10 Seasonal Soups

Budget vs luxury Christmas foods: what’s the real difference?

Soup makes a cheap, filling and healthy meal, but it can be easy to rely on the same old favourites. We've put together 10 soup recipes to help see you through the winter. All serve 2.

Spicy Sweet Potato and Chipotle Chilli Soup
Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin C - vital for keeping our immune systems in top condition, as well as vitamin A, which is good for our skin. This soup is spiced up with chipotle chilli paste for extra warmth.

2 tbsp olive oil
quarter tsp of chipotle chilli paste
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
400g sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
400ml chicken stock
salt and pepper
single cream and chopped parsley, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan and gently fry the onion and garlic with a pinch of sea salt, until softened. Stir in the chipotle chilli paste and the diced sweet potato. Fry gently for two more minutes. Next, pour in the stock and leave to bubble for about 10-15 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. Blend until smooth and season with salt and black pepper. Serve hot, with a swirl of single cream and chopped parsley.

Lentil, Cabbage and Bacon Soup
Cabbage is often overlooked, but adds flavour and colour to all kinds of dishes. Here, it's accompanied by smoky bacon and protein-rich lentils.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
3 rashers smoked streaky bacon
3 dark green cabbage leaves (from a Savoy or Cavalo Nero)
500ml chicken stock
400g can green lentils
salt and black pepper, to season

Gently fry the garlic and bacon in olive oil until the garlic is soft and the bacon is cooked. Remove the tough pale central stem from each of the cabbage leaves and chop the leaves into small pieces. Stir these into the pan. Fry for another minute, and then pour in the stock and tip in the lentils. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender. Remove a small cupful of the soup and blend with a stick blender - pour this liquid back into the soup to thicken it. Season with salt and black pepper and serve hot.

Chunky Tomato, Aubergine and Orzo Soup
This Mediterranean-style vegetable soup contains orzo, which adds texture and makes the soup more filling.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
half a small aubergine, diced into small chunks
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
150g orzo
2 tsp chopped basil
salt and pepper

Drizzle the oil into a non-stick saucepan and fry the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt until softened. Add the chopped aubergine and then stir in the chopped tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and then add the stock and red wine vinegar. Once everything's bubbling away, stir in the orzo and continue to cook, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes, or until the orzo is tender. The orzo will thicken the soup so add more stock if you like the soup thinner. Sprinkle in the basil just before serving and season with salt and pepper.

Thai-style Vegetable Noodle Soup
The flavours of chilli, lemongrass and coriander are refreshing and reviving - perfect for when you come in from the cold. Tailor the vegetables to suit what you have in the fridge. Also great with chicken or prawns.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 heaped teaspoon Red Thai Curry Paste
2 spring onions, chopped (including the green parts)
100ml coconut milk
400ml chicken or vegetable stock
handful baby spinach leaves
50g sugar snap peas
150g fresh rice noodles
coriander leaves, to serve

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium-sized saucepan and stir in the Red Thai Curry paste. Throw in the spring onions and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Pour in the coconut milk and stock and bring to a simmer. Next, slice the spinach leaves and add them, with the sugar snap peas, to the pan. Add the rice noodles and continue to simmer for about 7 minutes, or until the noodles are soft and the vegetables are tender but with some crunch. Season to taste. Lift out the noodles and vegetables with tongs, and arrange in a bowl before pouring over the scented broth. Scatter over fresh coriander leaves before serving.

Mushroom and Marsala Soup
The Marsala wine in this soup gives it a luxurious touch and makes the flavour of the mushrooms more intense. Mushrooms are a good source of selenium, B Vitamins and Vitamin D.

1 tsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil, for frying
1 garlic clove
250g brown chestnut mushrooms
splash Marsala wine
150ml vegetable stock
parsley, salt and pepper and single cream (optional) to serve

Heat the butter and oil together in a medium-sized saucepan and grate in the garlic clove. Fry for 1 minute, taking care it doesn't burn. Roughly slice the mushrooms and add to the pan, coating them in the garlicky oil. Pour in the Marsala and turn up the heat, bubbling for about 2 minutes. Pour over the stock and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender. Blend with a stick blender until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a swirl of single cream and some parsley leaves on top.

