Soup it Up
Fall's Versatile Meal
As the air turns crisp and the trees don shades of gold and orange, warm comforting meals are made for the season. Just as berries refresh on a hot summer day, homemade soup warms and fuels your body on a crisp fall evening.
Soups can be simple or complex, creamy or clear, savory or sweet. Soup recipes are incredibly versatile and can be adapted based on what you have on hand or what you find at your local farmers’ market.
Here are some tips for making a simple soup into a hearty meal:
• Add lentils or beans for extra iron, protein, and fiber. Puree white beans into creamy soups for a delightfully thick texture without cream.
• Serve soup over a hearty grain like bulgur wheat, brown rice or farro (an ancient, healthy grain available at your health food or specialty store) for a satisfying meal.
• Add pureed or finely chopped greens or other veggies to create a thicker base and increase the nutritional value of your soup.
• Serve soup with warm bread or in a bread bowl for a truly soul-satisfying meal.
• Consider creating a “panade” or baked soup with leftover creamy soup to create a completely new meal! Toast and tear a few slices of bread into pieces and place into a lightly-oiled casserole or gratin dish. Pour the leftover soup over the top and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top.
I created this “Something-Out-of-Nothing Broccoli Soup” on an evening when I was craving comfort food but hadn’t been to the grocery store. I rummaged around in the fridge and created this beautiful soup out of just a few basic ingredients.
Something-Out-of-Nothing Broccoli Soup - Serves about 4
2 C plain soymilk
2 bay leaves
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
Fresh cracked pepper
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 T olive oil
2 C of water
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 lg. pkg. frozen broccoli (or 1 bunch fresh)
1 15 oz. can cannellini or other white beans, thoroughly rinsed
Place the unpeeled garlic cloves on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Loosely wrap the garlic in the foil and place on a tray in a toaster oven (or regular oven) heated to 350°. Roast until fragrant and soft, about 20-30 minutes. While the garlic is roasting, combine the soymilk, bay leaves, thyme and pepper in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. When the milk reaches a simmer, add the water, salt, onion, celery, broccoli and beans. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and cook until the broccoli is tender.
When the garlic is ready, pour off the olive oil into the soup. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their peel into the soup. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Puree the soup with a stick blender (or in a blender, in batches) until smooth-ish (not completely smooth- leave it a little chunky). Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
Remember, where soup is concerned, the possibilities are endless…Bon Apetit!
Mother of two, writer, vegetarian and aspiring triathlete
Recommended: Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen by Deborah Madison
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