Black bean soup with avocado salsa topping and stuffed masa harina flatbreads

This is such a beautiful soup! To look at as well as to eat…

The black beans are flavoured with a Mexican slant, and the topping reflects that too with tomatoes, herbs, avocado, radish and sweetcorn. And when they’re combined for serving the gorgeous black of the soup looks amazing with the brightly coloured topping!

But just as good as the soup are the stuffed masa harina flatbreads, with their crisped outer and soft herby potato centre.

The masa harina is combined with tapioca flour to give a lovely springy dough, which is really easy to work with and has a lovely flavour. We’ll be making them again, trying out lots of different fillings!



Black bean soup with avocado salsa topping and stuffed masa harina flatbreads


Serves 4

for the soup

300 g dried black beans

2 tbsp mexican oregano or regular italian oregano

¼ tsp dried thyme

½ tsp cumin seeds

¼ tsp ground allspice berries

¼ tsp smoke powder, or 2 tsp smoked paprika

1.2 litres hot water

a large pinch of salt

for the avocado salsa topping

250 g tomatoes, roughly chopped. We used a mixture of different coloured cherry tomatoes

juice of half a small lemon

15 g fresh coriander, chopped

15 g fresh parsley, chopped

a pinch of salt

2 avocados, diced

4 radishes, sliced

50 g sweetcorn. We used tinned

for the stuffed masa harina flatbreads

200 g masa harina

100 g tapioca flour

a large pinch of salt

380 ml hot water

6 tbsp nicely flavoured oil, 2 for the dough and 4 for cooking. We used cold pressed rapeseed oil

200 g potatoes, diced

1 tbsp unsweetened soy yoghurt

juice of half a small lemon, start with half of it and taste before adding the rest

10 g fresh coriander, chopped

10 g fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper

To make the soup, put all of the ingredients apart from the salt in a large ovenproof casserole dish. Stir, put the lid on and cook in the oven at 160 degrees c for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the beans are tender. Blend until smooth (we used an immersion blender), and add salt to taste. We did this the day before, which helps with timing if you have one oven as the flatbreads cook at a higher temperature.

Next make the dough. In a large bowl mix together the masa harina, tapioca flour and salt. Add the oil, reserving ½ a tsp. Pour in the water and mix to a soft dough. Tip it out onto a board and knead, just until it comes together smoothly. Form into a ball and pop it back in the bowl. Rub over the ½ tsp of oil (this will stop it drying out), and loosely cover. Rest for at least 30 minutes.

For the masa harina flatbread filling, cook the potatoes (we used the microwave), roughly mash with the salt and pepper and leave to cool. Fold through the yoghurt, lemon juice and herbs.

To make the flatbreads, first divide the dough into 4. Roll each piece out into a round about 2 mm thick, take a quarter of the potato filling and place it in the middle. Fold the dough around the potato and carefully roll it out again, flipping every 3 or 4 rolls until it’s about 20 cm in diameter. The dough likely won’t stick together, but this is fine. Repeat with the other three pieces of dough. Rub ½ tbsp of oil into each side of the flatbreads and transfer to baking sheets. We needed to use two. Bake at 200 degrees c for 30 minutes, turning half way through.

While the flatbreads are cooking make the avocado salsa topping. Combine the tomatoes, herbs, salt and lemon juice and mix well. You can either mix the avocado, radish and sweetcorn into the tomatoes at this point, or keep them separate for layering.

Warm the black bean soup through if needed and then either top the soup with the salsa in the pan as we did, or ladle it into individual bowls and then add the topping. Serve with the masa harina flatbreads, cut into quarters.

By A and E.


Spinach, kale and apple soup

Doesn’t green soup always feel ever so nutritious?
And this one is, being full of spinach and kale 🙂
There are also apples for sweetness and acidity, sun dried tomatoes to add a little richness, and potato for a lovely texture.
All the flavours come together to make a very satisfying soup!
It’s so easy to make, everything just goes in the pot together. It could be cooked in the oven as most of our soups are but this time we used the hob. Add around 10 -15 minutes to the cooking time if you’re using the oven.
It’s pictured below with a sandwich made from our beetroot bread, which makes for a very pleasing colour palette!


Spinach, kale and apple soup

serves 2 to 4

100 g kale, shredded
100 g baby spinach
2 small apples, chopped. We used braeburn
2 large sun dried tomatoes
1 medium potato, chopped
1 heaped tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
600 ml hot water
salt and pepper

Put the spinach and kale into a large pot on a medium heat and pour over the hot water. This will start the spinach wilting and enable you to fit the rest of the ingredients in!
Add the apples, sun dried tomato, potato, oregano and thyme. Bring to a simmer, partially cover and cook with the heat on low for around 25 minutes until the potato is soft.
Blend the soup until smooth (we used an immersion blender), and season to taste with salt and pepper.

