I don’t know about you but I find lunches the most difficult meal to cater for, especially right now where we’re all at home all the time, we have differing timetables and differing ideas over what makes a perfect lunch!
D and I generally have lunch and take the dog for a walk before the girls have even finished their morning lessons, so lunches have to be ready to be reheated or eaten cold. Right now, in mid-Winter slides and sandwiches seem rather less appealing and a hot option is preferred, but then there is the issue of keeping things warm for the lunches in stages. It has transpired that soup ticks all the boxes; it’s warm and nourishing, can easily keep warm and mostly all the family members like it. Also, there is something wonderfully homely about having a pot of soup on the hob and it makes me feel like I’m winning on the lunch front!
This soup is not only very easy to make from mainly store cupboard ingredients but also pleases the ‘bit-a-phobes’ (both children!) who only like smooth soups, but adds extra substance with the addition of rice to keep tummies full until supper time. I add chilli paste to mine as we all like slightly spicy food, but so feel free to leave it out if you’d rather have a more mellow soup for lunch.
Spicy Tomato and Rice Soup
(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)
1 tbsp oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp chilli paste
2 tsps balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
400ml vegetarian stock
1/3 cup rice
1/2 tin sweetcorn (optional)
- Heat the oil in a sauce pan and sweat the onion until soft and translucent – try not to get too much colour. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
- Stir in the tomato puree and chilli paste (if using) and cook for a further couple of minutes.
- Pour in the tomato passata and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.
- Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar. Taste and season.
- Blitz if you want a very smooth soup and return to the pan and bring back to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
- Add the rice to the simmering soup and cook for about 10 minutes, until the rice is cooked through. If using sweetcorn, add a couple of minutes before the end of the cooking.
- Serve with a hunk of bread or a sandwich for a hearty and warming lunch.