Need some tips for making winter soup this year? Soup is definitely a comforting and delicious food in the colder months. But if you’re trying to avoid artificial ingredients like MSG and excess sodium, many of the canned soups you find at your local grocery store might not be the best choice for you. Try these tips for making winter soup instead. This way, you can double or even triple your recipe, freeze extra portions, and have a homemade soup that’s much better than any canned variety.
1. Make Your Own Stock
One of the best tips for making winter soup is making your own stock. Stock gives soup a warm and rich body that pales in comparison to canned varieties. Stock is also really good for you! Because the bones cook for such a long time, they release lots of healthy calcium and nutrients from the bone marrow. Making your own stock is one of the easiest ways to take your soup to a new culinary level!
2. Buy Organic Broth/Stock
If you don’t have the time to make a huge batch of stock, take the time to buy organic broth or stock for your soup. Look for a brand that doesn’t include a ton of salt or nasty additives like MSG. The brand I buy is a low-sodium vegetable broth that literally includes water, the veggies used to create the broth, and sea salt. Broths shouldn’t be rocket science when it comes to making soup, but you’d be surprised how many nasty ingredients food companies try to sneak into their products.
3. Add Lots of Vitamin-Enhancing Veggies
Soup wouldn’t be soup without loads of veggies! Don’t only use basic veggies like carrots and celery. Get creative with your choice of veggies, adding peppers, mushrooms, even zucchini and squash. I know many people talk about the importance of eating your veggies raw, but some veggies like carrots actually yield a higher vitamin A content when they’re cooked on low heat for a long period of time. Cooking veggies can definitely be part of a healthy diet, so feel free to add as many as you like to your soups.
4. Tomato Paste is the Secret Ingredient for Many Soups
Ever wonder how so many broth-based soups get that deep red color? The answer is tomato paste. Tomato paste works wonders in many soup recipes, adding some body and thickness to the broth so it doesn’t seem so thin and watery. I even use tomato paste in my chicken noodle soup recipe. Start with one or two tablespoons and see how you like the color and taste. It’s almost impossible to go overboard with tomato paste in soup, but if you feel like that’s happening, just add a little more broth, stock, or water.
5. Give Your Soup Time to Simmer and Develop Flavor
Soup needs time for the flavors to amalgamate and come together. That’s part of why I like making my soups in a slow cooker or crock pot. This way, I can let the soup simmer without standing over a hot stove all day. This also gives me time to complete other tasks, errands, and chores I need to get done. If it’s one thing you change in your soup making habits, it’s giving your soup enough time to develop flavor.
6. Soups Can Easily Be Made Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Etc
Another great quality to soup is they can easily be made to suit a variety of diets and healthy eating plans. Sometimes a simple swap of veggie broth for chicken broth might be all you need to accommodate a family member, friend, or other guest that’s enjoying some of your soup.
7. Try Different Recipes from Different Cultures
Almost every culture has its own traditional soup recipes. From time to time, try a new recipe. This is a great way to keep you from getting bored or in a food rut, which can be conventional reasons for why people fall off the healthy eating wagon. Whether you like Ethiopian cuisine or Vietnamese cuisine, the choice is entirely yours.
Soup is definitely part of any healthy eating plan, especially during the winter. What are your favorite soups to make during this time of year?