There’s nothing like a warm, delicious bowl of soup on a chilly day…or on any day for that matter! For someone on a plant-based journey, soup is an amazing, healthy meal that is simple to prepare. Soup has an endless variety of flavors, textures, and nutritional richness, making it hard not to find a soup that you love!
I have eliminated both refined sugars and oils from my diet, so I especially enjoy making my soup at home to ensure that I’m eating simple meals comprised of whole foods. It often becomes an exercise of creativity because I’ll throw in any veggie I’ve got in the fridge regardless of what the recipe calls for.
Here are 3 tips to remember when making homemade soup:
Broth is the Boss
The foundation of almost every good soup is a flavorful broth or stock. You can easily purchase low-sodium vegetable broth from the store, but if you’d like, you can easily make your own! If time allows, I always try to make homemade vegetable broth using whole-food ingredients because it allows me to control both the quality and the sodium levels. As someone who is prioritizing lessening my sodium intake, this is a really awesome option for me! Not to mention, making broth is a resourceful way to use any scraps and peels from your veggies or vegetables that are blemished or going bad. (It is important to note that you should avoid using potato peels, onion skins, or any scraps that would discolor the broth). To make, combine all of the veggie scraps and peels, add your favorite herbs and spices, and simmer for 1-2 hours. Afterward, simply strain the broth and compost the remaining solids.
The best thing about vegetable broth is that it can be used for much more than just soup. In fact, it is a staple ingredient in a whole-foods, plant-based diet. Vegetable broth can also be used to sauté or roast vegetables, which gives them added flavor and juiciness. I never use oil for sautéing – my go-to is veggie stock or water. Remember – if you are in a pinch or prefer to purchase vegetable broth from the store (no judgment!), opt for an organic, low-sodium variety without added oil.
You Can Still Enjoy Creamy Soup Without Using Cream
People often assume that you can’t enjoy creamy foods on a plant-based diet since they typically use dairy products to create that appealing texture. That’s definitely not the case! Did you know that beans, well-cooked starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes or white potatoes, non-dairy milk, or a few soaked nuts can give your soup a creamy consistency? Simply blend the ingredients in a high-speed blender and add to your soup!
Sauté Your Aromatics First
Although you can simmer aromatics directly in your soup, sautéing aromatic vegetables such as garlic and onions can drastically enhance the flavor of your soup. Sautéing softens the texture of the aromatics to help avoid having unwanted crunchy elements in your soup. It also elevates the soup’s overall flavor.