I LOVE soup.
There is something really satisfying about making soup and it just happens to be one of the cheapest and (providing you choose the right one and go homemade!) healthiest lunch options out there. I often make a big pan which will last for 3 or so lunches plus a few snack meals.
The key with soup is adding in some sort of protein. Many clients will try soup as the light option for weight loss, choosing invariably a vegetable based soup and passing on the bread. This is often low in calories and fat BUT will leave you hungry and at risk of raiding whatever snack machine / biscuit tin happens to be nearby. Adding protein to a soup, turns it from vitamin rich ‘drink’ to a substantial, satisfying and sustaining meal option.
Good protein options for soups are pulses and beans as these are cheap, readily available, rich in healthy fibre, vitamins and minerals and extremely versatile when it comes to flavours. They tend to go with pretty much anything, taking on or enhancing whatever flavours you have put with them. Pulses and beans are also low in calories so tick a lot of boxes when it comes to health.
My failsafe soup when I am in a hurry and want something filling and tasty, ready in under 20 mins is my favourite lentil soup.
Measurements are not exact for a reason…it really doesn’t matter!
This makes 4 big bowls of soup so adjust accordingly.
1 tsp sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 sticks of celery, chopped
1 heaped tsp vegetable bouillon stock powder
1/2 – 2/3 mug red lentils (rinsed well)
Gently fry/sweat the onion carrots and celery in a large saucepan until soft. I often leave the lid on with the pan on a low heat and come back after 5 mins which is normally about perfect.
Then add the bouillon powder into a litre of boiling water and tip this into the pan.
Pour in the red lentils, stir well and leave to simmer gently for a further 10-15 mins until the carrot is soft and the lentils have turned yellowish orange and are soft and pulpy. You might want to make a batch of toasted pumpkin seeds whilst the soup simmers as these are great sprinkles to add to the soup, boosting healthy fats and omega 3’s.
Blitz the whole lot of soup in a blender until smooth or as smooth as you like your soup.
Taste and season if necessary before serving!
This soup freezes really well so if you have a large enough pan then double or triple the ingredients and freeze in individual portions for a perfect last minute standby lunch.