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5 Soups for Weight Loss

These soups recipes are so delicious, you won’t even realize you’re sipping on a healthy meal.

Carrot, celeriac and coriander soup

A bit of butter really does boost the flavour of this soup but if you prefer, you can use a tablespoon of olive oil instead of the butter and oil combo. A mild stock is best, so you don’t overpower the veg, or you can use just water. I like the feta garnish – but then I love feta. It adds about 30 calories per serving.

Serves 4

1 tsp olive oil

10g butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tbsp ground coriander

pinch of ground turmeric

pinch of ground ginger

250g carrots, thinly sliced

250g celeriac, finely diced

1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock or water

salt and black pepper

To serve

small bunch of coriander, finely chopped

a few mint leaves, finely chopped (optional)

50g feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

125 calories per serving; 155 with extra feta cheese

1 Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and fry it for several minutes until it’s soft and translucent. Add the garlic, coriander, turmeric and ginger, and then stir for a minute.

2 Add the carrots and celeriac and stir until they’re well coated with the spices, then pour in the stock or water and season with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to the boil, then turn the heat down to medium and leave it to simmer for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are nice and tender.

3 Allow the soup to cool slightly, then blitz it in a blender or with a stick blender until smooth. Reheat if necessary, then serve garnished with herbs and feta, if using.

Cauliflower cheese soup

Easier and quicker to make than cauli cheese, this soup still has all that lovely flavour. It’s rich, creamy and filling but still reasonably low cal – a great winter warmer. Add a touch of wholegrain mustard before you tuck in.

Serves 4

10g butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 large cauliflower (about 800g), broken up into florets

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

75g Cheddar cheese, grated

salt and white pepper

To serve

wholegrain mustard

25g Cheddar cheese, grated (optional)

219 calories per serving; 244 with extra cheese

1 Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the onion, garlic and cauliflower florets. Put a lid on the pan and cook the vegetables over a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring every so often. Pour in the stock, then season with salt and white pepper.

2 Simmer the soup, uncovered, for 15 minutes until the cauliflower is tender, then add the grated cheese and stir until it has melted. Allow the soup to cool slightly, then blitz it in a blender or with a stick blender until smooth.

3 Serve the soup piping hot, adding a swirl of mustard – about half a teaspoon – to each serving and a sprinkling of extra cheese, if you like.

Gazpacho

This is a summer soup – served icy cold and made when tomatoes are cheap, sun-ripened and really tasty. We grow our own and we literally have a tomato mountain so I’m always looking for good ways to use them up! If you want, you can eke out your tomatoes with a carton of passata but don’t use all passata or canned tomatoes, as the soup won’t taste as good. You’ll see that we’ve suggested quite a wide margin on the amount of vinegar – this is because some tomatoes are much more acidic than others. Also depends on your personal taste. Love the egg garnish. (Have I mentioned that I eggs. Arghhhh!)

Serves 4 generously

1kg very ripe tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped or 500g very ripe tomatoes and 500g passata

500g cucumber (1 large), peeled and roughly chopped

300g red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tbsp chopped basil leaves

3 tbsp olive oil

2–4 tbsp sherry vinegar

dash of Tabasco sauce (optional)

salt and black pepper

Garnishes

1 egg, hard-boiled, peeled and finely chopped

50g pitted black olives, finely chopped

a few basil leaves, finely chopped

squeeze of lemon juice

213 calories per serving (without garnish)

1 Put the tomatoes (and the passata, if using), with the cucumber, red peppers, garlic and basil leaves in a blender. Season with salt and black pepper and blitz until the mixture is as smooth as you can get it.

2 Pour the soup into a sieve over a large bowl, using the back of a ladle to push it through. If you like, tip anything remaining in the sieve back into the blender, add 100ml of water and blitz again. Push this through the sieve too, then discard anything left in the sieve.

3 Taste the gazpacho for seasoning, then stir in the olive oil. Gradually add the sherry vinegar, tasting until the soup has the right amount of acidity for your liking. Add a dash of Tabasco as well if you like. Chill the soup before serving with any or all of the garnishes.

White bean and parsley soup

Dried beans work best for this soup – see here for more info on using pulses. Just remember to soak them the night before. Cooking times do vary, depending on how old the beans are, so keep checking and allow time to cook them for longer if you need to. The parsley oil is amazing.

Serves 4

300g dried cannellini beans

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 leek, finely chopped

1 celery stick, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock or water

sprig of parsley

sprig of rosemary (optional)

salt and white pepper

Parsley oil

4 tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves

2 tbsp olive oil

417 calories per serving

1 The night before making this soup, put the beans in a large bowl, cover them with plenty of cold water and leave them to soak.

2 The next day, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, leek and, celery, then fry them very gently for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for another minute.

3 Drain the soaked beans and add them to the saucepan. Pour the stock or water over them and add the parsley and the rosemary, if using. Bring the stock or water to the boil over a high heat and boil the beans for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat and cover the pan. Leave the beans to simmer for up to an hour, checking from 30 minutes onwards to see if they are tender – you want them to be very soft.

4 Remove the sprigs of herbs, let the soup cool slightly, then blitz it in a blender or with a stick blender until smooth. Season with salt and white pepper.

5 To make the oil, put the parsley leaves and the oil in a small food processor, add a pinch of salt and blitz until the oil is flecked with fine parsley. It should be a very bright, vibrant green. Drizzle a little of the oil on to each bowlful of soup.

Red lentil, squash and tomato soup

Please don’t freak out at the list of ingredients – most are spices that you’ll probably have around anyway. This is a good-tempered recipe so play around with it if you like and add extras such as diced red pepper (yum). Some chickpea flatbreads on the side are good.

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

300g butternut squash, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

small bunch of coriander, stems and leaves separated and finely chopped

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp chilli powder (optional) or 1 tbsp of your favourite spice blend

150g red lentils, well rinsed

1.2 litres vegetable or chicken stock

400g can of chopped tomatoes

squeeze of lemon juice

4 tsp plain yoghurt (optional)

salt and black pepper

259 calories per serving

1 Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onion and butternut squash. Cook them over a fairly low heat until the onion is soft and translucent and the squash has started to soften. Add the garlic, coriander stems, ginger and other spices, then stir to coat the onion and squash.

2 Add the red lentils, then pour the stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring the stock to the boil, then turn the heat down to medium, put a lid on the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer, covered, for another 15–20 minutes.

3 When the lentils have collapsed and everything is tender, you can either blitz the soup to a smooth consistency or leave it with a bit of texture. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander leaves and add a squeeze of lemon juice before serving. If you’ve included chilli powder, you might like to top each bowlful with a cooling teaspoon of yoghurt.

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