Spicy Parsnip and leek soup

Spicy Parsnip and leek soup  – serves 4/5

We may still have a few chilly days a head of us, so lets stay warm with a nice spicy homemade soup.  Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients or the correct measures, this recipe is really flexible so you can add carrots, onions, potatoes, coriander, cumin, tinned tomatoes etc.

In fact you can’t really go wrong!

But if you’re unsure follow this recipe and you will end up with really tasty and satisfying bowls of soup


The start of something big!

The start of something big!

½ tsp vegetable oil

250g peeled and chopped parsnips

200g swede, peeled and chopped into small pieces

100g washed and sliced leeks

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp each of curry power, turmeric and smoked paprika

large pinch of chilli flakes

1 cupful of red split lentils

1 ltr of hot water

1 tsp lemon juice

handful of chopped mint and parsley

salt and pepper


In a large pan warm the oil and add the leeks cook on a low light for 5 minutes.

Chopped Parsnips

Chopped Parsnips

Add the chopped parsnips, swede chilli, spices and garlic, cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the hot water and lentils.

Cook for 20-30 minutes until the veg and the lentils are very soft.

Either leave chunky, blend all of it using a hand blender or remove half and blend half and mix together.

If it’s too thick add some more hot water.

Add the lemon juice, taste and season with plenty of freshly ground pepper and a little salt (if necessary)

Serve in warmed bowls

parsnip soup



Add a tin of cannellini beans – 34 calories a portion

1 slice of wholemeal bread – 100 calories

Butternut squash and coconut soup

Butternut squash and coconut soup – serves 2, 153 calories per serving

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

This is a really fibre rich soup that will keep you feeling nice and full.  By not using any oil and dry frying the vegetables it makes it very low calorie, so ideal for the 5:2 fasters and anyone wanting to stay healthy.  The coconut milk, as well as adding calcium also brings some sweetness, richness and a velvety texture to the dish

IMG_3386330g butternut squash – chopped into small cubes, but not peeled

130g onion – chopped

300ml stock (made with half a stock cube, half a tsp vegetable powder or vegetable water)

100 ml non-dairy coconut milk.  You could also used tinned coconut milk but the calories will increase by 60 calories per serving

large pinch of dried chilli flakes

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbls of the seeds from the butternut squash



IMG_3387In a non stick saucepan slowly dry fry the butternut squash. This means having the pan on a low light and allowing the veg to release its own oils and liquid to help with the cooking. This will take about 6-8 minutes to begin to soften and colour

Add the chopped onions and keep turning over so all the veg colours evenly and doesn’t burn. This will take another 5 minutes

Add the stock, chilli and salt & pepper.

IMG_3390Cover with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes until the squash is completely soft

Add the coconut milk and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Take out a few pieces of the cubed squash, and set aside


IMG_3392Blitz the soup with a hand blender or nutribullet and pour into two warmed bowls


In another non stick pan add 1 tbls of butternut squash seeds IMG_3391and dry fry i.e. don’t add any oil. Have the heat low and gentle move the seeds around the pan until they start to toast and colour. Remove from the pan



Scatter the seeds over the soup and add the few cubes of reserved squash

Asian Parsnip soup

Asian Parsnip soup – serves 6

This is a great way to use those wonderful sweet and seasonal parsnips. Not only are they full of slow releasing fibre to keep you nice and full but they are also jam packed with immune boosting vitamin C.

2 or 150g small onions

2 tsp olive oil

img_93881 tbls garam masala and ginger/garlic paste

1 tsp chili flakes

1 ½ ltr veggie stock, either made with 3 tsp bouillon powder or 1 stock cube and boiling water

6  or 600g parsnips

Handful of fresh coriander or parsley leaves

Soya/oat cream (optional)

1 tin of chickpeas (optional)


In a large saucepan add the oil and heat. Peel and chop the onions and fry in the oil until soft but not coloured. Add the spices and paste* and cook until its smells really aromatic (about 5 minutes). Keep moving the onions and spices to stop them sticking or burning

* You can also use a clove of garlic and 1 tsp ground ginger or fresh ginger instead of the ginger/garlic paste

img_2094-768x1024Add the chopped parsnips (it’s not necessary to peel the parsnips, although you can if you want) and the stock. Stir, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the parsnips are soft.


