The benefit of starting with soup

On my recent retreat we started dinner with a simple soup every night— and what a treat! Ayurvedic principles emphasise the importance of good digestion and eating in a manner that supports our digestion—you start with easy-to-digest food so your juices are already flowing when harder-to-digest foods hit your system.

When I was a kid we would often have a vegetable based soup before our main course and our soup course on my retreat reminded me of how simple it can be to get your digestive process going and get a big serve of vegies each night. I also find that my kids are usually pretty keen on soups and they are easy to slightly vary depending on preferences.  Noodles in one bowl but not the other, omit the parsley on top for one, add some parmesan on the other—you get the picture!  

This is my absolute wonder soup, a dear friend of mine gave me the recipe years ago after my very fussy toddler devoured a bowl of it at her house one night.  We often have it as the main event with bread rolls, but you could also make a big pot of the base soup and leave it in the fridge for a couple of days and serve as an entree.

Soup Base Ingredients

  • 1 onion, grated
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 zucchini, grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1.5 litres of stock of your choice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Put all ingredients into a large pot
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.


  • Shredded chicken. I cheat and use a pre cooked BBQ chicken so it is easy to omit from my bowl, but if you want to include the chicken in the soup base I recommend using a kilo of skinless chicken drumsticks and cook them with the soup—but you should increase cooking time to around 25 minutes and then remove and shred the meat. It can all still go together in one pot.
  • Noodles or pasta. One of my kids does not like noodles in soup (weirdo) but the rest of us do—I take his portion of soup out of the pot and then throw in some vermicelli and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Beans. A can of cannellini beans is delicious.