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Today was a depressingly gray Saturday and my daughter was in a total funk as a result of mommy making her sit at the kitchen table and do more homework than she had in mind before going off for an afternoon of ballet rehearsal. I decided she needed a big burst of warm energy, as she’s probably subsisted on nothing but cheap sugar for the last 12 hours, having just come back from a sleepover, so I pulled out my stockpot and made a big pot of this warming soup – which was a total mood-changer.

The key in this quick-fix soup is the spicy chipotle, which gives it a smokey kick. I always have a couple of cans of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce to hand. I throw a can in the blender and keep it in an old jelly jar in the fridge for weeks – a little goes a long way!

Spicy Bean & Orzo Soup

Serves 4-6 hungry people

2tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 sticks celery, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 carrots, chopped

5 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed (or 1tsp dried thyme)

1tsp smoked paprika

1tsp chipotle sauce

1 tsp sea salt & 1tsp ground black pepper

1 32oz box of veggie stock

1 28oz can organic tomatoes

1 15oz can cannellini beans

4 tbsp whole wheat orzo


Heat the oil in a large stockpot and sweat the onions, celery and garlic on a medium heat until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).

Add the carrots herbs and seasoning and saute for another minute or so.

Add the stock and the tomatoes. I used whole canned tomatoes and I like to break them up a bit with the wooden spoon – you could also use diced tomatoes.

Add the beans and the orzo and simmer for half-an hour.

Serve with warm crusty bread.

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