Warming and satisfying soups are the ultimate comfort food, they are a wonderful way to incorporate many nutritious and delicious ingredients into a single dish. They are also a great idea for a quick meal where you can use anything from your fridge or pantry.
They are present in different cuisines all around the world - Persian Ash Reshteh, Moroccan Harira,Italian Minestrone, Japanese Miso or Eastern European Borscht. Let me show you why it’s worth to incorporate more soups in your diet and share with you some tips on how to prepare a tasty heartsome soup.
Why should we eat more soups?
Soups provide many nutrients
The answer is simple - a variety of vegetable ingredients provide all the essential nutrients you need. Afterall, vegetables are the key to a healthy diet. You can "smuggle" everything you like into soups without worrying too much about the method of serving the individual ingredients, or whether the individual vegetables are beautiful. In cream soups, everything blends together anyway, so you don't have to worry, whether the vegetable is "nicely" and evenly cut, or grated on the same size ... In soups we can also bury ingredients that we do not like, and which contain valuable vitamins and minerals. This is especially true for children.
Soup a perfect way to hydrate our body
A lot of us don’t drink enough water during the day, soups contain about 90% water, as they are liquid based, they a great way to hydrate your body. In addition to providing us with a lot of nutrients, vitamins and minerals they also provide water from vegetables.
Soup for weight loss
Talk about multi-talented, soup can not only fuel, hydrate and repair, but can help you lose weight too. Pack as many vegetables in as you can, for filling fibre plus some protein, for a low calorie, satisfying and nutritious meal option.
Soups are a filling meal, and at the same time light, rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre, and with the addition of legumes will help to satisfy hunger for longer.
Soup is a sustainable meal
Preparing cream soups is also a great way to use leftovers or pieces of e.g. carrots, celery or withered parsley. How many vegetables can be saved from being thrown into the bin by making soup! So, you can say: soups versus food waste. If you must throw away some good but ugly vegetables, think about whether you can't make cream soup out of them.
Soup the easiest meal to cook
The big advantage of the soup is that anyone can cook it, regardless of their culinary skills. In this case good intentions are enough. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't take much time - you can prepare a soup from frozen vegetables in just few minutes
You know already why to eat soups, now let me share with you few tips how to do it
1. Prepare a good broth
A well-prepared broth is the key to success in every soup, so take care of its quality. Remember to cook vegetables for a long time and under cover - do not hurry and do not rush nature. It’s a good idea to freeze your broth for later (after reducing and evaporating part of the water) in an ice cubes tray.
If you don’t have time to make your own broth, you can buy salt-free vegetable broth or salt- free vegetable bouillon cubes.
2. Add umami flavour
It’s a secret ingredient that perfectly complements the meat deficiencies in your vegetable broth. This is the fifth, "tasty" salty element that gives a characteristic, deep aroma known from classic broths, which everyone likes. You will find it primarily in soy sauce. But in some soup recipes, miso paste or dried tomatoes will also work.
3. Thicken, thicken!
You don't really have to thicken with anything, because, for example, baked root vegetables alone will give you a nice consistency. You can also help with millet, an additional potato or even blended chickpeas. In the lighter version, nothing prevents you from using green peas or corn! For tomato cream soup you can use blended cashew nuts for the extra luxurious smoothness.
4. Don't be afraid of spices
Seasoning properly is critical for optimum flavour in all cooking but especially so in soup.
Things like pesto or harissa give a real flavour hit to soup, not to mention adding some textural variation.
Some chilli can do wonders to compliment the warming nature of soup. A little cumin or coriander or even curry powder can give an old favourite soup a new lease of life.
I love nutritional yeast in a soup for an extra cheese flavour.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your favourite spices and flavours. If you like spicy food go ahead and use more chili, if you are a fan of Italian flavours use more basil. Always adjust to your taste buds.
5. Cherry on the cake – soup toppings
Wholemeal bread croutons, fresh sprouts or simply toasted pumpkin seeds are a great addition to the soup: they will enrich it not only with taste, but also with a pleasant structure that will make it not just a mixed pulp. To boost the nutritional value of my soup I often prepare garlic ‘tofu croutons’ where I just marinate small cubes of tofu (similar size to a regular size croutons) with crushed garlic and then bake in the oven until they’re lightly brown.
Preparing the perfect cream soup does not have to be so difficult! I hope that when you additionally use the above tips - your soups will gain in taste and conquer the palates of loved ones.
Here is a recipe for a classic creamy tomato soup
Classic Tomato Soup
1 white Onion (Chopped)
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of Dried Basil
800g tin tomatoes (2 tins)
1 tablespoons of white sugar
2 Large Potatoes (or 3 medium 600g)
500 ml Vegetable Stock
Fresh Basil (for serving)
Fry onion and soften for about five to seven minutes, until translucent but not coloured. Stir in the garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add basil and oregano.
Add the tomatoes and potatoes chopped into small cubes.
Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Leave until all the ingredients are soft and cooked (around 30 minutes).
Using an immersion (handheld) blender, blend into a smooth soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, then transfer to a blender jug and blend it up in stages and return to the pot.
Serve with fresh basil on the top