For wellness bloggers, smoothies are all the rage. And for good reason. They are a quick and easy way to pack a ton of nutrient density into a portable meal. And if you look past the tendency for green smoothies to spill in your car or all over your work shirt, I have no complaints.
But I am convinced that the the notion of the smoothie as a year-round breakfast solution must have come from California-based health bloggers. This morning I woke up to snow waist deep. In these frigid conditions, the last thing I want to do is drink an icy beverage. Without my go-to breakfast, though, I’m a little lost in the winter.
Here’s my latest solution - as an alternative to the breakfast smoothie, I am turning to winter’s smoothie, a bowl of soup.
Soup offers the same benefits that smoothies do, except it is delivered in a warm package.
Soups pack in a ton of fiber and offer a diversity of plants and spices.
Unlike the smoothie (which appears to be a modern invention), soups have a rich culinary history. You can find delicious and nutritious soups from every culture, keeping our options endless depending on your personal taste and nutrition needs.
Soup is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s easy to make giant batches of soup and eat it for leftovers the rest of the week. Even better is freezing half the soup, so that your freezer is suddenly full of pre-made meals that you can thaw whenever you don’t feel like cooking.
Here are some core tenets of good soup making:
The stock makes the soup. It’s totally fine to use water or store-bought stock in a pinch but learning to make your own homemade stock is a skill worth developing. The flavor and nutritional value of homemade stock is hard to beat. Vegetarian stock: Rebecca Katz’s Magic Mineral Broth and a more basic recipe here . Chicken stock: Here are a few basic chicken stock recipes : old-fashioned chicken stock by Rebecca Katz, Serious Eats’ basic chicken stock, and a medicinal ginger, chicken stock. Also here is an in-depth nutritionally-focused guide by Chris Kresser.
When in doubt start with mirepoix. Every soup begins with some kind of aromatic base, the most common being the French mirepoix (combination of 2 parts onions, 1 part celery, and 1 part carrots). If you are not sure where to begin, start with a mirepoix by sauteing onions, carrots, and celery in butter or olive oil until tender. From here, you can easily build the rest of the soup.
To make your soup tasty remember FASS (credit: Rebecca Katz), which stands for Fat, Acid, Salt, Sweet. Good flavor comes from the right proportion of these elements. If you’re soup is not tasting amazing, go back to FASS and add more of the element you think may be missing. Rinse and repeat until it tastes right. For example, soup is often under-salted. If the salt is right but it still doesn’t taste great, you may need more acid. In this case, squeeze a little lemon juice or toss in some apple cider vinegar. If it’s still not right, perhaps you need a little sweet and you can pour in a tablespoon of maple syrup. For fat, coconut milk, extra olive oil are all good options.
Make huge batches. This makes the effort of soup-making worthwhile and ensures you’ll have healthy food for days, weeks, and months (if you’re freezing) to come.
How to make it a habit:
In my house, my partner and I both agree to make 1 soup a week. This leads to lots of leftovers and diversity of options, without a ton of effort.
Get your stock routine down. Start saving scraps of meat bones, and veggie scraps (onion peels, ends of celery and carrots, ends of herbs) in a stock bag in the freezer. About twice a month, make stock and freeze any that you aren’t going to use within the week.
Keep a list of your favorite soup recipes handy. When inspiration runs dry, you can always reference your list.
To freshen up leftover soups, garnish soups with fresh herbs, like parsley or cilantro.
My Favorite Soup Recipes to get you started:
“Clean out the fridge soup” - great basic recipe that helps you make use of the ingredients you already have
Butternut Squash Coconut Curry Soup: This is the best soup I’ve ever made. Try it!
New York Times list of favorite weeknight soups
Clean Soups by Rebecca Katz - Rebecca Katz is the queen of healthy and delicious soup. She compiled an incredible book on soup making. If you want to go all in and become a soup expert, buy this book.
Teach yourself to make amazing soups with these two basic soup-making resources:
Samin Nosrat’s NYtimes Soup Guide
Watch Rebecca Katz’s free series “Soup Sessions” to learn the basics of soup making :
What are your favorite soups? Feel free to post below :)