Easy Miso Soup

I just love Miso Soup and was so pleased to find it it so easy to make at home.

Miso Soup
Miso Soup

I love miso soup, so thought it was about time I made it myself.  This recipe from the Muffin Myth sounded just perfect. It’s such a comforting taste and yet so healthy – what more could you want?!

You can add whatever you like to the basic miso/stock mix (which makes it perfect for clearing out the veggies in the bottom of the fridge), but I always want some little cubes of tofu in there.

The first time I made this the kids loved it, but the next time DC1(5) decided she no longer liked it <sigh> I’ll have to try giving it to her again in a couple of months….

Miso Soup

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups low salt vegetable stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp ginger, freshly grated
  • 1 Tbsp thinly sliced red chilli pepper (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp miso paste
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • a handful of cubed tofu
  • another 2 handfuls of chopped veg. e.g. carrots, asparagus or broccoli spears

Instructions

  1. Place the vegetable stock, ginger, garlic, chilli pepper, and green onion in a medium pot over high heat. Bring to the boil, uncovered, then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Put the miso paste into a small bowl, and add a little of the stock to it. Use a fork to mash the paste into the stock, then add to the soup pot. Do not allow the broth to return to a boil!
  3. Add the tofu & veg to the pot. Allow them to heat through for a few minutes so the vegetables cook just slightly.

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Japanese Tofu Bowl

Japanese Tofu Bowl
Japanese Tofu Bowl

Do you sometimes get in a food rut?

I try really hard to have a variety of things on the menu, but one meal which has stayed the same for what feels like the last million years is wednesday night pizza.  We have good reason for it,  we have a maximum of 30 mins between getting the kids to bed & DH going out, and chucking a frozen pizza in the oven and opening a bag of salad is a very easy (and relatively healthy) option.

Needless to say, we have now both got incredibly bored of it.  DH has suggested we have omelette every week instead, but I want to find a few different options for us to have to avoid the rut sinking  in again.

I started by looking through the the Quick Veggie section of BBC Good Food and saw this recipe for a Japanese Tofu Bowl which I thought was right up our street. The original recipe was for 4 people, so I’ve adapted for the 2 of us (i.e. reduced the liquid, but kept the rest the same)  It suggested covering the tofu in cornflour before frying to get that lovely crispy coating, but I really didn’t see the point as surely it would just get soggy in the soup?  We didn’t have any chilli oil or coriander to garnish, but survived without them.

Although this claims to be quick to make, you do have to first drain the tofu (I do this by wrapping in a clean tea-towel & putting it under the heavy chopping board for 30 mins or so) & then marinade it (ideally for at least 30 mins), which means it might not be much good if you’re rushing in from work to make it.   Despite a few complications (I failed to pre-marinade the tofu, the edaname beans the supermarket sent me were still in their pods, and my noodles weren’t ready cooked) this was still easy to make & very tasty. It’s lightness made it feel like it was very ‘clean’ to eat IYKWIM, but beacuse of the tofu, edaname & noodles it was still substantial enough for our evening meal.  I hope to make it againvery soon as I plan to use some of the broad beans from the garden in place of the edaname.

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 200g firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cut into 8 cubes
  • sunflower oil, for frying
  • 1 bunch asparagus, base of stalks snapped off, cut diagonally into about 4 pieces
  • 50g fresh or frozen edamame beans
  • 50g frozen peas
  • small piece ginger, grated
  • 400g pack straight-to-wok udon noodles
  • coriander leaves, to garnish
  • chilli oil, to serve

Instructions

  1. Drain the tofu.
  2. Mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar and mirin in a shallow bowl. Place the tofu in the marinade and turn to coat. Leave for about 30 mins or more. (If  marinading for several hours, pop it in the fridge.)
  3. Boil the kettle
  4. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the tofu (keep the left over marinade). When cooked, drain on kitchen roll, then wrap in clean kitchen roll to keep warm.
  5. While the tofu is cooking, put 500ml of boiled water in a medium saucepan with the reserved marinade and bring to the boil. Add asparagus, edamame beans, peas, ginger and noodles and return to the boil. Simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 3-4 mins.
  6. Divide between 2 bowls and put the tofu on top.
  7. Garnish with some coriander leaves and serve drizzled with a little chilli oil.

