When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than soup to warm you up on the inside. Most soups are easy to make and don’t require any fancy equipment other than a big pot. Once you learn a few basic steps, it’s easy to make soups that are packed full of nutrition AND flavor.
How do you make soups that are both nutritious and delicious? By simmering vegetables, broths, and herbs together, you can create lots of flavor without adding much fat or salt.
Most soups start by sautéing flavorful vegetables such as onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sautéing means cooking in a small amount of oil in a hot pan or pot. Sautéing softens veggies and brings out their sweet and savory flavors. After that, add a soup base, such as vegetable broth, tomatoes, or even just water. Finally, add your other ingredients to cook in the liquid base:
- Beans and lentils are a great protein source for soups at a low cost. (Use dry lentils in Lentil, Mushroom and Swiss Chard Soup and canned kidney beans in the Quick Minestrone Soup.)
- You can also add meat like chicken (Chicken Vegetable Tortilla Soup), ground beef, sausage, or ground turkey for example.
- Some soups also have a grain added that cooks in the soup like barley (Vegetable Barley Soup), rice, or small pasta.
- Add your favorite vegetables, such as carrots (Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup), peppers, sweet potatoes (Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup), butternut squash (Winter Harvest Soup), greens like kale, green beans, or zucchini to name a few, and have a meal ready in little time.
You can use fresh, canned, or frozen vegetables in your soup. Just make sure to use low sodium canned vegetables when choosing canned, and if you cannot find that type, rinse your canned vegetables before adding them to your soup. To make your soup thicker and creamy, you can blend it like the recipe for Cream of Cauliflower Soup. As the soup simmers, the flavors combine and blend. Add some herbs and spices and you have yourself a soup!
Use soup as a time saver for meals. Make a pot of your family’s favorite soup over the weekend. Serve during the week for a quick evening meal, or take it for lunch. Add a salad and whole wheat bread to complete the meal. Freeze the leftovers for use later. Let the soup cool completely before freezing in a freezer safe container. Move to the fridge to thaw the night before and reheat it on your stove or in your microwave.