By A. and E.


Lentil and red pepper soup

I guess lentil soup tends to be seen of as more of an autumnal type of a meal, but I’m not one to shun a soup at any time of year! And red peppers are summery, no?
Anyway, it was delicious, filling but not too heavy and it’s so very easy to make.
There’s nothing like making a big pot of homemade soup so you have something wholesome waiting after a long day at work!


Lentil and red pepper soup

makes 4 servings

1 large red (bell) pepper, diced
1 carrot, diced
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 small onion or leek, diced
175 g red lentils, rinsed
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp smoked paprika
900 ml hot water
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees c.
This is so easy it’s barely a recipe…
Put all of the ingredients bar the salt and pepper and nutritional yeast in a large casserole dish. Cover, and cook in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring half way through. Whizz it up a little using an immersion blender if you like, but it’s not really necessary.
Season to taste, and stir through the nutritional yeast just before serving.

By E.


Leek and white bean soup with ginger sweetcorn cream

Although both this leek and white bean soup and the ginger sweetcorn cream are delicious on their own, it’s when they’re combined that the flavours really come alive!
The ginger sweetcorn cream almost tastes like dessert (now there’s an idea…), but together with the subtly flavoured soup it makes a really rather exciting combination.
It’s an unusual and very moreish addition to my soup library!


Leek and white bean soup with a rather clumsy swirl of ginger sweetcorn cream!

serves 4 to 6

for the soup
2 leeks, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
a small bunch of parsley (around 15 g), roughly chopped
800 ml hot water
1 400 g tin of cannellini beans (240 g drained weight), drained
salt and white pepper
a small bunch of fresh coriander (around 15 g), chopped
for the ginger sweetcorn cream
150 g sweetcorn kernels, frozen or from a tin
2 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
zest of 1/2 a lemon
juice of 1/2 a lemon (save 2 tsp for the soup)
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees c.
Put the leeks, celery, onion, bay leaf, parsley and hot water in a large ovenproof casserole dish with a lid.
Bring to a simmer on the hob and then transfer to the oven for 1 hour, adding the cannelini beans after 45 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and blend the soup, adding salt and white pepper to taste.
Stir the coriander and reserved 2 tsp of lemon juice through the soup and reheat gently to serve.
While the soup is cooking make the ginger sweetcorn cream.
Put the sweetcorn, lemon juice, ginger and salt to taste in a blender. Blend until it’s as smooth as you can get it. If you want to be cheffy you can pass it through a fine sieve, but I didn’t bother.
Serve the soup with a swirl of the cream.

By E.


Cauliflower soup with quick pickled beetroot and chilli

Cauliflower soup is such a lovely comforting thing. But this time, as well as the velvety soup I really wanted something to cut through it a little, and give a bit of zhush!
So I made the soup using my oven method, adding herbs and a little garlic to enhance the flavour of the cauliflower.
And then a quick pickle with beetroot, chilli, balsamic vinegar and plenty of black pepper. The combination of flavours is great!
I’ve specified a Turkish chilli as they’re a mild type which doesn’t overpower the cauliflower. They’re the ones that are about 20 -25 cm long and light green.


Cauliflower soup with quick pickled beetroot and chilli

serves 2 – 4

for the soup
1 small cauliflower (about 350 g without leaves), roughly chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 – 2 sticks celery, chopped (mine were small so i used 2)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
800 ml hot water
a pinch of salt
for the pickle
2 small cooked beetroot, diced
1 long Turkish chilli, thinly sliced
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees c.
Put all of the soup ingredients into a casserole dish (I use a 22 cm cast iron one), stir, cover and pop into the oven for 1 hour.
The vegetables should be very soft after this time. While the soup is cooking, make the pickle. Simply mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Give it a stir every so often if you’re passing.
When the vegetables are done, remove the bay leaf and blend the soup. I used an immersion blender which does a pretty good job, but a jug blender would get it even smoother.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and spoon the pickle into the centre.

By E.


Mushroom and lentil soup

There’s no getting away from it, this soup is brown. Unashamedly, intensely, dark dark brown.
I was going to artfully strew something green over the top to pretty it up a bit, but then I though no, it’s mushroom soup and it’s mushroomyness should be celebrated!
It’s a gorgeously velvety soup, which doesn’t need any oil to help with the richness. And as well as the intense colour, happily the mushroom flavour is lovely and intense too!


