Vegan Welsh Cawl Soup [adapted from the traditional welsh lamb soup or Cawl Cymreig] is a rather thick chunky soup or stew that is ideal for wholesome, hearty, tasty budget-friendly family meals.
Ladle this easy and quick soup into bowls and garnish with pieces of cooked smoky vegan bacon and fresh parsley.
And serve with chunks of crusty bread and a wedge of vegan cheese for a traditional Welsh experience. Albeit a meat-free one!
Veggie Welsh Cawl soup can be easily prepared as gluten-free.
Origins of Welsh Cawl Soup [Cawl Cymreig]
Welsh Cawl Soup is the national dish of Wales and originates way back to Welsh medieval times. The Welsh word Cawl translates to mean soup or broth.
A large pot of Cawl soup would have bubbled away on the open fire for hours ready to feed the hungry family at the end of the working day.
The broth was usually a meat and veg one and the ingredients would have been whatever was available so recipes do vary. The meat was generally lamb, but bacon or beef may have also been used.
The traditional vegetables used for Cawl soup tend to be of the root variety such as turnips [swede/rutabaga], carrots, and parsnips. Potatoes would have been added to the Cawl soup sometime after they had arrived in Britain during the 16th Century.
As was fashionable during the middle ages, the Cawl broth would have been strained from the cooked meat and veggies and served as separate courses. First the broth would be drunk as a kind of starter, and then the meat and veggies as the main course.
Nowadays Welsh Cawl Soup is popularly served as a one-pot meal, with home-made crusty bread and a wedge of the Welsh speciality Caerphilly cheese.
Vegan Adaptation Of Traditional Welsh Cawl Soup
For this veggie Cawl soup recipe I have used dried textured vegetable protein [TVP] or soya chunks as they are an inexpensive protein source, soak up the soup flavours, and add texture to the finished soup.
Of course, feel free to sub the TVP chunks for your preferred meat alternative either dried, fresh or frozen or simply omit. A can of drained beans or chopped thick mushrooms could also replace the TVP and would provide valuable nutrition to the soup.
Before beginning the soup, hot vegan stock is prepared and the soya chunks dropped into the stock to soak up the flavours.
The Cawl soup begins by sauteing the veggies in a tablespoon of vegan margarine as this adds extra flavour as well as calories to the veggie soup which is actually quite low in calories and fat.
However, if you are following a no-fat or oil diet then do cook the veggies initially, with a little veggie stock.
The vegetables required for this Welsh Cawl soup is carrot, turnip [rutabaga], onion, leeks, and potatoes. Some recipes also include parsnips so if you have one lurking around your fridge needing used up then do throw that in to the soup as well!
Once the veggies have sautéed a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf is added, along with a few tablespoons of soya sauce, a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and the vegan stock/broth along with the TVP chunks.
Now all that needs doing is for the Cawl soup to gently bubble away, the veggies to soften and the soup to thicken up. Depending on the thickness of your veggies this can take anywhere between 30-45 minutes.
Cawl soup is designed to gently bubble away so feel free to leave the soup until required. Of course do check the stock/broth levels frequently as extended cooking will likely require a top-up of veggie stock.
As with all tasty vegan soups and stews the flavours just improve and develop the longer it sits in the refrigerator so to save time and energy do prepare the soup a day in advance.
To serve the soup a few rashers of cooked vegan bacon sliced into pieces, is delicious as is a sprinkle of fresh parsley or your favourite herb.
If preferred a few chopped cooked vegan sausages or meatballs can replace the vegan bacon, or perhaps a few slices of ripped up vegan Quorn smoky ham deli slices. Or even some chopped smoked tofu.
A big chunk of crusty bread along with a wedge of vegan cheese is an authentic accompaniment to a delicious Welsh soup.
I served up the Asda own brand of vegan Free From garlic and chive cheddar alternative cheese which was particularly tasty especially when little bits of the cheese was crumbled into the soup and allowed to melt.
Budget-Friendly Vegan Recipes And Meals
This recipe for Vegan Welsh Cawl Soup is such a wholesome budget-friendly frugal meal that is easily adaptable, and can be served with various different toppings and accompaniments, that it really needs to be part of your menu rotation.
Especially during our cost of living crisis and food shortages that seems to be mostly world wide!
This blog is packed with our everyday family plant-based meals and I need to work with a budget and the limitations of living on a small Scottish island with no major inexpensive supermarkets at hand.
So it is tough, especially now, but I aim to prepare and cook frugal but wholesome recipes. So do keep coming back to the blog and to check out what money-saving recipes I have posted lately!
Most of the veggies I use for my recipes are reduced sticker finds so I do recommend looking regularly at the reduced sections of any supermarkets you have available, if this is possible. And freeze what you don't use for future recipes.
Do let us know how you got on with the veggie adapted version of Welsh Cawl Soup. We love to hear from you!
How To Prepare Vegan Welsh Cawl Soup
Leftover soup can be cooled and placed in the refrigerator within a covered food-safe container. Store for up to 3 days.
The flavours of leftover Cawl soup gets better as the days go on so if possible do prepare the soup the day before serving.
Freeze for up to 3-4 months.
Defrost completely before reheating.
Pour the soup into a pot and gently reheat until piping hot.
Once the soup has come to the boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Anything that you would normally enjoy with soups or stews!
