Free From and Fresh Budget-friendly Soup Hacks

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Soup is a great inexpensive dish to have. But, a large majority of pre-made and tinned soups available in supermarkets often contain allergens. From milk to fish and wheat, you name it, and it’s probably in there.

To avoid buying pre-made soups, why not try a homemade recipe instead? Here are my top tips for making this fresh, healthy and tasty alternative.

Don’t complicate it

When it comes to soup, you don’t need lots of fancy, expensive ingredients. A great way to bulk it out is with fresh vegetables.

Carrot, potatoes, celery, mushrooms, and green beans are some of the cheapest vegetables in the supermarket; they are perfect for adding volume to your soup without a huge cost.

Whether you’re on a budget where meat isn’t accessible or you’re a vegetarian or vegan, tinned beans, chickpeas, and lentils are another delicious and inexpensive protein source to use.

Check the labels

Certain stocks, sauces, and seasonings contain allergens or ‘may contain’ warnings on them.

Products like Worcestershire sauce, miso, and stock powders can often contain wheat, gluten, fish, and dairy. So, always make sure to check the labels before buying.

Try stock pots rather than powders or cubes, as they are usually gluten free, vegetarian, and sometimes vegan.

Certain supermarkets also stock gluten free and vegan Worcestershire sauce in their free-from aisle—something to keep an eye out for.

Herby Chicken Noodle Soup
Gluten free & dairy free (with vegan suggestions)
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
2 sticks celery (optional)
2 large carrots
3 cloves of garlic
1 white onion
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp miso paste
500ml vegetable stock
800ml warm water
2 tsp Italian herbs
2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Four nests of gluten free rice noodles

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Add your chicken breast to a baking dish with some salt and pepper, and cook for 20-30 minutes until fully cooked.
In a large pan, add the olive oil, garlic, and onion and cook until soft.
Add in the thinly chopped carrots and celery. Cook this all together, and then add all the dried herbs. Let this cook for five minutes stirring often.
Add your vegetable stock, miso paste, and the warm water and mix well.
Once your chicken is cooked, tear it into small pieces and add it to the soup.
Let this cook on medium heat for 25-30 minutes.
Five minutes before you finish cooking, add in the rice noodles and drop to a low heat.
Serve warm with some chopped parsley and crusty bread.

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup
Gluten free, dairy free and vegan
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 red peppers
500g large tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
½ white onion
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
2 tsp Italian seasoning
500ml vegetable stock
125ml dairy free milk

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Halve the tomatoes and chop the peppers into large chunks. Peel the garlic cloves. Add this to a deep baking tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and the Italian seasoning. Roast this for 40-45 minutes.
In a large pan, add the rest of the olive oil and cook the onion until it’s soft and caramelised.
Add the roasted vegetables and cooked onion to a blender or use an immersion blender. Blend until smooth, and then add this to your large pan and add the vegetable stock and milk.
Stir well and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Best served warm with a garnish of fresh basil and a drizzle of vegan cream.

Soup Hacks

  • Free from croutons are like gold dust. Rather than searching high and low, make your own! Simply take one or two slices of free-from bread (I like to use the end pieces), cut the bread roughly into squares, toss in a little bit of oil with some salt and pepper, and cook them in the oven until golden brown and crispy.
  • There are times when a soup can sometimes feel a little boring. My favourite way to serve soup is with a generous drizzle of vegan cream and some fresh herbs. This makes it creamier but also adds a different flavour.
  • Add your umami. If your soup or broth lacks richness or flavour, why not add some gluten free miso paste, gluten free soy sauce, tomato puree, or even seaweed?
  • Add a source of carbohydrate. Soup is often a lighter meal, so add rice, pasta, quinoa, or noodles to your dish to keep you fuller for longer.
  • Use your leftovers. If you have left-over meat, beans, and vegetables from a previous meal, why not turn them into another delicious meal? It reduces waste and is perfect for your budget, too.

For more delicious free from recipes, head over to Paige’s Instagram