Creamy, Spicy, Carrot and Coconut Soup

Spicy Carrot and Coconut SoupThis soup was inspired by the Thai curry that I’ve been experimenting with recently (but not currently published), at a time when I was considering making carrot soup. In keeping with that, I think garnishing it with fresh basil or cilantro (fresh coriander) leaves is an apt idea. It’s rich, smooth, and spicy hot, with deeper notes courtesy of the ginger. The 1/2 tsp of crushed red chile that I used made it as hot as I care to eat it, and hotter than daughter #2 appreciates, so adjust to taste.

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 lb carrots, scraped and chopped into dice (the pre-peeled baby ones make this dish pretty quick).
1/2 large onion, diced
1 tbsp ground coriander seed
1/4 tsp ginger powder
pared zest of ½ a large or 1 small lime
14 oz can of light coconut milk (full fat is too rich)
½ pint of water
1 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp brown sugar (depending on how sweet your carrots are)
1/4 -1/2 tsp crushed, dried red pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp salt

Melt the oil in a wide pan, add carrots, and fry over a medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the onion, and fry gently until both are slightly browned. They should start to sizzle instead of steaming, after a total of about 15 minutes.
Stir in the coriander, ginger, and lime zest, and warm through for a minute.
Add the remaining ingredients, and allow to simmer gently until the vegetables are perfectly soft (~10 minutes).
Blend in a high speed blender, or puree and pass through a chinois to make perfectly smooth.

Make up to 40 fl oz with more water (or to make it the consistency you like). Adjust seasonings, reheat, and serve.


Virgin Tomato Cocktail

Tomato cocktailI was intending to make a low-FODMAP tomato soup here, but didn’t get around to heating it, as I drank it all before getting out the saucepan. I think it should be served in a glass with a green olive on a stick, or green onion spike! You really need some kind of special treat when sticking to this diet, and I felt this counted as one. Daughter #1 was a bit suspicious when I offered it to her, but was pleasantly surprised. However, I managed to drink the whole lot myself (by waving her off) in the space of about 15 minutes (though this should serve 2 people), and it looks as if I managed 90% of my vit.A daily requirements, and 200% of my vit.C daily requirements for my 230 kcals!

28 oz tinned tomatoes
3 spring onions (green parts only for low FODMAPs)
1 tbsp white sugar (or to taste, depending on how sweet your tomatoes are)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 small clove garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic infused oil for low FODMAPs)
1/8 tsp black pepper
No salt! 🙂

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Pass though a sieve/chinois, if you think it needs it.

Lentil Soup (Dal), and variations

The recipe below is my basic lentil soup recipe. Below that are some variations that I have enjoyed. Both this and the lentil and spinach soup are actually fairly standard Indian curry accompaniments, when served thick. It’s one of those very comforting meals, sating hunger without expanding your waistband.

1 tbsp Earth Balance (vegan margarine) or oil
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely diced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 lb red lentils
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp lemon juice

Heat the margarine/oil, in a large saucepan, over a medium heat, and fry the onion until it becomes translucent and starts to brown.
Add the garlic and cumin to it, to warm through for a couple of minutes.
Pick the lentils over for stones, and then rinse them.
Add 6 cups (48 fl oz) of water to the onions, then the lentils, and bring to the boil. Simmer the soup until the lentils have completely disintegrated (about 20-30 minutes. The lentils should disintegrate just with vigorous stirring with a spatula).
Adjust consistency with more water, if desired.
Stir in the salt and lemon juice (and any other desired additions); taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.


Lentil and Tomato Soup: Add 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes (halved) to the soup 5 minutes before the end of cooking.

Lentil and Spinach Soup: Add  ~8 oz fresh or frozen spinach to the soup at the end of cooking, along with 1/4 tsp salt.

Chili Lentil Soup: Mince 1/2 cm squared piece of chipotle chili in adobo sauce (check for gluten) with the blade of a knife (so you don’t end up with exciting lumps in your soup), and add with the water and lentils.

Silky Smooth Carrot and Coriander Soup

Thick, creamy, warming, and gloriously yellow. This soup is brought out of the realm of the ordinary with its silky smooth texture, and subtle use of coriander and lemon zest. It’s one of those dishes that has you trying to analyze the ingredients, if you don’t already know them. So, the trick is to take your time frying the carrot and onion; make sure all the ingredients are totally soft before pureeing, and err on the side of caution with the coriander and lemon zest. Start with the lesser amount and check the flavor before adding more. The flavor should be uplifting and curious, and certainly not bland! The same goes for the carrots. If they’re fresh and sweet, you might not want any sugar at all! If they’re a bit older, then a little help from the granular white stuff is appreciated …. but taste before you add; this is not a sweet soup. If the carrots are distinctly old and tasting soapy, use them for something else instead.


1 tbsp vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance)
1 lb carrots, scraped and chopped into slices/dice (the pre-peeled baby ones make this dish pretty quick).
1 large onion, diced
4 tsp ground coriander seed
pared zest of ½ a large or 1 small lemon
1 ½ pints of water
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 tsp lemon juice
1 – 3 tsp sugar (depending on how sweet your carrots are)
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper (that’s right, no salt!)

Melt the margarine in a wide pan, add carrots, and fry over a medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the onion, and fry gently until both are slightly browned and completely soft. They should start to sizzle instead of steam, after a total of about 15-30 minutes.
Stir in the coriander and lemon zest, and warm through for a few seconds.
Add water and cashews, and bring to a boil; simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and other seasonings.
Blend in a high speed blender, or puree and pass through a chinois to make perfectly smooth.
Check seasoning, reheat, and serve.