Mushroom and lentil soup

serves 4

350 g large flat mushrooms, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, sliced
125 g urad chilka lentils, rinsed (split black urad dal)
1 litre light vegetable stock (hot), I used marigold vegan and gluten free stock powder made to half strength
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp tamari
a good big pinch of black pepper
a small wedge of lemon per person

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees c.
Put the vegetables, lentils, stock, bay leaves, thyme and allspice in a large ovenproof casserole pan. Mine is 22 cm in diameter and it was pretty full! Stir, cover, and put it in the oven.
Cook for 1 hour 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times. When the soup is cooked ladle around half of the vegetables and lentils into a blender, along with as much of the stock as you can (do it in a couple of batches if you need to). Blend until smooth, and then return to the pan.
Add the tamari and black pepper and stir well. Reheat if needed and then serve with the lemon wedges to squeeze into the soup at the table.

By E.


Watercress, carrot and lentil soup

I picked up a big bunch of watercress reduced to 34 p at the shops the other day! Watercress loses its freshness so quickly, that it usually isn’t worth buying when it’s reduced in price, it tends to look a little battered… But this bunch looked beautiful, with perky leaves and crisp stems. Some of it went in sandwiches, and very good it was too, but the rest had to become soup!

I wanted to keep the gorgeous watercress flavour, but pair it with something other than the usual potato base for this type of soup. So I’ve gone for sweet carrots and earthy lentils to complement the peppery flavour.

The watercress isn’t cooked into the soup, just stirred through at the end. Too much heat can dull the colour and flavour but this method ensures that both stay intact, and it reheats well too!

Watercress, carrot and lentil soup

Watercress, carrot and lentil soup

makes 4 servings

100 g small green lentils

400 ml water (there should be around 100 ml left when the lentils have cooked)

5 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced

1 onion, finely diced

3 sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

1 bay leaf

800 ml light vegetable stock

100 g watercress, chopped (stalks too, they have loads of flavour)

salt and pepper

Put the lentils in a large saucepan or casserole pan along with the water and bring to a simmer on a medium heat. Cook for around 15 minutes, until tender.

Remove the lentils from the pan using a slotted spoon, leaving the cooking liquid behind. Add the carrots, onion, sundried tomatoes, thyme, fennel, bay and stock to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft. I did mine covered in a 180 degree oven which took 40 minutes, I would think they’d take around 25 minutes on the hob.

Blend the carrot mixture until smooth, and then return to the pan. Add the lentils and heat the soup through on a low flame. Stir the watercress in, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

By E.


Cream of vegetable soup

I made this last weekend when still suffering from a nasty cold, it’s nutritious and simple and was just what I needed!

The flavours are traditional, and no vegetable should dominate the soup. When everything is neatly diced, and added at the right times, the flavours meld together beautifully. I kept the seasonings light, just a little dried herb and salt and pepper, it really didn’t need anything else.

I ate a good big bowlful as soon as it was ready, and felt better right away.

Vegan cream of vegetable soup

Vegan cream of vegetable soup

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Cauliflower, courgette and mushy pea soup

If you’re anything like Alex and I, eating out as a gluten free vegan most often includes chips… but as long as there are mushy peas to go with them we’re happy!

It was only recently though that I first made my own from scratch, and I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely they turned out. This time though, I wanted to use them as a base for soup, combined with a little spice and plenty of vegetables. I’ve chosen vegetables that have a great texture when blended, and the resulting soup was silky, and delicious!

You can cook the peas without the bicarbonate of soda (or baking powder, which is what I tend to use as I keep forgetting to buy bicarb…), but they will take longer to soften and the skins don’t break down so well.

Cauliflower, courgette and mushy pea soup, with some of our gluten free bread rolls

Cauliflower, courgette and mushy pea soup, with some of our gluten free bread rolls

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Tomato, garlic and chilli soup

It’s raining heavily here today, and although I don’t exactly need an excuse to make soup, I do believe that one of the most comforting things to do is to sip hot homemade soup while watching the rain fall.

So that’s what I did! And as a bonus, the warming scent of the soup cooking permeates the whole bungalow, building the anticipation and making my mouth water.

I’ve used a tomato base this time, with plenty of herbs and spices to complement the garlic and chilli.

It’ll still be delicious if it isn’t raining!

I’m using pearl garlic at the moment which comes in large single cloves (I get it from Lidl), it has a great flavour and as well as being lovely in this soup it roasts very well too. The cloves are pretty huge, I’ve added a photo of one below with a 20 p piece so you can see the size!

Tomato, garlic and chilli soup

Tomato, garlic and chilli soup

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