As we’ve recently seen acknowledged everywhere in the world of diet and nutrition, including with the recent change from the “food pyramid” to the “food plate,” vegetables are, ideally, a key foundation to our diet.
For those who aren’t big fans of vegetables, however, getting enough of them can be an ongoing challenge. This is where soup can become a good friend to the vegetable-averse: for many, it’s a much tastier and more satisfying way to keep vegetables an ongoing part of our diet conversation.
But this is where I need to inform you that “soup” doesn’t equal “instant soup.” Ridiculously cheap ramen or Lipton instant mixes offer calories, but hardly anything in the way of nutrition. Real, quality soup is best left for you to make yourself, as opposed to relying on pre-made versions.
Part of my mission is to encourage and I even go to recommend going on low carb diet as a way to avoid or reduce you intake of refined sugars, refined flours and unnecessary chemical additives, some of which can be found in instant or pre-made soups to take the most out of your self-made nutritious soup.
The best way to meet your cooking-soup-at-home needs is to have a well-stocked pantry. Once you do, you’ll find that little is required of you to make a decent soup. Here’s a list of soup fundamentals that are great to have on hand, both in your pantry, and in your fridge:
Cans of diced tomatoes
Cannellini or kidney beans
Vegetable stock (or, to save money, vegetable bouillon)
Now I’ll be the first to acknowledge that these lists could be much longer, depending on the variety of your palette and willingness to throw everything in together. But for any given soup dish, you really only need a handful of items (the ones in bold are particularly solid staples).
For example, a classic vegetarian vegetable soup essentially involves mixing together onion, garlic, canned tomatoes, cabbage, possibly rice, and some spices.
The time spent is mainly in the preparation, which shouldn’t be more than 10 minutes, and will go something like this: chop onions, garlic, and cabbage. Sauté onions in oil for about 2-3 minutes, add garlic, stir for another ½ minute to minute, and then add vegetable stock (or bouillon cube), water, canned tomatoes, and spices. Stir and bring to boil, then turn heat down to low and leave covered for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on recipe size and whether or not you add rice. For specifics, just follow the direction for a basic vegetable soup recipe online that uses onion, garlic, and vegetable soup stock as its base.
The point is: keep these ingredients on hand, and you’re never more than an hour away from a solid, satisfying, homemade soup. And once it’s done, you’ll have leftovers for a week. And that is a great way to keep those vegetables coming, even if you’re not a fan.