Using a hand blender (or food processor, blender or nutribullet), blend until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.

This little 15 second video shows you how easy it is to blend the soup



The soup can now be served. However to make it more substantial and to increase the fibre and protein content add a tin of chickpeas (and their water). Finish with a swirl of non-dairy cream

Celeriac and leek soup

celeriac-4Celeriac and leek soup with hazelnuts and crispy sage – serves 2

This warming soup is an ideal starter if you have a vegan or vegetarian guest coming for Christmas.  It can be made in advance and frozen.  Crisp the sage leaves and add the hazelnuts on the day though

In fact it is so tasty all your meat eating guests will want a bowl, but don’t worry the recipe can easily be double or tripled

vegan-xmas-poster-jpegMy vegan Christmas cookery class guests will be making it (along with chestnut and cranberry terrine and chocolate pots) on Saturday 10th December. I have a couple of places left if you’d like to join me

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

Celeriac and leek soup with hazelnuts and crispy sage – serves 2

15g hazelnuts,2 tsp olive oil

100g leek

1 garlic clove

500ml veg stock

250g celeriac, peeled and chopped

200g floury potato (russet, Desiree, King Edward and Maris Piper.) chopped only

12 small sage leaves, salt & pepper to taste

Drizzle lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil


  • hazelnutsAdd the hazelnuts to a hot dry frying pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes until toasted, keep shaking the pan.
  • Wrap the toasted nuts in a paper towel and rub to remove the brown skin. Cool then roughly chop
  • Heat 1 tsp oil in the pan cook the thinly sliced leek on a medium heat for 5-6 mins. Add the chopped garlic and cook for another minute. Add the celeriac, potatoes and stock


  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20-22 mins until the veg is soft. Using a stick blender blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning



  • celeriac-6Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and fry the sage leaves, stirring for 1 -2 mins until crispy. Drain on paper. Serve the soup topped with the toasted nuts and sage leaves. Finish with a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil (or you could add a splash of soya cream)

Winter vegetable and lentil soup

Winter vegetable and lentil soup

Makes 4 x 300g servings = which can be frozen

230 calories per portion

IMG_2129It’s getting colder so what better way to keep out those chills than have a bowl of warming and nutritious homemade soup. Feel free to adjust the vegetables and add in whatever is to hand.  But always use the lentils as it adds protein and fibre, therefore making the soup really hearty and filling.

250g parnsips

150g swede

200g potatoes

100g leek

150g dried red lentils

1 tsp olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

½  vegetable stock cube or 1 tsp bouillon powder

½ litre of hot water

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 chilli or 1 tsp dried chilli

1 bay leave (optional)

Salt and pepper

Dash of lemon juice and a handful of chopped fresh herbs

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Wash all the vegetables but only peel the swede.  Both the parsnips and the potatoes can keep their peel (to retain more fibre and nutrients).  Chop in to bite sized pieces

IMG_2099I use a pressure cooker for this soup as it reduces the cooking time,  But if you don’t have one then use a large pan.  Add the oil to the pan and warm before adding the leeks.  Cook on their own for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally to stop them colouring too much.  Add the rest of the vegetables and stir.  After a few minutes add the chilli, spices, bay leaves, garlic, stock cube dissolved in the hot water and tinned tomatoes.

Give the whole lot a big stir and then add in the dried lentils.  With another big stir

If you are using a pressure cooker at this point add the lid and wait for a steady stream of steam to be produced add the weight, turn down the gas to a simmer and set the timer for 10 minutes.

If you are just using a large pan, cover with a lid, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 30-40 minutes (storing regularly), or until all the veg are nice and soft and the lentils have broken down

Have a taste and then season with salt and pepper and a dash of lemon and some chopped herbs, such as parsley, mint, coriander

IMG_2100You can leave the soup nice and chunky or use a stick blender to make it smooth.  This will thicken the soup so add some more hot water, until you reached the desired consistency.

