Hearty Winter Soup, Vegan or Non-Vegan

5/5 - (3 votes)

My recipe for a heart winter soup has become a firm favourite over the years. It has, as a base a dried mix of beans, peas, pearl barley and lentils, which are soaked for at least 8 to 12 hours. Then the addition of lots of chunky root vegetables, potatoes, carrots, swede(rutabaga) with leeks and onions complete the line-up to make a really great soup which is suitable for all, including those prefer a vegan diet.

Ingredients for the vegan soup

Of course the soup needs some liquid, which can be a vegetable stock, in which to cook everthing. However I use some Marmite, a yeast extract, which with 2 litres of water makes a great stock.

For my soup though I also like to cook a gammon joint which, clearly, makes it a non-vegan soup. The addition of the gammon not only adds extra flavour to the soup during cooking but it provides some great tasting ham too.

Gammon Joint.

The cooked gammon can be sliced as ham and eaten separately from the soup, or it can be chopped up and mixed into the soup. Indeed, depending on the size of the gammon joint it can be used in both ways.

Gammon is widely available in the UK and Ireland and maybe some European countries too. However it is not usually available in North America. In Canada, though, pork cottage roll which is pork shoulder which has been brined, as described here, is a great alternative.

So, to reiterate, this soup can be vegan or non-vegan as required. It is also very easy to make as everything just goes into a large pot to cook on the stove top.

Seasoning is a matter of taste, of course, but just how much salt you might wish to use in the soup will depend on whether you use Marmite, as I did, or a vegetable stock. It will also depend on whether you add gammon too, as that will release salt into the soup during cooking. Part of my seasoning is the use of Worcestershire sauce, in particular Lee & Perrins. However that version of Worcestershire sauce is not vegan, since it contains anchovies. However there are vegan versions of Worcestershire sauce available in some stores or online. An alternative might be Maggi Liquid Seasoning.

Dried soup mixes, such as the one I used, will also vary in terms of the combination of dried beans etc but you can easily make up a mix to suit you own particular taste. For instance using more lentils, or omitting pearl barley.

Hearty Winter Soup

My soup turned out so well. It tasted so very good on the day it was made but, as with many soups, the flavour seems to be even better the next day.

Hearty Winter Soup Video

For another stove top recipe you might enjoy Beef Stroganoff.

Hearty Winter Soup, Vegan or Non-Vegan

Recipe by geoffcooCourse: Stove top recipesCuisine: SoupDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Two large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

  • Two large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

  • 350g(about 12 oz) swede(rutabaga) peeled and cubed

  • 2 large leeks washed and sliced thickly, using the white and light green parts

  • 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 100g(3 1/2 oz) dried soup mix, containing peas, beans lentils etc.

  • 30ml(2 tbsp) Marmite(if using instead of stock)

  • 2 litres(8 cups) vegetable stock(or water if using Marmite)

  • 15ml(1 tbsp) Worcestershire sauce(please note there are vegan and non vegan versions of Worcestershire sauce)

  • Salt and pepper, to personal taste

  • Gammon joint(mine weighed 1.4kg, just over 3lbs) (optional, for non-vegan)


  • Add the dried soup mix to a large bowl and generously cover with water, then set aside to soak for at least 8 hour, preferable overnight.
  • Drain the water from the dried soup mix.
  • Place the mix into a large pan.
  • Prepare the vegetables as described in the ingredients list. and add to the pan.
  • If using Marmite mix it with 2 litres of water and add the Worcestershire sauce or, if using vegetable stock add the Worcestershire sauce to that.
  • Pour the liquids over the vegetables and stir around.
  • If making the non-vegan version place the gammon into the pot with everything else and stir. Adding more liquid until it just covers everything.
  • Place on the heat and bring to the boil and then cover and cook for about 2 hours(less time may be needed if not using gammon).
  • Taste the soup and add seasoning to suit your taste.
  • Take the soup of the heat and remove the gammon and allow it to cool before storing in the fridge to use as ham( or chop some up and add back into the soup if desired).
  • Serve the soup after it has cooled a little, or store it until later and just reheat before serving.

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