Soulful soups

This selection of soups is perfect to ward off the winter chill without overloading on the calories.

Easy peasy veggie laksa

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp peanut oil, plus extra if needed
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 600ml canned coconut milk
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 carrots, finely sliced
  • 3 bok choy, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 6 button mushrooms, halved
  • 10 baby corn, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 250g hokkien noodles
  • 1 small handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 handful of bean sprouts

DIY laksa paste

  • 6 mild long red chillies, deseeded
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 tbsp finely grated galangal
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce


Place all the paste ingredients in a food processor and whiz until completely smooth. If needed, add a touch of peanut oil to blend.

Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large saucepan over high heat, add half the laksa paste and fry for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add stock and coconut milk and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrot, bok choy, mushrooms and corn and cook for 5 minutes or until cooked to your liking.

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain noodles and divide between serving bowls.

Using a ladle, spoon the laksa and lots of veggies into each bowl. Top with the coriander and bean sprouts and eat hot.

Sweet potato and pumpkin soup

Serves 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 500g butternut pumpkin, peeled and deseeded, roughly chopped
  • 500g sweet potato, roughly chopped
  • 200g Desiree potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1.5L vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp each salt flakes and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped and more black pepper, to serve


Heat the olive oil on a high temperature. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until the onion is softened.

Add the garlic and stock and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the cumin, salt and pepper and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft.

Use a hand-held blender to puree the soup until smooth. Top with the coriander and some pepper to serve.

The Nourishing Cook

The Nourishing Cook by Leah Itsines is published by Macmillan Australia, RRP $34.99.