11 Easy Ways to Make Delicious Soups without Meat

11 Easy Ways to Make Delicious Soups without Meat | Border Park Kitchen

As the cooler weather continues, I still find myself thinking about soups.

Like, a lot.

In fact, soup might just be my favourite wintery meal!

Soups are comforting, economical, nourishing and wholesome. They can be made with ingredients that you have on hand (like those limp veggies at the bottom of the fridge!) Soups can be stretched to feed a crowd and be as fancy or simple as you choose. Even better, they’re incredibly easy and forgiving. These are all of the elements that we Mums wish for in a meal.

But sometimes, you want a meatless soup – whether to serve some vegetarian guests, to cut back on meat for health or environmental reasons, to keep food costs down, or because you just don’t have any meat available.

It’s easy to make a delicious soup that doesn’t contain any meat.

I’d love to let you in on my personal 11 tips that guarantee a truly memorable meal.

  1. Use a good quality homemade or purchased broth. It’s a bold statement, but I believe that the quality of a broth determines whether a soup is a winner, or woeful. The broth is the foundation to the rest of the flavours and contributes hugely to the overall nutrition of the soup. If you don’t have bone broth, use a good quality organic bone broth concentrate or powder.

  2. Use aromatics. Aromatics are foods that deliver a deep, rounded flavour and aroma when heated or crushed. Think onions, garlic, celery, ginger, or chilli. Using aromatics is an easy way to create a unique soup signature. Even though they each have a distinctive taste, when cooked, these foods enhance and amplify other tastes, rather than dominate. While they’re often cheap to purchase, they contribute a lot of flavour and a certain sweetness. The tip with these is sautéing them in some fat (butter, oil or ghee) to help release their flavours. This develops and deepens the savoury, umami taste of the soup (you can thank me later – this tip is a game changer!)

  3. Consider what vegies to include. While almost every vegie works in a soup, you’ll get the best flavour by selecting those that go well together. Soups can either feature a few highlight vegies or offer a smorgasbord of colours and flavours. Balance the flavour of bitter vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts or turnips, with sweet vegetables like sweet potato, carrots or peas. This is particularly important if you’re trying to win over any non-soup eaters.

  4. Cut the vegies into bite-sized pieces. A good soup delivers an explosion of blended flavours, all in one mouthful. By cutting vegies into smaller chunks, you can fit a few different kinds on a spoon and get a better taste experience*. Additionally, consider which vegies are enjoyed (these can be cut into bigger sizes), and which ones you need to coax your family to eat (we cut the unloved types into tiny pieces, or even grate them). A soup should be easy to eat so ensure all ingredients are cut into manageable sizes (including spinach, kale and green beans). *Generally, the vegies in stews are cut a little bigger than those featuring in soups.

  5. Roast the veggies. Roasting browns your vegetable components and concentrates their flavour. You don’t need to fully roast them – just in a 200˚C oven for 20 – 30 mins, and then finish them cooking in the soup!

  6. Add something substantial. Soups can become a nutritious meal by including rice, pearl barley, lentils, beans, carby vegies, pasta, rolled oats, or whisking in an egg. Avoid overcooking by adding firm ingredients about 20 minutes before the end of cooking, and softer ingredients (such as pasta and rolled oats) no more than 10 minutes. To add eggs, stir the soup as you slowly pour in the whisked eggs. Allow the eggs to sit, undisturbed, in the hot broth for 1 – 2 minutes to fully set before serving.

  7. Add seasonings. Seasonings are simply ingredients that enhance the flavour of a dish. Think salt, pepper, spices, onion and herb spice blend. A soup can be either remarkable or ruined by this one element of seasoning. It’s worth honing your seasoning skill, because neglecting or over-use can give a disappointing result. The flavours in a soup slowly develop and change during cooking, so taste as often as you can, and remember they will often become more intense as the soup cooks. Be bold when adding seasonings, while also remaining mindful of how they complement one another. If using fresh herbs, add sturdy herbs (such as rosemary, thyme or oregano) early in the cooking process, but save delicate herbs (such as parsley, coriander and basil) to stir through just prior to serving or use as a garnish.

  8. Add a umami flavour. This is a Japanese word that describes the savoury, rich, yummy flavour of foods. It’s the perfect solution for adding a meaty quality to a meatless soup. What’s even better is that it’s so easy to do: stir in some grated parmesan, add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast, a splash of soy sauce, some sliced mushrooms or a dollop of tomato paste before serving.

  9. Add a splash of acid. Towards the end of cooking, add a small amount of an acidic ingredient to brighten and balance flavours. You don’t need much – start with a teaspoon or so – then taste and adjust. Lemon juice is my preference, but apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar or red wine is excellent for beef or lamb-based broths, or those with lentils or split peas to help brighten the flavour. For a subtle but refreshing tang, serve with a dollop of yoghurt or sour cream.

  10. When serving or reheating, add a dollop of dairy. Even if you’re not making a creamy version, most soups will really benefit from a swirl of dairy. It doesn’t need to be more than a few tablespoons to help contribute a nice tang and richness and help round out the flavours. Just ensure you remove from the heat first, as cream and milk will curdle if added to boiling soup. Our favourite is a generous knob of butter, but you can also add a spoonful of yogurt, sour cream, creme fraiche or cream. For dairy-free, try adding cashew butter, a swirl of coconut cream or whisk in some olive oil. Taste just prior to serving and add more salt or acid if necessary. (This sounds obvious, but miss this step, and you might be depriving yourself and your family of the best-tasting soup possible).

  11. Make soup a day ahead. Many soups are better on the second day because the flavours have had more time to mature and develop. According to cookbook author Laura Frankel, in a restaurant, the soup of the day is actually the soup of yesterday. Therefore, emulate the pros, and make your soups a day in advance, and refrigerate overnight so flavours have sufficient time to meld. If you’re pushed for time, your soup will benefit from ‘maturing’ in the fridge for even a few hours.


So, there you have it! My personal favourite list of 11 super simple ways to transform any pot of soup into a truly magnificent meal.

If you’re keen to use some of these suggestions, I have a FREE 1-page printable of these 11 steps inside the Resource Library . Print it out and stick it on the fridge to ensure your next pot of soup is a success 😊

And if you’re looking for more inspiration and someone to help you navigate cooking for your family, I encourage you to pop your name on the waiting list for my membership, Border Park Kitchen Collective. Inside, I come alongside busy Mums like you to offer tips, strategies and systems to completely transform their time in the kitchen.

Here’s to big pots of yummy soup,

Peri x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free Download