kg butternut pumpkin peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped, 4 cups vegie stock, dollop of natural yoghurt to serve. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. How to make - Cook onion stirring for 5 minutes or until golden. Add cumin and stir for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add pumpkin and stir to coat. Add stock and simmer for 20 minutes or until pumpkin is soft. Use a stick blender to blend until smooth. Ladle into bowls and serve with a dollop of yoghurt on top.
  2. Minestrone – You will need 2 cups dried macaroni, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 leek, white part only sliced, 2 garlic cloves crushed, 1 carrot sliced, 1 zucchini sliced, 2 celery stalks sliced, 100g green beans chopped, 400g tin chopped tomatoes, 2L vegie stock, 2 tbsp tomato paste, tin of cannellini beans rinsed and drained, 2 tbsp chopped parsley. How to make – Cook macaroni in a large saucepan of rapidly boiling water until al dente, drain and set aside. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in another large saucepan. Add the leek and garlic and sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the carrot, zucchini, celery, green beans, tomato, stock and tomato paste. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until vegies are tender. Stir in the macaroni and cannellini beans and heat through. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley (NB. Nearly any vegie can be added to minestrone so this is a great recipe for using up odds and ends lurking in your fridge).
  3. Chicken and rice noodle soup – You will need 1 boneless and skinless chicken breast, 900mL chicken or vegie stock, 1 tsp fresh chopped ginger, 1 garlic clove finely chopped, 100g thin rice noodles, ½ cup canned sweetcorn, 6 mushrooms thinly sliced, 2 spring onions finely chopped, 2 tsp soy sauce plus extra for serving, mint, basil and a little shredded chilli (optional) to serve. How to make – Pour stock into a pan and add chicken, ginger and garlic. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Remove chicken to a board and shred into bite sized pieces using a couple of forks. Return chicken to the stock with the noodles, corn, mushrooms, half the spring onions and soy sauce. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until noodles are tender. Ladle into bowls and scatter with fresh herbs and chilli and a little extra soy.
  4. Carrot and Ginger Soup – 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 onion chopped, 1 tbsp grated ginger, 750mL vegie stock, 1kg carrots chopped, 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves. How to make – Heat olive oil in a large saucepan Saute onion and ginger over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onion has softened. Add stock and carrot. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until carrot is tender. Process soup with stick blender or in food processor until smooth. Return to saucepan and add a little more stock or water to thin your soup to preferred consistency. Gently reheat and season to taste with sea salt, ground black pepper. Stir in coriander and serve.