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Creamy White Bean Soup

Creamy White Bean Soup
Creamy White Bean Soup

I was intrigued by how this creamy bean soup could be vegan & was surprised to learn that the creamyness actually comes from ground up cashews!    Note: these need soaking for several hours before cooking – don’t forget!

The original recipe used coconut oil, but as I don’t have any I just used olive oil.

Both DH & I liked it, but the kids didn’t – they just ate the butterbeans & demanded more bread!

Creamy White Bean Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp chopped basil
  • 1½ tsp dried sage
  • 3½ cups low salt vegetable stock
  • 3 cups white beans (cooked or canned)
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup water
  • 5 cups shredded kale
  • Salt & Pepper

to serve

  • warm crusty bread

Instructions

  1. Soak cashews in water for 6-8 hours. Drain, rinse and set aside until ready to make the soup.
  2. Heat some oil in a large saucepan & Sauté onions and garlic
  3. Add the basil, sage, salt, stock, beans, and tomatoes.
  4. Simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the soaked cashews and water in a blender and blend until smooth.
  6. Add the cashew cream and kale to the soup and mix to combine.
  7. Cover and turn the heat off. Let it sit for about five minutes.
  8. Serve

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Curried Red Lentil Soup with Chickpeas and Quinoa

Curried Red Lentil Soup with Chickpeas and Quinoa
Curried Red Lentil Soup with Chickpeas and Quinoa

I thought this soup looked very tasty, and with lentils, chickpeas & quinoa in it, it must be hearty & wholesome!

I missed out the chilli sauce as I was making it for the kids, and DD1 (4.5) can be a bit fussy about anything too spicy, but it was still very tasty.  Thankfully, the kids both loved it too, so we’ll definitely be having this one again.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (or 1 tablespoon garam masala + 1 teaspoon turmeric)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 700ml low salt stock
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce (optional)
  • 1 tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 0.25 cup dried quinoa

to serve

  • fresh coriander (chopped)
  • Greek style yogurt

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa as directed.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan.
  3. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  5. Add the lentils, stock, tomatoes and chili sauce.
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  7. Add the chickpeas and quinoa and warm them up.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a garnish of cilantro and a dollop of Greek style yogurt.

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Quick Tomato soup

Quick tomato & pesto soup
Quick tomato & pesto soup

The kids love it when I make tomato soup, so I decided I had to try this quick tomato soup recipe by @mamacook_Blog.  As an added challenge I thought I’d try making my own veggie pesto.

It was all very easy to make & very, very tasty!

The girls both loved it, and although DD1(4.5) didn’t want to try the pesto, DD2(2) made up for it, by demanding more & eating it straight off the spoon!

I ate the leftover pesto later in the week in some hummus sandwiches. <yum>

Ingredients

Pesto

  • 2 cups, washed, loosely packed stemmed fresh herbs- basil, cilantro, parsley, mint
  • 1/2 cup shelled pecans or walnuts or pine nuts
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup good tasting extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Sea salt, to taste

Soup

  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
  • 1 Tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 500g Pack of passata
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • Black Pepper

to serve

  • fresh crusty bread & butter

Instructions

First, make the pesto

  1. Combine the fresh herbs, nuts, and garlic in a food processor and process the mixture until it turns into a coarse meal.
  2. Slowly add extra virgin olive oil in a steady drizzle as you pulse the processor on and off. Process until it becomes a smooth, light paste. Add enough olive oil to keep it moist and spreadable.
  3. Season with sea salt, to taste.
  4. Cover and store chilled for at least an hour to saturate the flavors.
  5. Pour a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil over the top to help keep it bright green.

then make the soup

  1. Fry the garlic gently in the olive oil for a couple of minutes (without browning!)
  2. Add the tomatoes, passata, sugar, and pepper.
  3. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

then serve the soup with a dollop of pesto on top, and some bread & butter on the side – delicious!

