home.health.love

A balanced and easy approach to healthy living.

Quick and Easy Winter Soups

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Carrot and celery root soup

Carrot and celery root soup

Soups are one of the most nourishing foods during winter time. You can make them in 30 minutes or less, with just about 10 minutes of hands-on time. They are also the most forgiving type of food you can make: you can overcook them, and it’s no big deal; you don’t need to cut up all the ingredients in perfectly-sized portions; and, bottom line, unless you over-salt, it’s hard to go wrong. Plus, they refrigerate well, so one batch will last a few days or more. Added bonus: thicker soups work well as baby food!

If you have a few soups you can make in under 30 minutes, then you are good for the whole winter.

I wasn’t into making soups until I attended a cooking demo by a healthy-food chef and realized how easy they were to make. Until then I had been intimated by the whole process. So, what I hope to do is to de-mistify soup-making for you. I also want to give you some ideas for ingredients, and most of all: provide you with a “template” for making all sorts of creamy, vegetarian soups. I say “template” and not “recipe,” because a template gives you lots of flexibility and encourages you to experiment. With the template, below, you can vary the ingredients, but the steps are more or less the same! This means that you no longer have to spend time searching and following recipes. Once you get the hang of using this template, the whole process will become second nature to you.

NOTE: A major time-saver for making soups is using store-bought stock. Making your own is great, but it takes a while and needs to be done ahead of time. I’d never make soups if I had to make my own stock every time. Instead, I use Pacific’s organic, low-sodium vegetable stock. It comes in 1-quart cartons, and I keep at least 3 in my pantry at all times. I prefer Pacific over other brands because every single ingredient in the Pacific stock is either water, a vegetable, herb, or sea salt. Other brands have additives in them. Pacific broth is available in most supermarkets.

Quick and Easy Winter Soup Template

Equipment:

Pot (6 quarts or more)

Immersion blender (I have something similar to this)

Ingredients:

Olive oil

Aromatics (onion, leek, and/or garlic; chopped)

Vegetable # 1 (one root, squash, or cruciferous vegetable; chopped)

Vegetable # 2 (another root, squash or cruciferous vegetable; chopped) (optional)

Leafy Green (kale, spinach, collards, chard, etc.; chopped) OR fresh herb (parsley, dill, etc.; minced) (optional)

Salt and pepper (along with other optional spices: cumin, coriander, turmeric, etc.)

Vegetable stock (4-6 cups home-made or one box store-bought plus water)

Preparation:

  1. Sauté aromatic (onion or leek) in a few tablespoons of olive oil for 5 minutes on medium heat. If adding garlic (I usually do, because of it’s immune-boosting properties), then add it when you have 2-3 minutes left of sautéing.
  2. If using flavorful spices other than salt and pepper, add them while sautéing oinions. Think: cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, a dash of cayenne, etc.
  3. Add Vegetable # 1 and Vegetable 2, if using second vegetable.
  4. Add 1 quart of vegetable stock (one store-bought container) to cover vegetables. If there is not enough stock to cover vegetables, then add additional stock or water. (I often add water so I don’t have to open another container of broth).
  5. Bring soup to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables are soft enough to purée.
  6. If adding leafy green or fresh herb, add to top of pot at the end of cooking time, and let it steam for a a few minutes on top of other vegetables. Do not mix in. This way, you are not over-cooking it and destroying valuable nutrients. It will turn a bright green color when ready.
  7. Use immersion blender to purée soup. Add salt and pepper, and adjust other spices, to taste. Add stock for desired consistency.

NOTE: if making baby food, you should err on the side of less stock so it’s not too thin. You can use one pot to make both baby food and soup. Simply, make soup using less stock and purée until you reach desired baby-food consistency. Then, remove a portion enough for baby. Finally, add more stock to put and purée until desired consistency has been achieved for rest of family.

Ideas for Soup Ingredients

Below are some ideas for soup ingredients that you can use with the above template. This is my personal repertoire of soups: easy-to-find ingredients, tasty, and affordable in the organic versions. You can follow my suggestions, or use them as inspiration for your own recipes.

For a nicely formatted pdf of the table below, click here: Soup Ingredients

Aromatic
(I add garlic to everything)
Veggie #1 Veggie #2 Leafy Green or Fresh Herb Spices/ other (use salt and pepper for all)
Leek
(2-3 stalks)
Potato
(approx. 2 lbs)
Parsley and/or chives
Leek
(2-3 stalks)
Cauliflower
(1 large head)
Parsley and/or chives
Onion
(1 large)
Cauliflower
(1 large head)
Kale, chard, or spinach (I bunch or a few handfuls) dry white wine (I cup) (optional)
Onion
(1 large)
Butternut Squash (approx. 3 lbs.) 1-2 tart apples (optional)
Onion (optional) Carrot
(approx. 2 lbs)
Celery Root
(1 large root)
Cumin, coriander OR few tbs’s sherry
Onion (optional) Carrot
(approx. 2 lbs)
Ginger
(2 tsps. or to taste)
Onion Carrot
(approx. 1 lb)
Yam
(approx. 1 lb)
Cumin, coriander

I’d love to hear about your favorite, go-to soup recipes; please share in the comments!

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