A few ideas:
* vegan cheese
* vegan bacon chopped into pieces, or chopped vegan sausages/burgers
* chopped into small pieces carrot smoky hot-dogs [delicious alternative to shop-bought veggie hot-dogs/sausages/bacon etc]
* smoked tofu sliced into pieces
* a small scoop of vegan sour cream/vegan mayonnaise
* a splodge of brown sauce/tomato ketchup
* a sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes
* pickled cabbage [dice and add as a garnish]
* pickled relish [such as Branston pickle]
* fresh herbs
* croutons [for an easy crouton recipe check out our cream of swede [rutabaga] soup]
* your favourite sandwich/filled roll or bap such as this classic vegan 'egg' and cress sandwich
* vegan cheese and crackers
* American biscuits
* plain British scones
* your favourite bread, especially toasted or grilled
* quick dinner rolls [just 3 ingredients]
* quick flat breads [just 3 ingredients]
* 100% wholewheat Irish soda bread
Adapt the recipe for your own preferences and requirements, as all good cooks do!
* the textured vegetable protein chunks/pieces can be replaced with any vegan meat-free alternative you wish either dried, fresh or frozen.
* Vegan sausages, burgers or meatballs can be sliced into smaller pieces and replace the TVP. It may be best to pre-cook vegan sausages etc before adding to the soup near the end of cooking, to preserve the texture and flavour.
* replace the TVP with a 400gram/14oz can of drained beans, or sliced large mushrooms or leave smaller mushrooms whole, or chopped pieces of seitan or tempeh.
* Instead of vegan margarine or butter to saute the veggies, replace with ½ cup of veggie stock
* Instead of fresh herbs use dried varieties
Simply ensure that your vegan stock is free from gluten-ingredients, and choose gluten-free Tamari soya sauce as opposed to regular soya sauce which tends to be prepared with wheat.
TVP is usually gluten-free but do check, and use a different gluten-free meat-free alternative if necessary.
Also ensure that if using vegan bacon and cheese that it is also free from gluten.
More Deliciously Easy Vegan Traditional Soup Recipes
Scottish Cullen Skink Soup [creamy potato and smoked tofu]
Mulligatawny Soup [fruity curried veggies with rice]
For another vegan adapted traditional Welsh recipe try a batch of these delicious Welsh Bakestone Cakes.
Vegan Traditional Welsh Cawl Soup
- Large Saucepan/Soup pan/Dutch oven pan
- 1 tablespoon vegan margarine or vegan butter/oil, optional can just use ½ cup of veggie stock, more if required
- 60 grams textured protein chunks [TVP] dried soya chunks, or similar such as soya curls or dried pea protein/fava protein chunks, or use about 150-200 grams fresh/frozen meat-free pieces [about 2 cups]
- 1 large onion [170 grams] sliced
- 2 large carrots thick sliced at an angle
- 2 large leeks [360 grams] weight is after trimming/ thick sliced
- ½ medium swede [270 grams] turnip/rutabaga sliced into thick chunks
- 3 medium potatoes [450 grams] sliced into thick chunks
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh thyme or dried thyme or dried mixed herbs
- 2 tablespoon soya sauce use Tamari if required to be gluten-free or less salt
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1.5 litres vegan stock hot, choose a vegan 'chicken' or 'beef' stock if available
Add at end of cooking
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 4 slices vegan bacon cooked according to package, sliced
- 3 tablespoons parsley chopped
To serve, optional: chunks of crusty bread, wedges of vegan cheese [such as Asda [UK] Free From chive and garlic cheddar alternative]
- Prepare the hot vegan stock and add the dried textured vegetable protein chunks to the stock to soak as the veggies are prepared.
- Melt a heaped tablespoon of vegan margarine or butter in a pan.
- Add the onion, carrot, turnip and potato chunks. Saute for 5 minutes. Pop a lid over the pan but leave a gap to allow steam to escape. Stir frequently.
- Add the leeks and garlic, stir well and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Pop in the bay leaf and sprig of thyme, or dried herbs. Pour in the two tablespoons of soya sauce, one tablespoon of white wine vinegar and vegan stock, including the TVP chunks.Add a few pinches of salt and pepper
- Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 35-45 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
While soup is cooking prepare the bread, vegan bacon, vegan cheese and fresh parsley, if having.
- Once the soup is ready season with one tablespoon of white wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve ladled into bowls and topped with fresh parsley and chopped vegan bacon. A few bits of vegan cheese crumbled over the soup is tasty. Or a sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes.And a few chunks of crusty bread to dunk in and soak up the veggie juices is always appreciated.
- Nutritional information is for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- Nutritional information does not include the 4 slices of frozen vegan bacon as this ingredient is optional and will vary.
- As this is a low calorie meal serving with chunks of crusty bread and vegan cheese helps bulk out the meal and calories.
- Store leftover Cawl soup in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Or freeze for 3-4 months.
- Reheat by gently bringing to the boil within a pan and simmer for 2-3 minutes until piping hot.
- Replace the TVP chunks with soya curls, sliced thick mushrooms or small whole mushrooms, tempeh, seitan, can of drained beans [400g/14oz], or any dried, fresh or frozen meat alternative.
- For gluten-free Cawl use a gluten-free stock/broth, gluten-free Tamari soya sauce, and a gluten-free meat alternative.
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