If you missed my explanation from last week’s post, I’m doing a 3 part series of easy lunch recipes 🙂 The aim is for them to be useful and inspiring – created kind of like templates so it’s easy to make swaps (that way you’ll never get bored of them!).
Sooo continuing on with these healthy lunchbox recipes is this SUPER COOL soup one today!
Ever since I saw this DIY pot noodle idea in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s vegetarian cookbook, I’d been wanting to try it out for myself. His basic recipe, using just a stock cube, some aromatics, a nest of noodles and a bunch of veg served as a springboard for so many potential ideas.
From playing around with the recipe, I found that miso or a dollop of any curry paste were really good swaps for the stock cube; They just pack so much flavour into that little jar! For this recipe I decided to go with a homemade, sunny paste of carrots, spices and ginger. I also added a clump of coconut butter to the jar which, when melted into hot water, basically becomes coconut milk (the perfect match for a curry paste).
I quickly grated up some courgetti (a.k.a. zoodles / zucchini spaghetti) which are awesome for this kind of instant soup situation as they require barely any cook time. If you want something more substantial though, rice noodles are great as they cook within a few minutes – you just have to leave the soup to stand for a bit longer.
After the addition of some veg (spinach for me!) comes the final, brilliant touch – a flavour packet. I saw this little gem of an idea over on Serious Eats in their series of pot noodle recipes. Having a little wedge of lime and some goodies for sprinkling really just brought it to a new level. You can obviously change up the flavour packet too depending on what kind of soup flavour you’re going with.
I’ve made some suggestions below for potential ingredient swaps for each component – just to spark some ideas for ya!
Soup base – miso paste, Thai green curry paste, 1/2 a chicken stock cube, 1/2 a vegetable stock cube, 1/2 a beef stock cube, 2 tbsp tomato paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, tomato paste mixed w/ chipotle paste + cumin + cinnamon + paprika.
Bulk/Starch: carrot ‘noodles’, rice noodles, cooked pasta, cooked chickpeas, cooked quinoa.
Vegetables: sugar snap peas, shredded carrots, steamed kale, peas, sweetcorn, sliced mushrooms, sliced bell pepper.
Flavour packet: lime/lemon wedges, grated cheese, chopped fresh herbs, sliced spring onion, sliced radish.
Extras: caramelised onions, peeled + sliced soft-boiled egg, cubed tofu, cooked & shredded chicken breast, grated ginger, dried mixed herbs, tahini, peanut butter, yogurt.
- ½ a batch Curried Carrot Paste (recipe follows)
- 2 tsp coconut butter (aka creamed coconut or coconut manna)
- 1 small courgette, grated into noodles (see animation in post) or spiralized
- a handful of baby spinach
- toppings: handful of fresh coriander, wedge of lime, toasted sesame seeds, chilli flakes sliced shallot
- In the bottom of a medium jar (you’ll need a jar which has a good seal on the top), place the curry paste and coconut butter. Layer the grated courgette and spinach leaves on top.
- Take a small piece of cling film and place your chosen toppings on top. Wrap the cling film up around the toppings, twisting it together to make a little pouch of goodies. Place this on top of the spinach in the jar. Seal the jar with the lid.
- Remove the cling film pouch from the jar. Pour in a mugful (about 250ml) of just-boiled water and stir together well. Unwrap the pouch and sprinkle the soup with the toppings.
- 1 tsp coconut or vegetable oil
- 3 medium-small carrots, coarsely grated
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed + peeled
- 2 shallots, peeled + roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 small red chilli, deseeded + roughly chopped
- 200ml (a scant cup) water
- 1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled
- 1 tsp raw sugar or honey
- a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled + grated
- Heat the oil in a small pot on a medium heat, add the carrot, garlic, shallot, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and chilli. Stir until the carrot is well coated in the spices.
- Add the water to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down to simmer, stirring occasionally, until only a few tablespoons of liquid are left. Take off the heat. Stir in the vegetable stock cube, sugar/honey and ginger.
- Blend into a smooth paste using a food processor, blender or - my preferred method - by pouring the mixture into a jug and blending with a hand blender.
- Store in a clean, airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3 days (or in the freezer for up to 2 months).