‘Vintage’ Oatmeal Soup

A bowl of oatmeal soup and a recipe book

My latest soup has a vintage twist. The recipe comes from my family heirloom – the Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes Cookery Book! This was oringinally my Mum’s – given to her in the 1950s when she worked for the printer. It was really popular at the time and getting a copy was considered a real treat. I remember it from my childhood. It’s filled with notes, mainly made by my Gran, and has been used to store all sorts of other recipes too.

The original recipe book

The book itself is really interesting with all sorts of mottos and guidance throughout. For example, the section on soup provides this gem:

'Let plain living and high thinking go hand in hand.'

In some ways this recipe book is completely different from the glossy publications we now see. There are no pictures and the recipes are really short and to the point with no wasted space at all. On the other hand, many of the recipes are things that we could see on a menu today: fresh green pea soufflé, risotto and almond tartlets all sound rather nice.

When I turned to the soup section for inspiration I was pleasantly surprised by the number of recipes that didn’t contain meat. I opted for the oatmeal soup just beacuse it seemed quite unusual.

I don’t remember ever having had oatmeal soup before and didn’t really know how it was going to turn out. In reality, the use of oatmeal is just like any other nutritious thickener like lentils or beans and I will continue to use it in that way from now on. The version in the photograph is actually my second attempt. My first attempt was a bit too thick – the oatmeal just kept expanding! That said, it was really tasty so I wanted to make sure I didn’t do it a disservice.

I took a photograph of the ingredients I used for my second attempt. The soup spoon is for scale. I’m not very good with imperial measurements (I think in metric) so just used a handful of oatmeal. The portion shown below included the oatmeal I toasted. I used half a litre of stock and that provided two bowls of very filling soup. What great value!

The main ingredients and a spoon for scale

‘Vintage’ Oatmeal Soup

Serves 2

Difficulty Easy

Suitable for Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten Free diets


  • 1 good sized onion
  • A little carrot, turnip and leek cut into small pieces
  • 1 oz medium oatmeal
  • 1 pint stock
  • 3/4 pint milk
  • Seasoning
  • Chopped parsley


  1. Put the vegetables in a pan with a little fat and toss them in it until they are clear or sweated, put on the lid and steam for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add the oatmeal and fry with the vegetables for a few minutes, then add the stock and simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. After the soup is cooked add the seasoning and parsley.
  4. Just before dishing add the milk, reheat the soup and serve.

My adaptations

The recipe above is the original one. I made the following adaptations so that it was suitable for Vegetarian and Vegan diets.

  • I used rapeseed oil instead of fat
  • I used a handful of oatmeal
  • My half a litre of stock was made from Kallø organic vegetable stock cube
  • I did use oat milk for my first attempt but felt it didn’t need it at all as the oatmeal produces a naturally creamy taste on its own. I swirled a teaspoon of Oatly single cream through my second attempt just before serving and felt that was enough.
  • Although it suggests seasoning, I didn’t add any. The stock provided enough flavour.
  • I didn’t simmer for anything like 45 minutes. Everything was good to go after 15 minutes (if that).
  • I added toasted oatmeal for some extra crunch.

Would I have this again? Most definitely. So easy to make, very filling, great for using up bits of leftover veg and really inexpensive.


Val x

6 thoughts on “‘Vintage’ Oatmeal Soup

  1. Great to see the book still in use! I would never, in my wildest dreams in the 1950’s, have pictured it being on the internet. Feeling very nostalgic.
    Some of the other recipes on the same page are also worth a look.


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