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Roasted carrot, ginger & coconut milk soup

Roasted carrot, ginger & coconut milk soup
Roasted carrot, ginger & coconut milk soup

Oh look, another bowl of orange soup!

I saw this recipe here on WordPress & thought that the kids would love it. Carrots are one of their favourite vegetables, they love ginger & we have recently discovered their love of coconut milk. What could possibly go wrong?

DD1 (4.5) took one look at the roasted carrots cooling on the chopping board & announced that she didn’t like them….. not a good start!

Thankfully, she didn’t seem to realise that they were in the soup as she & her sister both ate it without complaint.  I don’t think it’s their favourite soup, but DH & I thought it was nice. If I make it again, I might pop a handful of lentils in, just to make it a bit more substantial, and I must remember to try roasting the carrots like this the next time I make carrot & corriander soup.

It served 2 adults, 2 small children & we have 1 portion in the freezer for another day.

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium carrots, peeled
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 0.25 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 0.5 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 230ml coconut milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

to serve

  • nice bread

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 220C/425F.
  2. Put carrots in an oven-proof dish and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil. Put in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the carrots are tender (I turned them over a few times).  Remove from oven & put the carrots onto some kitchen roll to remove the excess oil.
  3. In a large saucepan heat 2 tbsp olive oil over a low heat. Add the shallots and saute until soft and translucent.
  4. Add garlic and ginger and saute just until golden brown.
  5. Add red pepper flakes, cinnamon, paprika and coriander and stir until spices coat other ingredients.
  6. Add vegetable stock and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce to a simmer.
  7. Top & tail the carrots, then chop into smallish pieces and add to the saucepan.
  8. Partially cover the soup & simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Blend the soup until smooth.
  10. Add coconut milk and stir to warm through.
  11. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  12. Serve along side some nice fresh bread

Smokey Butternut Squash soup with Butterbeans

Smokey Butternut Squash soup with Butterbeans
Smokey Butternut Squash soup with Butterbeans

I seem to be making alot of “orange” soup lately, but we all love Butternut Squash and beans, so this recipe from Vegetarian Dad seemed perfect.

My herb & spice shelf is ridiculously full, so rather than buy a new jar, I googled how to make ras-el-hanout. I have no idea how authentic it was, but it the soup tasted very nice which is all that really matters!

I made this early in the morning & popped it into the slow cooker on low to keep warm while we all went out until lunchtime.

The girls & I loved it (there was none left over for DH to try, but I have tagged this as a “Family Favourite” as I’m sure he will love it if he ever gets the chance to eat it). DD1(4.5) has since requested several times that I make “the soup with the beans in” very soon 🙂

Serves 1 adult & 2 (possibly quite greedy) small children

Update: After several ‘complaints’ of there not being enough beans to go round, I now use two tins of butter beans!

Smokey Butternut Squash soup with Butterbeans

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and roughly diced
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ras-el-hanout – I didn’t have any so made my own
    • 0.5 teaspoons ground ginger
    • 0.5 teaspoons ground cardamon
    • 0.5 teaspoons ground mace
    • 0.25 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 0.25 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
    • 0.25 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 0.25 teaspoon turmeric
    • some ground black pepper
  • 1 lt low salt vegetable stock
  • 2 x 400g tin butterbeans

to serve

  • fresh corriander, chopped
  • bread

Instructions

  1. Boil the kettle ready to make some stock
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently soften the onion and garlic for five minutes.
  3. Add the paprika and ras-el-hanout and simmer for another minute.
  4. Add the butternut squash and mix well to coat with the spices.
  5. Add the hot vegetable stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Allow the soup to cool then pour into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  7. Return the soup to the pan and add the butter beans and gently heat through.
  8. Season to taste, garnish with fresh coriander and serve with plenty of fresh crusty bread.

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