Autumnal grain and vegetable soup

I like this soup at this time of year. Not only is it warming when the weather turns colder and the nights start at half-past four but it also looks Autumnal in colour.

This one takes some forethought because it uses dried grains that need to be soaked overnight before being used. As a result I tend to make it in a big batch, eat some and freeze the rest.

Serves: 8


  • 250g soup grain mix
    • You’ll find this in the supermarket with the dried lentils and peas. Sometimes it’ll be called Farmhouse or Country Soup Mix
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
    • I tend to scrub the carrots to clean them and then leave the skins on
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    • vegetable or rapeseed is fine too
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree


  • Put the soup grain mix in a large bowl and add loads of water, it will swell as it soaks so use more than enough to cover the mix. Cover it and put aside for at least 8 hours.
  • When the soaking has finished, drain the water off and rinse the mixture, drain again and put to one side.
  • In a large pan, gently heat the oil and add the onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, mixed herbs and black pepper. Cook until the onions are soft and start to go translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • While that’s softening make up 3 litres of vegetable stock. Add this to the pan with the vegetables.
    • There’s loads of choice of stocks in the supermarkets, just use the one you like the look of.
  • Add the soup grain mix, tomato puree and turn the heat right up. When it’s boiling, turn the heat down low and pop the lid on. Cook for 2 hours. Give it a stir about every 20 minutes or so to make sure it’s not sticking. When done, add the salt, stir and serve.


This makes a lot of soup so eat what you can and freeze the rest. It’ll be good for about a month in the freezer.


Want it even more filling? I sometimes add a bit of cooked rice if I’m feeling extra hungry. This is a pain if you haven’t got some cooked rice magically available so maybe use some Orzo (tiny pasta that is the same size and shape as rice) and add a couple of handfuls to the pan about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Don’t add it too early or it will break down into a mushy goop.

Like a bit of heat? Sprinkle on some ground white pepper when you’ve served it up or add a dried chili or two when the stock goes in.

Beautiful, red-gold colours in this Autumnal soup.

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