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Vegetables make the tastiest and most colourful soups and there's no easier or more cost-effective way to make sure you enjoy a healthier diet. Whether you're a busy mum, a dad who's useless in the kitchen, a student on a serious budget or just fancy something different, Eating in Colour is souper simple...

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The seven simple steps to sumptuous soup

Variety is the spice of life. Anything goes with vegetable soups - choose a mixture of your favourites, stick to one or use up what’s left in the fridge or vegetable rack. As a guide, you’ll need three handfuls of veg per serving. Using a variety of vegetables will not only serve up a rainbow of colours but also a balanced and broad range of nutrients as each vegetable contains different levels and types of vitamins and minerals.

Everything about making a vegetable soup is easy and quick. Just peel each veg and cut roughly into chunks or slices. At this point you can gently fry or ‘sweat’ a finely chopped onion in a large pan with a small knob of butter or margarine or a tablespoon of vegetable oil. This helps build in more flavour.

Gently does it – add all the chopped vegetables, give them a stir and add just enough water to cover them. Allow the water to come to the boil and then turn down the heat so that it gently simmers.

Give your soup extra flavour by adding a vegetable or chicken stock cube at this stage. It’s not essential as veggies are full of flavour but stock does add a little something. Let the vegetables cook until they are all soft. Turn off the heat and allow the vegetables to cool a little. Don’t drain off the stock.

If you fancy a creamier soup then you can add a splash of milk or cream at this point.

Either spoon the contents of the pan into a liquidiser or use one of those handheld blenders to whizz the stock and cooked vegetables into a smooth soup. Return the soup to the pan and give it a good stir. When you are ready to eat, gently reheat the soup and season to taste with a little salt and pepper. If you’ve used a stock cube you might need much extra seasoning.

Soups will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days and are perfect for freezing, so there’s no need to waste any vegetables if they’re past their best. Just thaw out and then heat through thoroughly in a pan or microwave.

What could be easier?

Be adventurous – try adding a teaspoon of chilli or curry powder for a soup with a kick, or garnish the soup with a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh parsley, coriander, basil, chives or spring onion or add swirl of sour cream or dollop of crème fraîche.

 

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