It starts with the base to the soup. My favorites for making a homemade base which I often do, because they are THAT good, come from The Moosewood Cookbook. I have a few, but the best for soup recipes is Moosewood Restaurant Daily Specials – only soups, salads, and breads. Each recipe has suggested combinations with a salad and a bread. The soup base or broth recipes are just as good as the full soup recipes themselves. If I am really looking to make my life easy, I skip making the broth and use V8 juice (usually a spicy version).
Simply pour some oil – a tablespoon or 2 into a soup pot, sauté your hard to cook vegetables like carrots, onions, celery, and add garlic at this time as well. Then, the other veggies like mushrooms (I almost always add, just because they are so flavorful), green beans and zucchini. I then add canned tomatoes (in their liquid), the V8, and if I want a less tomato-ish sauce, some broth made with a powder I buy in bulk – any broth you favor will do. Once things get to simmering, I’ll add sliced cabbage, kale, spinach or chard.
Once all the veggies are cooked, you can add pre- cooked beans, rice, pasta, or other grains and proteins. Once I make this very veggie base, I change it up throughout the week, depending on my mood. When I heat up a meal, I can add frozen corn, cumin, chili pepper, and a tsp. of lime and broken tortilla chips to make a southwestern soup. I can add some basil, pasta and kidney beans with a sprinkle of parmesan for minestrone. I can add chili beans, chili pepper, some fake meat, rice and shredded cheddar cheese for a bowl of chili.
All of the goodness of the vegetables as they cooked stays right there in the pot. All the delicious flavors mingle and meld. The warmth of a bowl of soup can create a filling, low calorie, very healthy meal. You don’t have to worry about whether you are getting this vegetable or that – they’re all right there!
What kind of soup will you try this week?