It’s the ideal meal in a bowl. Whip some up with the Simple Artisan Herb Bread ( November 17, 2012 post) or Chapati’s (July 26, 2011 post), for a simple hearty winter meal. Why not since we’re settled in for a long winter and temperatures are dipping down below 20 degrees F.? Here is what I stock up on to stir up a pot of soup on a whim. With a few key ingredients on hand and a little creativity, you can cook up a savory pot in no time.
left to right top row; Thick Tuscan Bean and Kale Soup, Chicken Curry Noodle Bowl
bottom row; Bok Choy Tofu Noodle Bowl, Homemade Chicken Stock
Dried beans; favorites are all kinds of lentils, split peas, white beans, black beans, adzuki beans, and kidney beans. They are healthy sources of protein combined with whole grains and can give a creamy body to a pot of soup.
Whole Grains especially barley and rice bring body to your soup as well as added nutrients and fiber.
Canned beans: I like to have some handy for a quick put together soup. Make sure you read labels on canned beans. The shorter list of ingredients the better and no added sugar.
Fresh… Garlic, Ginger, Onions, Celery and Carrots and frozen peas (for starters). Saute your veggies to get the best flavor out of them. Depending on the theme of the soup, sometimes I add frozen peas for a pop of color right before serving.
Canned diced tomatoes
Small Pasta’s, large pasta’s don’t fit on a spoon too well, with the exception of Udon and Soba noodles that I use for Asian Noodle Bowls. I use pasta interchangeably with whole grains.
Packaged Broth varieties; While there are many great “boxed broths” out there, if you are vegan, I recommend “Imagine brand” Not Chicken Broth. Also look for the Rapunzel brand of Vegetable Broth bullion.
Homemade broth; save trimmings of fresh veggies in the freezer. When you’ve collected a good amount, make your own flavorful stock. When you roast a chicken make the best use out of the carcass by simmering it with bay leaves and other herbs to create an aromatic rich broth. It stores well in the freezer also.
Other Proteins; leftover cooked chicken, turkey or beef make a welcome addition to a homemade soup and tofu is a wonderful addition to curries, miso soups and noodle bowls.
Coconut milk; for Thai inspired soups
Kombu seaweed; I use this flavor enhancer to cook with beans. It allows beans to get soft sooner, and helps the body to digest legumes. It typically dissolves in bean soups after a while of simmering on the stove, making a beneficial impact without being noticeable.
Dried shitake mushrooms; they keep well, support kidney function and add so much flavor and texture to soups. I especially love them in noodle bowls.
Dried and fresh herbs and spices; bay leaves, basil, cumin, curry and chili powder, parsley, oregano, rosemary, thyme, turmeric are good for starters.
Tamari; a naturally brewed soy sauce
Miso; A fermented soybean paste that boasts beneficial enzymes for digestion. Always add at the end of cooking and never boil or probiotic enzymes will be destroyed. I keep white (rice) miso and barley miso on hand. White miso has been fermented for only 6 months and has a sweeter flavor than the more beneficial long time fermented barley miso of 3 years.
Tips: If you are a beginner soup-ster, keep it simple…less is more. Choose a “flavor theme” and stay with it. Often when making soup from scratch, without a recipe, people make the mistake of always trying to improve the flavor by adding more ingredients. The result being poor flavor rather than more flavor. Beware of over-salting for more flavor. Sometimes all a soup needs is to add a squirt of lime juice to make the flavor sing or chopped fresh herbs as a garnish.
mmmmm fragrant yummy soup. Comfort in a bowl.
Please comment on your favorite soup ingredients.
Thanks for stopping!