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Building Blocks for Healthy Soups

Healthy soup is the ultimate nourishing and warming meal.

I love making soups from scratch, and I now consider myself a freestyle cook when making many dishes. It is the way I create.

That is not always the way I cooked. Trust me; I need recipes and, in the past, followed them a lot more closely. Though my daughter, who is an artist, often reminds me she likes to follow recipes and that is her preferred cooking style.

We are all individuals and have different levels of comfort, wants, and needs in the kitchen. I wanted to share a few tools I have learned along the way to making excellent soups from scratch.

Few meals can satisfy us more than a bowl of homemade soup. Soups are like a soul hug. Making homemade, healthy soup is not difficult and can feed you for days.

When it comes to making a healthy soup, you will first need a base. There are many varieties of ways to create, but I like simplicity, and simplistic tips in the kitchen are what I love to share.

For Making 8 Servings of Soup:

1. Homebase: Firstly, a typical base used for soup is called a mirepoix. A traditional French Mirepoix is a flavor base made from diced onions, carrots, and celery usually cooked with oil, butter (I prefer Ghee (link a definition) or other fat—for a long time on low heat without coloring or browning. To

make this, use two parts onions to one-part carrots and celery. So, for eight cups, use one onion (2 cups), two carrots (1 cup), and three celery (1 cup). I then like to add a little salt. You want these vegetables to be fragrant, soft, and translucent. There are variations of the French Mirepoix for different cultured cooking, such as the Italian Soffritto, which uses minced instead of diced, uses olive oil and instead of another fat, and cooks the vegetables until they are soft and brown. Another fun one is the Cajun Holy Trinity consisting of onion, green pepper, and celery.

2. Second Base: Spices and Herbs: The second building block to your soup is six cloves of garlic, a few peppercorns, and spices. A perfect simple seasoning for soup is Thyme. I also like to use mixes of Thyme, Sage, and Rosemary for chicken soup. For a Butternut Squash Soup, I love the combination of cardamon, oregano, and cumin. Typically for soups, I recommend using one teaspoon of each seasoning. Though, this decision is ultimately based on your taste. After trying out a few recipes you will start to get a sense of what spices you like, and how many herbs and spices to use for different soups.

3. Add in Protein, Veggies, and Grains: Next, don’t be afraid to try combinations that you like in your soup. We can use the same formula as the building block for how much of what to put in. I generally put in 2 parts of vegetables from the cabbage family (cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower), 1/2 part of root vegetables like daikon radishes, celery roots, carrots, and rutabaga, 1 1/2-part protein such as beans or chicken. Most of the time, I don’t use a lot of grain in my soups. That is a personal preference, but wild rice or quinoa are great options. For me, each soup recipe is a little different, but I will get inspiration from recipes, and depending on what I have on hand, sometimes will determine what I use or don’t use. I love tomatoes, which are a great addition to many soups. Fresh, freshly canned, and tomatoes in jars or cartons are all great add-ins to your soup. One cup of tomatoes is a great place to start. You can also use about 6 ounces of tomato paste.

4. Top it off with Stock: The next step is to add in your bone broth or stock. Typically, about 2 quarts- but this also comes back to one’s personal taste on how thick or thin you want your soup. I typically always

use some stock or bone broth.

5.The End: But wait, there’s more: Want a creamier soup? You can use coconut milk to do this by adding it in at the end and heating it through. Another option is to use an immersion blender to blend the soup. Want your soup thicker? Trying to add in pureed winter squash. Sometimes I will take a cup of soup, blend or puree it, and put it back in the soup for some extra consistency and flavor.

Another tip: Depending on what soup I’m making; I also like to add in 1 to 2 cups of leafy greens. Extra nutrients are always a good thing, and this is an easy way to sneak some extra nutrients into meals.

If you’re in the Springfield, MO area and are wanting homemade healthy soups and meals, but don’t have time to make them, check out Homemade Delivered.

Kitchen tools that you will need to prepare a soup:

A good size pot (NO NON-STICK COATINGS)

A good sharp knife

A good wooden spoon

A wooden cutting board

Check out Here (kitchen Setup handout) to learn more basic tools

Enjoy a warm, nourishing bowl of soup this week!

Become a part of a community and discover more helpful and simplistic tips in the kitchen by becoming a Kitchen Therapy member!

Brandy Hickman, NBHWC

Brandy Hickman, Inspired Nutrition and Health Coach, leads sessions with authenticity and speaks from the heart. She shares her passions for mindfulness and spiritual connection in all aspects of life, from our food to our thoughts to our relationships.

Brandy helps women discover if their plates are too full OR just filled with things that don’t nurture, bring joy, and inspire them. She challenges women to have a different mindset and think differently about doing less and having more.


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