A bowlful of a good hearty soup sometimes takes the place of a plated main meal in our house, especially during the winter months. This usually contains meat, but not always a large quantity and sometimes, as is the case with this recipe, there is no meat at all. It just goes to prove that soups don’t have to to contain meat to be satisfying: this delicious recipe contains generous amounts of a good selection of vegetables, plus small sized soup pasta.
This recipe, originally just called Vegetable Soup, comes from The Creative Vegetarian Cookbook published by Bramley Books (there is no author listed – edited by Jillian Stewart & Kate Cranshaw). I made the recipe as in the book but substuted 1 sweet potato as I did not have any swede. I also found that it needed a little extra water towards the end of the cooking time so have included this in the instructions. Soup pasta, is available in supermarkets and is a dainty version of the pasta shapes usually served as part of a main course. In addition to the original recipe I added a good sprinkling of grated parmesan just prior to serving. Of course, if you really miss the meat some diced ham or bacon could be added as well, I suggest at the first stage of cooking. The recipe gives three generous servings but can be stretched to four by increasing the size or amounts of the vegetables or by serving crusty bread or toast on the side.
Chunky Vegetable & Pasta Soup
2tbsp olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled & sliced
1 large turnip or fist sized piece of swede or sweet potato, peeled & sliced
2 leeks, washed & thinly sliced
2 potatoes, scrubbed & diced
570ml/1pint vegetable stock
450g/1lb tin of plum tomatoes, chopped
1 bay leaf
¼tsp dried marjoram or dried savory
60g/2ozs dried small sized soup pasta
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
90g/3ozs fresh or frozen sliced green beans
120g/4ozs okra, trimmed & sliced
60g/2ozs frozen or tinned sweetcorn niblets
60g/2ozs frozen peas
1tbsp chopped parsley – plus a little more to garnish
Fresh parmesan cheese, grated, to garnish (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the carrot, turnip or swede (sweet potato should be added a little later), leeks and potatoes.
2. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until softened but not browned.
3. Add the stock, sweet potato (if using), tomatoes, bay leaf, marjoram/savory, soup pasta, salt & black pepper.
4. Gently bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for 20minutes.
5. Add the beans and okra and cook for 10 minutes more.
6. Finally add the sweetcorn, peas and parsley and cook for 5 minutes more before serving.
7. Check seasoning. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with a little reserved parsley. Grated fresh parmesan cheese can also be added – optional. Serve with crusty bread.