Tasty plant-based soups that can be used straight from the pack

Shelf Help: New range from Stephen McAllister and Andrea Hussey includes a Thai-style sweet potato and coconut soup with crunchy chickpeas

What is it? Hug Sweet Potato and Coconut soup (€5.95, 400g). A Thai-style soup with crunchy chickpeas and lemon grass.

What’s good about it? It is one of a range of five organic, plant-based soups created by chef Stephen McAllister, who you might know from The Restaurant television show, and his wife and business partner, Andrea Hussey (together with their friends Eric Scott and Gillian Nevin) for their new brand, Hug Foods. McAllister and Hussey own The Pig’s Ear and Spitalfields restaurants in Dublin.

The soups, which don’t contain any additives or preservatives, do not need to be kept in a fridge and you can heat them up in their pouch in a microwave, or decant into a pot.

McAllister has brought his experience as a chef to the creation of the recipes for the range. They have a test kitchen and HQ in Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow, but the soups are made in the Netherlands.


How do I use it? You can use it straight from the pack, which contains two small or one large portion, and you can also add extra protein or carbs for a more substantial meal. There are suggestions from chef McAllister on each pack for additions that will work well. The Sweet Potato and Coconut one I tried was very tasty and packed with slightly crunchy chickpeas, and the suggested addition of prawns or tofu would have turned it from a lunch into a dinner.

Where can I buy it? Online at lovehugfoods.com, as well as Lotts & Co in Dublin 3, 4 and 6W; Barnhill Stores in Dalkey; Eleven Deli in Greystones and Killinary; FX Buckley, Pembroke Street; and the Stable Yard Deli in Waterford.

Anything else? McAllister also did the colourful artwork for the packaging.

Send your Shelf Help product suggestions to marieclaire.digby@irishtimes.com