Creamy Onion Soup

My daughter has been horribly ill for a few days now, but when asked if there was ANYTHING she could eat, she asked for this soup. It’s been ages since I made it, but it is a very comforting, warming soup, so I wasn’t so very surprised when she asked, and it is so very easy to make.


1 tbsp oil
1 large onion, diced
1 medium potato, peeled & chopped small
1/2 – 1 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 cup raw cashews or slivered almonds
dash of cayenne pepper (optional, and to taste)
3/4 – 1 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp lemon juice (or 1/4 cup white wine)
dash of nutmeg

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.

Fry the onion over a medium heat until the onion is golden.

Add 2 cups (16 fl oz) water, the potato pieces, the thyme, and the nuts.

Simmer until the potato has cooked: about 10 minutes

Add the remaining ingredients, and blend with an immersion or worktop blender.

Return the soup to the saucepan to reheat.

Use 1 cup (8 fl oz) water to rinse out/off the blender into the soup.

Check for seasoning and consistency and adjust to taste with salt, pepper, or water.

Serve hot.

Variation: Warm some garlicky fried cauliflower in the soup, after blending.

Mushroom Soup

'Creamy' mushroom soup with gluten free almond/quinoa garlic bread

‘Creamy’ mushroom soup with gluten free almond/quinoa garlic bread

I’ve been cooking up quite a few things this week, but I’ve failed to get them on to the blog, yet. Quite a bit of time was taken up making blood orange marmalade (it being that time of year). Marmalade making can be quite time consuming, so lunch today was a quick to make, warming mushroom soup. Elegant if presented as such, I’ve been making this soup for years, now. The cashews were a recent substitution for the dairy free cream cheese, as I think they have a better nutritional profile, and they do add body as well as richness to the soup.

However, for a less calorific version, use cooking oil spray instead of the margarine or olive oil; use vegan cream cheese instead of the cashews (mine has 90kcals/oz); and use water instead of the non-dairy milk for a total recipe calorie count of 648kcals which is 100kcals per 8floz, or 162kcals per serving.

Serves 4

1 tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine OR 1 tbsp olive oil OR zero calorie cooking spray
6 oz (1 medium or 1/2 large) onion, chopped
~12oz potato, chopped (or ready cooked and peeled)
1 lb mushrooms, halved or quartered
1 tbsp dried thyme (2 tbsp of fresh thyme) – don’t stint on this.
16 fl oz water OR plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (rice milk for a standard version; soy milk for a richer one)
2 oz (1/2 cup) raw cashews OR 2 oz vegan cream cheez
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4  tsp pepper (or to taste)

Heat the margarine in a large pan and sauté the onion until transparent.

Add the mushrooms and sprinkle on half a tsp of the salt to help release the juices.

Once the mushrooms have turned a darker color and softened, add the potato, the herbs, 16 fl oz (2 cups) of water, and the cashews (if using); bring to the boil, cover and cook until the potatoes are cooked (at least 10 minutes).

Add the vegan cream cheez (if not using cashews) and 16 fl oz non-dairy milk (or water), and blend as briefly as possible, but long enough to ensure the cashews have blended into a smooth soup.

Adjust consistency with more water, as desired.

Add salt and pepper to taste, serve hot.

Butterbean and Tomato Soup

This is a rather comforting, warming, winter soup. Wrap yourself around a hot mug of this next to a flickering fire, and you can feel morally and physically good, all at the same time.

Butter bean and tomato soup served with (prototype) vegan almond bread.

Butter bean and tomato soup served with toasted, (prototype) vegan almond bread.

A note about some of the ingredients: Don’t miss out on the bay leaf. I didn’t bother putting one in once, and to my mind the soup came out missing something. The margarine used to cook the onion should also not be missed: it gives a slightly rich cheeziness to the soup (enhanced by the nutritional yeast, if you use it).

If you don’t use a pressure cooker, you might need to add more water to the beans to prevent them from drying out as they cook. They should still be just covered in liquid, when they’ve finally softened.

1lb dried butter or lima beans
1 tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine
1 large yellow/white onion (or 1/2 large onion, and 6 spring/green onions – sliced into rounds.)
1 bay leaf
1 (~28oz) large tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper (or to taste)
1 tablespoon sugar (depending on how sweet your tomatoes are)

Pick the beans over for debris, wash, cover with water, and either leave to soak overnight, or bring the beans to a boil, turn off the heat, and leave, covered, for 1 hour before continuing.

Skin, and dice the white / yellow onion.

In a large saucepan or a pressure cooker pan, gently fry the white / yellow onion (not the spring/green onion, that gets added at the end, if you’re using it) on a medium heat in the margarine until starting to brown (5 -10 minutes).

Drain and rinse the beans, and add to the onions in the pressure cooker or saucepan, and pour on just enough water to cover.

Add the bay leaf to the beans and cook until soft (40-60 minutes gently simmering on the stove top, or 5 minutes at pressure in a pressure cooker – leave to come down from pressure naturally).

Make sure the beans are completely soft and falling apart before continuing.

Remove the bay leaf from the beans, and add the tomatoes.

Blend the soup until completely smooth; I use an immersion blender.

Add the spring/green onions, if using.

Simmer for 10 minutes or so until the flavors have melded, and the spring/green onion has softened (if using).

Adjust seasoning to taste with the salt, pepper, and sugar, and reheat to serve.