Curried Yellow Split Pea Soup
Soaking the split peas overnight means that they don't take as long to cook. Here, they're flavoured with Indian spices and fresh coriander.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 heaped tablespoon Balti curry paste
90g dried split yellow peas, soaked overnight in water and then drained and rinsed
500ml chicken stock
handful fresh coriander leaves

Gently soften the onion and garlic in the oil over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in the Balti paste and then the soaked, drained peas. Stir well, so they become coated with the aromatic oil and then pour in the stock. Turn up the heat and boil for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat and cook gently for 25-30 minutes, until the peas are tender and the soup has thickened. Chop the coriander leaves and stir them through the soup just before serving.

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
We've all heard of broccoli and Stilton soup, but have you ever tried it with Cheddar? Use a good tangy Cheddar for best results. Broccoli is also a good source of immune-boosting Vitamin C.

1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
350g broccoli, chopped roughly, including the stalks
500ml vegetable stock
35g good, sharp, mature Cheddar plus extra to serve

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil and butter until just softened. Stir in the chopped broccoli and then pour in the stock. Leave to simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, until the broccoli is tender - pierce one of the stalks with a sharp knife to check it's ready. Blend until smooth, and then grate in the Cheddar. Taste, seasoning with salt and pepper if it needs it, serving with a little more grated Cheddar on top.

Chinese-style Beef Noodle Soup
This aromatic beef soup is perfect if you're feeling run down. With fragrant ginger, Chinese 5-spice and chilli it'll perk you up, while the beef provides iron.

1 rib-eye steak
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
pinch Chinese 5-spice powder
vegetable oil, for frying
2 spring onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
one slice fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
1 carrot, sliced into strips lengthways with a potato peeler
500ml beef stock
pinch of soft light brown sugar
2 nests of medium egg noodles

Sprinkle the steak with a pinch of Chinese 5-Spice and drizzle with dark soy. Turn over, so the steak is coated in the mixture and leave to marinate. Fry the spring onions, garlic, ginger, chilli and carrot in the vegetable oil until it all starts to soften, about 1 minute. Pour over the beef stock and add the sugar, with another pinch of 5-spice. Once it's boiling, drop in the noodles. To cook the steak, rub a little vegetable oil over it and heat a dry non-stick frying pan. Fry the steak until cooked to your liking and leave to rest on a clean board. Once the noodles are soft, lift into serving bowls and pour over the scented broth. Slice the steak and arrange on top. Serve hot.

Carrot, Spring Onion and Ginger Soup
Carrots are rich in antioxidants and Vitamin A. Here, they're combined with fragrant spring onions and ginger. Ginger has also been shown in some studies to boost the immune system.

vegetable oil
6 spring onions, chopped
1 small clove of garlic, chopped
2cm size piece of fresh ginger, chopped
400g carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
400ml vegetable or chicken stock

Fry the spring onions, garlic and ginger in a little vegetable oil until sizzling and aromatic. Throw in the carrots and stir-fry for another minute. Pour in the stock, and bring to a simmer. Leave to cook for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Blend with a stick blender until smooth and serve straight away.

Chunky Chicken, Leek and Potato Soup
Make this hearty, bolstering soup with any leftover roast chicken. For best results, use a good (preferably home-made) chicken stock.

250g leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
250g waxy salad potatoes (e.g. Charlotte variety)
400ml good chicken stock
a handful of leftover cooked chicken
fresh flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Heat a little olive oil in a medium saucepan and fry the garlic and leeks with a pinch of salt until just beginning to soften. Peel and quarter the potatoes and add these to the pan. Pour over the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are just tender. Take out a cupful of the soup and blend, pouring it back into the pan to thicken the rest. Throw in the cooked chicken and simmer for another 5-10 minutes to heat through. Serve with chopped parsley sprinkled over.

What are your favourite soups?