Fast ‘Happy Soups’ you can cook in 30 minutes or less

The platonic ideal of soup is the image of a big pot slowly simmering for hours on the stovetop — even if nowadays it’s more likely to be a slow cooker perched on the countertop.

But what if you could cook up a fresh, flavorful soup in 30 minutes or less?

As it turns out, it can be easily done.

The key is having homemade or store-bought broth on hand, and gathering the kinds of high-impact ingredients that can be prepped to come together quickly.

Just in time for chilly weather, “Leon Happy Soups” by Rebecca Seal and John Vincent (Conran Octopus, $19.99), offers 100 recipes for hearty, healthy soups that show you how to do just that, and super fast.

The cookbook, out on Nov. 7, is an offshoot of Leon, the beloved British “naturally fast food” restaurant chain whose dishes that aim to “taste good and do you good.”

Most of the “Happy Soups” recipes can be made in less than an hour, including prep time. And many have a cook time of 10-30 minutes.

What’s more, there are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan recipes, with a wealth of international flavors. And the eight chapters include takes on “naturally fast,” “comforting” and “posh” soups, along with recipes for broths, sides and toppings.

Tom Yum (Yum Yum) is a spicy Thai soup with shrimp and oyster mushrooms, brightly flavored with chili, lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaves.

Surprisingly, perhaps, it calls for boiling water rather than broth, and it cooks in just 12 minutes, deriving even more flavor and aroma from a final jolt of fish sauce, fresh lime juice and cilantro.

Perfect for a winter supper, Spinach, Sausage and Orzo Soup takes on the Italian flavors of tomatoes, garlic and Parmesan cheese in a hearty combo that recalls the textures of pasta and meatballs, and cooks in a quick 30 minutes.

Another 30-minute winner, classic Mushroom Soup, which can be made with either chicken or vegetable broth, is earthy, creamy and clearly belongs in the “posh” category — especially if you use the tip of serving it with truffle oil, a splash of sherry or brandy and some crusty buttered toast.


These super soups from the new “Leon Happy Soups” (Conran Octopus, $19.99) cookbook can be prepped in 15 minutes or less and cooked in 30 minutes or less.

Tom Yum (Yum Yum)

Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 12 minutes

This is an invigorating, spicy Thai soup made with shrimp and oyster mushrooms, and flavored with chili, lemongrass, galangal and lime leaves. It will clear your head (and your sinuses). Galangal is commonly available in Asian markets and many large grocery stores. The cooking process is very quick, so have everything ready to go before you start. Don’t be surprised that this version of tom yum is pale, not red. The color comes from using Thai roasted chili paste, nam phrik phao (see tip below), or ready-made tom yum paste.

Mushroom Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Food

The Piedmont Park 2018 schedule: festivals, concerts and preservation
The Piedmont Park 2018 schedule: festivals, concerts and preservation

Bought in 1834 for $450, closed to traffic in 1983, and today the 189-acre crown jewel of Atlanta green space, Piedmont Park is an Atlanta icon. Centrally located in the heart of Midtown, it’s big enough to host our largest concert and festival productions, and versatile in its offering for families, young professionals and day-drinking...
The state of beer in Georgia
The state of beer in Georgia

Is Georgia the worst state in the U.S. for craft brewing? I asked that question in a blog post in September 2016. At that time, Georgia, which had been in a two-way tie for last with Mississippi, was about to become the only state where a brewery could not sell beer to the general public. But the following year all that changed, thanks in large...
Introducing Chareau, the award-winning spirit you should try
Introducing Chareau, the award-winning spirit you should try

It was the bottle that first drew me to Chareau. With wonderment, I approached the simple, yet elegant, clear glass vessel. It has no adornment save for a swath of green tape over a wooden topped cork stopper. An unassuming white label reads “Chareau Aloe Liqueur.” What I found inside is so much more than the gelatinous goo used to soothe...
Is a pesky pothole making a mess of your takeout dinner? How a pizza chain could help
Is a pesky pothole making a mess of your takeout dinner? How a pizza chain could help

Have you ever had to peel cheese off the top of the box before enjoying your takeout pizza because of the bumpy ride home? You may want to pay attention to a new initiative from Domino’s. The Michigan-based restaurant chain announced last week that people can nominate their city in hopes the company will contribute funds to fix local potholes...
Easy pancakes make any morning special
Easy pancakes make any morning special

When my mother made pancakes, you knew it was a special occasion. She would pull out the heavy-duty stand mixer, separate the eggs and beat the whites until they were cloudlike, then fold them into a batter creamy with cottage cheese. The pancakes would puff when she fried them, each one a tiny, golden soufflé ready to be coated in maple syrup...
More Stories