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A hearty, healthy soup recipe for all the family to enjoy

healthy soup

Naomi Moriyama shares her delicious Japanese-inspired soup – a healthy meal that children and adults will love.

Japanese Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Bean and Tomato Soup

This hearty stew–soup can be served as a stand-alone meal. It is naturally sweet, thanks to all the sweet vegetables in it. Since the vegetables are chopped small, children will enjoy many different flavours and textures in each mouthful. Serves 4.


100g/4oz pearl barley

2 tbsp rapeseed, grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stick, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

180g (6 ¼ oz) Japanese sweet potato (bushbok, white flesh, kumara, or regular sweet potato), peeled and cut into 1cm (½ in) cubes

180g (6 ½ oz) kabocha squash or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1cm (½ in) cubes with skin

1 litre (1 ¾ pints) light, low-sodium chicken stock with a good dash of soy sauce

2 × 400g (14oz) cans chopped tomatoes, or 800g (1lb 12oz)

tomatoes, chopped

175g (6oz) tomato purée

400g (14oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 large handful fresh flat-leafed parsley, leaves chopped

4 tbsp chopped fresh basil


  1. Cook the barley in a pan of boiling water for 30 minutes, or according to the package instructions, until tender. Drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole or ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic, and cook for 5–7 minutes until the onions and celery are translucent to light brown.
  2. Add the sweet potato and squash, and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the light chicken stock (with a dash of soy sauce), tomatoes, tomato purée and beans, and bring to the boil. Cover and put in the oven for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the cooked barley. Stir in the parsley and basil, and simmer for 2 minutes, before serving.

For more great recipes and advice on how to get your children to embrace a more active lifestyle, read Secrets of the World’s Healthiest Children by Naomi Moriyama and William Doyle.