Hearty Winter Soup (serves 5)

There is nothing like soup when you come in from the cold; it is one of the ultimate comfort foods, possessing the same qualities as tea or that cake your gran makes. One of my favourite things to do if it’s been a hard day is to pick up a carton of New Covent Garden soup, and a wholemeal bread roll. Needless to say this is a pretty pricy way of doing things and so it doesn’t happen very often. Queue my soup…
This is a soup that is a ridiculously easy take on Minestrone; it doesn’t require a blender. I’m assuming that a fully sized liquidiser/blender wasn’t on the list when most people moved into uni halls. I brought a mini blender, sufficient for making smoothies and one ingredient banana ice cream- and it struggles with those. The last batch of soup I made very nearly caused my blender to decide to end it all. So, I give you a blender free soup, rich in vegetables, cheap to make, filling, easy, and also flavourful: smoked paprika, Italian herbs and a little warming chilli powder and ginger make it perfect when you have to face the cold. To make this soup even more filling feel free to add in some sweet potato; chop it into small chunks and place it into the pan at the same time as all the other vegetables.
Yes, it does take around an hour and half to make, but for that hour you are free to do as you please; the soup looks after itself. If you make this on a Sunday afternoon when you need that hour to catch up on the essay you haven’t done, then you can have both an essay well on its way to completion, and soup for a week.


  • 1 large onion
  • 4 small carrots (or the large carrot equivalent)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 100g curly kale
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 100g wholemeal pasta shapes (mine are moose shaped, beat that)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock, made up with one stock cube + up to 1/4 litre extra hot water
  • 3tsp dried Italian herbs
  • 2tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2tsp hot chilli powder
  • Pinch of dried garlic flakes
  • Freshly cracked black pepper


  • First things first, chop up all the veggies. Spray a pan with cooking spray, or add 1tsp vegetable or olive oil, before tipping in the onion. Cook on a medium heat until just softened and taking on a golden brown colour. At this point add the rest of the vegetables.
  • Cook the vegetables until the tomatoes are beginning to soften, and then add in all the herbs and spices. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Now add in the vegetable stock, and the can of tomatoes, before bringing to the boil. Once boiling turn the heat back down to a simmer, cover, and leave for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the hour is up add in the pasta shapes and cook for 5 minutes before stirring in the kale and heating for a further few minutes.
  • Take a look at the consistency of the soup; if you think it’s too thick simply add the extra water gradually, until the thickness is as you desire. The pasta and kale do tend to absorb some of the water as it cools.
  • Serve or empty into a flask, and enjoy…

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