The speediest soup around
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. In fact I’m convinced it’s the core reason why I am such a morning person. I bound out of bed primarily with thoughts of cereal swirling around my head and my stomach rumbling. If I had to pick a second favourite, it would be dinner. Mainly because it involves a little more prep and I find that time spent in the kitchen post-6pm is when my day starts to wind down. I pop on a podcast, whip off my bra and head to the top of the stairs at least once every two minutes because I think that I’ve heard Mark coming home. So through the powers of deduction, lunch is rearing up the back. You’d think that getting to work from home would mean that a freshly prepared lunch could be seen as an exotic luxury, but I have to say I do miss the Pret baguettes (and subsequent chocolate mousse!) of my London office-based days. Of course my bank balance doesn’t and actually having the chance to cook something from our very own kitchen for breakfast, lunch and dinner gives me the flexibility to eat in both a nourishing and budget-friendly way – so why do I keep eating Easter Eggs for lunch, eh? I often find I push it to the side and if I haven’t meal prepped anything for my lunchtime spot I find myself chowing down on a toasted bagel and a handful of Maltesers, which really ain’t doing much on the nourishing front.
So, what’s the solution? You ready? I’m breaking ground here. It’s SOUPS. I know, hold onto your hats. If you’ve watched my weekly meal prep video, then you’ll know that I like to make a soup at the weekend to freeze and portion up for both Mark and I during the week. However, sometimes that doesn’t happen and I spend the whole weekend napping and watching RuPaul’s Drag Race (in my defence I’d just got off a 12 hour flight at 8am on Sunday morning!). In those cases lunchtime during the week falls to the side and I just grab whatever I can out of the fridge/freezer/cupboards come 12.30pm. Actually, who am I kidding? 11.30am. I want my lunch to be quick, warming and fill me up so I don’t come rooting around for my chocolate stash two hours later.
Often the soups I make require chopping, roasting and then a blend in my food processor – so when I found a recipe in Madeleine Shaw’s ‘Get The Glow’ that required minimal dicing and a minimal cooking time, I found the solution to my lunchtime crunch conundrum. Soup is the answer, I just needed to find a recipe that didn’t take an hour to execute. Instead this one takes just 20 minutes and is just as good heated up at a later date, as it is ingested fresh on the spot. Of course when I found Madeleine’s recipe I realised that I didn’t have half the ingredients, so here’s my take on her ‘Lentil & Tomato Soup’, but instead with quinoa that I always have in my cupboard, but very rarely use. Superfood fail.
SUPER QUICK TOMATO & QUINOA SOUP (serves 4): A hearty soup with plenty of flavour that doesn’t take an age to make. Feel free to bulk it out with any leftover veggies you have hanging around, increase the stock input if you fancy it runnier or decrease if you like your soups thick, and dial up or down the spices as you please.
You will need: 2 TSP ground cumin, 1 TSP ground coriander, 1 TSP smoked paprika, 1 TBSP coconut oil or butter, 2 finely chopped red onions, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 200g quinoa (feel free to use lentils if you fancy!), 600ml chicken or vegetable stock, 2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, salt & pepper to taste
The instructions for this recipe couldn’t be easier. Heat up your coconut oil or butter in a large pan for a minute before adding your chopped onions, along with the spices and a bit of salt. Sauté until they start to become clear and then throw in your crushed garlic for 2-3 minutes. Once that all starts to look pretty cooked (it will smell AWESOME) at this point add in the rest of your ingredients – the quinoa, stock and chopped tomatoes. Give it all a good stir and then leave to simmer with the lid off, for around 20 minutes. You’ll know when it’s ready to dish up because the quinoa will have expanded to make a thick saucy texture. Add in more stock if you feel like you’d like to thin out the soup a bit. Taste and season if necessary and then serve. Time to wave goodbye to your mid-afternoon chocolate stash rummage.
Photos by Lauren Shipley
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