A Foolproof Guide To A Hearty Winter Soup

I've never been the biggest fan of Winter, I'm definitely more of a warm weather gal, but something has changed for me in the last couple of years and I've been approaching Winter with more of a positive attitude. I'm enjoying Winter a lot more recently, because instead of resisting the cold weather I'm embracing it and enjoying all the good things that Winter has to offer. I'm experimenting with the slow cooker, taking long mountain walks - which is a surprisingly lovely winter activity if you can motivate yourself to leave the house, sipping hot chocolate in comfy new pyjamas, and heating up from the inside out by enjoying lots of hot soups. Soups are the perfect winter option, they're warming, filling, and generally provide lots of nourishment without all the excess energy. I've been making a soup each week, and enjoying it with my homemade sourdough, and I've come up with a foolproof guide to create the perfect soup (kind of like my summer salad cheat sheet!) to warm you up this Winter. 

Start with a veggie base - To make sure our soups are balanced and nutritious, start with lots of veggies, the more the better! Recently I've been loving pumpkin, cauliflower, carrot, or even kale! To be honest, any winter veggies do a great job in soups. 

Add a protein punch - Adding some protein into the soup will make sure that it's a more filling option, and will leave you feeling satisfied. There are lots of good protein options for soups, recently I've been using lots of lentils and beans, but meatballs, chicken, pork and fennel sausages, lamb or seafood can also be good additions.  

Flavour with herbs and spices - Use herbs and spiced to flavour your soup, instead of a heap of salt. Options are endless! Cumin, coriander seeds, bay leaves, paprika, turmeric, parsley, chilli powder, mixed herbs, etc.  

Top up with water or stock - Usually I just use water, because the veggies make a nice broth, but you can also use a stock, just look for one that is low in salt or make your own. 

Let simmer, until soft and tasty, and either leave chunky or blend smooth. 

Some of my recent combinations:

Pumpkin, lentil and tomato - I use this recipe, it's delicious! 

Delicious pumpkin, lentil and tomato soup 

Delicious pumpkin, lentil and tomato soup 

Pumpkin, chickpea and peanut butter soup- If you follow me on instagram you'll know that this one was so good I had it for a few days in a row, and loved it each time! 

I simply sauteed 1 onion and a few cloves of garlic then added 1/4 of a Kent pumpkin (chopped up), 1 cup of chickpeas that had been soaked overnight and drained (or could use a tin of chickpeas), about 3 tablespoons of peanut butter and 1 litre of water. I cooked on medium heat until everything was well cooked, then took off the heat and cooled and blended. Delicious!  

image via  @casuarinaforsyth  Instagram

image via @casuarinaforsyth Instagram

Bacon and sweet potato - this is a very tasty soup, but takes some time to simmer on the stove. Cook it on the weekend, when you're just hanging about the house. 

Spiced lentil soup - this recipe is delicious! I also added some cauliflower to increase the veggies. 

And my favourite soup at the moment - Italian sausage and kale soup 

I use chickpeas instead of lentils, and add a teaspoon of both ground cumin and ground coriander seed, and serve with some boiled potatoes.

image via  @casuarinaforsyth  Instagram

image via @casuarinaforsyth Instagram

What is your favourite soup combination? I'm always keen to try some new ones! 

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