It may mean that you then get an extra portion so the recipe will have 5 not 4 servings in which case the calorie per portion will reduce to 200

The soup can be kept covered in the fridge for 3 days.  Any uneaten portions can be frozen and defrosted and reheated before eating

As a chunky soup it can quickly be turned in to a versatile casserole by adding cooked veggie sausages, Quorn (or for the meat eaters; roasted chicken or left over Sunday roast meat)

soupAs a smooth soup it can be used as a protein rich topping for jacket pototoes or a filling for a veggie shepherds pie

Please share if you have other creative ways of using this versatile recipe

Cauliflower and tomato Moroccan soup

Cauliflower and tomato Moroccan soup – serves 2

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

The weather seems to have taken a bit of a turn, so lets turn up the heat again and make a spicy soup.  In fact my vegan cookery classes will be making this all week!

cauli-soup-ingredients100g cauliflower, chopped or grated, ½ onion chopped, 3 (150g) tomatoes chopped or ½ tinned tomatoes, 1 clove of garlic chopped, 1 tsp oil, 50g red lentils, a few chilli flakes, ½ -1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp smoked paprika, salt and pepper, 500 ml boiling water, small handful of chopped parsley, splash of lemon juice


In a medium  pan heat the oil and add the cauliflower, onion and garlic. Fry on a low heat until they are lightly coloured and softened about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, chilli, cinnamon, paprika, lentils and boiling water

Cook with the lid on, on a low heat for 20 minutes until the vegetables and lentils are soft.

Add more water if its too thick, taste and adjust seasoning. Leave chunky or blend with a hand blender if you like it smooth.




Serve in two bowls and scatter over the chopped parsley

Kale with miso

Kale with miso – 198 calories, serves one

Kale is the ‘go to’ leafy vegetable, and here’s why: it is high in vitamin A, C and K – all vital for a strong immune system, good cell health and wound healing , potassium (helps nerves IMG_2210and muscles communicate), iron (for red blood cells) and fibre (which helps manage blood sugar  makes you feel full and is great for gut health).  It also contains good levels of lutein, a nutrient that gives kale its deep, dark green colour that is great for maintaing eye health. And lets not forget healthy fats – not something you usually associate with vegetables, kale contains good levels of omega-3 fatty acid, essential for brain health.  Finally acid from lemon juice helps make kale’s iron more bioavailable as well.

If you have thyroid problems 

In most cases, kale is an important part of any diet. But kale (and other veg like cabbage) can interact with thyroid function if they are eaten in very high amounts.

If you have an under active thyroid, ask your doctor about how certain foods can affect your thyroid and associated medication.

So on with the kale with miso recipe

IMG_220040g kale – washed and chopped with thick stalks removed ( or a couple of blocks of frozen kale), 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tbls miso paste, 450 ml of boiling water, 1 tsp sesame seeds, ½ tsp chilli flakes or ½ fresh chilli finely sliced, 15g unsalted cashews, large pinch of black pepper and a dash of lemon juice

Heat the oil in a pan and add the kale, stir fry for 5 minutes, IMG_2204or until soft add miso paste fry for a minute before adding the water and chill.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes before adding the IMG_2207nuts, pepper and lemon juice.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Pour in to a large bowl and sprinkle over the sesame seeds


Roasted butternut squash, carrot and lentil soup

Roasted butternut squash, carrot and lentil soup – makes 7 x 250ml servings, 95 calories a portion


Its Endometriosis Awareness Week and I thought a recipe using ingredients that could help improve the symptoms of this painful condition could be useful

For this recipe I originally used pumpkin, but now butternut squash is readily available, so I’ve done a quick substitute!  Don’t be afraid to be generous with the spicing  – The soup can pack quite a punch, which is perfect on a chilly day

Squashes are low in fat, calories and cholesterol, and high in fibre, vitamin A, iron and vitamin C.  Like squashes carrots are also packed with vitamin A and fibre, which will leave you feeling fuller for longer.  TheIMG_5540Vitamins are good for eye health, cell regeneration and for boosting the immune system.  Lentils are also rich in fibre and iron and are an excellent low fat low calorie protein source.

