BLOG: Soup is not a meal. Discuss.







A bowl of soup can never be a ‘proper meal’ as far as I am concerned.

Okay, give me a moment to clarify. Obviously I mean that in a completely ‘first world’ kind of way, so let’s push the “some people would be grateful for the offcuts of your steak” comments to the side, just for now, and focus on the crux of what this post is about.

How can liquid be food? HOW? I don’t care if you have cooked a thousand crabs and added every vegetable known to man to them, seasoned it with kilos of salt and paid a small fortune for it, if it’s served in a bowl, with a spoon, and called “soup” or some fancy name meaning the same thing, it’s not a proper meal.

Obviously there are endless examples of where soup is a completely nutritious and filling dish, but for me, as a serious foodie, it’s just not enough. Ever. The only thing that can tip it over the edge into ‘proper meal’ category is an abundance of delicious bread served alongside it. Chowder, Bouillabaisse, Won Ton, Broth, Consommé, Minestrone or any variation, served alone, just will not do.

I’m not saying I don’t eat, or like any or all of the above, in fact the opposite rather. I love soup. All types. I just need to eat something else before, after, or with it to make me feel like I have had an actual meal.

Aside from the ‘proper meal’ factor, soup is without a doubt a wondrous food. Comfort food as its best. Recently I was speaking with a friends Mum. Her family are Jewish and she was talking to me about how just within her local community she believes she could get enough Chicken soup recipes to fill an entire cookbook. She told me how everyone believed their family’s was the most delicious and the best for you when you are ill! Greeks are a bit like that with their baclava recipes!


Below I have shared three of my favourite simple, delicious and healthy soup recipes. Each one of them is fabulous, but they all come with the same warning; “Serve without bread and risk feeling as though you haven’t quite had a proper meal.”


Lamb, vegetable and barley soup

Serves 6


– 3 tablespoons olive oil

– 1 brown onion – diced

– 1 clove garlic – crushed

– 4 lamb forequarter chops (or shanks or 2 chops/2shanks)

– 6 cups chopped vegetables (I use carrots, swede, parsnip, potato, celery – it’s a winning combination!)

– Water

– 1/2 cup Barley

– 1 tin diced tomato

– Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Add olive oil, onion and garlic to a large pot and fry off over a medium heat. You don’t want caramelisation or colour, just translucency.

2. Chop all vegetables into approx 1cm cubes.


3. Add the meat into the pot and brown it off. Not for long, just toss on all sides for a bit of colour.

4. Cover with water from the tap or kettle.

5. Add Barley and stir. Allow for this to bubble away for about 1/2 hour. (Note: Barley not only adds another texture to the soup but makes it creamy too!)

6. Add vegetables.

7. Add tomato and stir through.

8. Pop lid back on but leave it ajar and cook for at least an hour and a half. The longer you cook it for the softer and flakier the meat will become.

9. Ready! Serve with bread.


Broccoli and leek soup


Serves 6 – 8


– 3 tablespoons olive oil

– 1 tablespoon butter

– 1 medium brown onion – diced

– 2 cloves garlic – crushed

– 2 leeks – sliced

– 2 potatoes

– 4 heads broccoli

– Salt and Pepper to taste

– 2 teaspoons Curry powder

– 4 tbsp thick, creamy yoghurt (can use low-fat)

– Additional yoghurt and dill  – to garnish



1. In the butter and olive oil, fry off your onions, leeks and garlic until transparent over a medium heat.

2. Once transparent add salt, pepper and curry powder (about 2 teaspoons of each) to the pot and mix through.

3. Next add the diced potato and broccoli and stir everything together for about 5 minutes.

4. Cover contents of the pot with boiling water from the kettle and simmer on medium heat until veges are cooked through.

5. Blend to a pulp with a stick blender.

6. Add in 4 tbsp of the yoghurt and blend again.

7. Ready! Garnish and serve with bread.


Pumpkin soup


Serves 6-8


– 3kg Pumpkin – roughly chopped into 5cm blocks (I used Queensland pumpkins but you can use any that you like)

– 2 potatoes – roughly chopped

– 3 cloves garlic – crushed

– 1 brown onion – diced

– 2 leeks – chopped finely

– Chicken stock (can use vegetable stock) – just enough to sit near the top of the veges – about 3L

– 3 tablespoons Olive oil

– 1 tablespoon Butter

– Salt and Pepper to taste


– 1 teaspoon Curry Powder

– Sour Cream / low fat creamy yoghurt – to garnish

– Chives – finely chopped – to garnish


1. Place the butter and olive oil into a large saucepan on medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sweat.

2. Once they are transparent, add leeks and sweat them – season with salt, pepper and the curry powder.

3. Next add the chopped potato and pumpkin, stir it all about.

4. Immediately add the stock. Don’t worry if it doesn’t cover the veges. Place on the lid.

5. Every 5 mins or so turn the veges so that they all get a chance to cook under the stock. In about 15 mins they will have shrunk so all shall be covered by then.

6. After the veges are cooked through, about 20 mins, turn off the heat and remove some of the liquid using a ladle – DON’T THROW IT OUT as you may wish to add it back in – depends on how thick you want your soup to be. It’s better to remove MORE liquid than less as you can always add back in once you’ve blended, but you can’t take OUT liquid once it’s blended.

7. Blend. Check seasoning.

8. Garnish with Sour Cream or Yoghurt and lots of chives. Serve with bread.


Do you think soup can be a proper meal? What’s your favourite soup recipe?

Phoodie is a cookbook, restaurant, and supermarket obsessed blogger and Mum of 2. Phoodie blogs here, is on Facebook here and tweets here.