A winner all round!

if you don’t have butternut squash a pumpkin will work equally well


90g leek chopped

300g butternut squash or pumpkin, cut into wedges (no need to peel)

400g chopped or grated carrot

1 tsp olive oil

1 ½  tsp cumin, coriander

IMG_19141 tsp chilli flakes

100 g dried red lentils

1.25 ltrs hot water

1 tsp vegetable powder or 1 stock cube

1 tsp cumin and coriander and ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

black pepper and salt


  • Pre heat the oven 185oC
  • IMG_1904Wash and slice the butternut squash into wedges place in a large baking tray drizzle over 1 tsp olive/vegetable oil.  Sprinkle over the spices (1 ½ tsp cumin and 1 tsp chilli flakes).  Toss in the oil and place in the pre heated oven.  Cook until soft – about 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and place the wedges on to a plate and scrape the oil and seasoning in to a large pan
  • IMG_1906Slice the washed leek and add to the pan, don’t add any additional oil.   Cook until they soften – about 10 minutes, add the sliced or grated carrot and again cook until they soften. Chop up the squash (no need to remove the skin unless you don’t like it) and add to the pan
  • Add 1.25 litres of boiling water and 1 heaped tsp vegetable bouillon, 1 tsp cumin, coriander and ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • IMG_1917Cook until the lentils and carrots are soft – about 20 minutes
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper
  • Blend until smooth either in a blender or using a stick blender.  Add more water if it is too thick
  • Serve 250g/250ml in warmed bowls


If you want to make a smaller batch, just reduce the individual ingredients, but still keep the same proportions.  if however, you make a big batch simply put portions in to a freezer bags; it freezers for up to three months

Why not share your best recipe that utilises this great and versatile vegetable

Spicy carrot and mint soup

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

Carrot and mint soup – serves 3, 105 calories

IMG_1918This is a really quick and easy soup to make.  If you like a bit more spice then add the maximum amounts, but if you like it a bit more mellow just cut the amounts down. If you haven’t got a hand blender you can use a potato masher and a bit of elbow grease, or leave it chunky.

It is a great soup to have on your 5:2 eating regime.  Eat as it is on your fasting day for 105 calories per serving, or add ½ can of drained cannellini beans (105 calories) or serve with some crusty sourdough bread (180 calories per slice)


 1 ½ tsp vegetable oil

½ – 1 teaspoon curry powder

¼ – ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

IMG_19114 medium  (400g) carrots, peeled and thinly sliced or grated

2 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced

½  medium  (75g) onion or leek, coarsely chopped

550ml reduced-sodium vegetable broth, made with 1 tsp vegetable bouillon and hot water, or left over water from cooking vegetables

1 tsp lemon juice

6g (large handful) mint leaves, chopped

Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste


In a saucepan, over low heat warm the oil then add the curry powder and chilli, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in carrots, celery and onion and coat in the oil. Cook with the lid on (stirring frequently) for 10 minutes. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes.


imagesRemove from the heat and blend using a stick blender. Add most of the chopped mint. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve in bowls and sprinkle over the remaining mint

Miso soup

Miso soup – 1 serving 80 calories 1.7g fat

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

This month I promised to create more recipes to support #Veganuary2016, so how about this vegan miso soup;  Its simple quick and very satisfying.  And if you are watching your weight this month this is the perfect low calorie lunch option for all you 5:2 fasters


IMG_21332 tsp miso paste (make sure it is suitable for veggies and vegans i.e. no bonito flakes)

1 mug of boiling water

25g soft tofu – cubed

1 sping onion – finely sliced

few flakes of dried chilli

20 (large handful) spinach leaves or 1 Nori leaf, shredded

  • Mix the miso paste with the hot water in the serving bowl or mug
  • Add in the cubed tofu, chilli flakes, spinach leaves and sliced onion
  • Stir until the leaves are wilted and soft

IMG_2893Optional extras – ½ tsp toasted sesame seeds (40 calories), few drops sesame oil (10 calories), 28g/small handful unsalted cashew nuts (150 calories), 2 sliced mushrooms (24 calories), soba noodles (28g will add 90 calories)