Whether you’re a confident cook or a kitchen newbie, a little advice is always helpful. So, here I am with these need-to-know soup-making tips and techniques to make your soup healthy and nutritious. Soups make an excellent choice for snacking, a light dinner recipe or post workout meal. You can easily fit it in your meals in various ways.
Homemade Soup vs Packed Soups
Canned or dried instant soups contain lots of salt, hidden sugars, fillers, and preservatives to increase shelf life of the product. As with almost anything, home-made is better. Making your own soup takes time, but it gives you complete control over the ingredients and how you prepare them.
Know Your “Superfoods”
Superfoods are all around us but we seldom take note of them. Incorporating superfoods into your bowl of soup can load your meals with nutrition, antioxidant properties and low amount of calories. Some of the popular choices of super foods to consider are Moringa, Drumstick, Pumpkin, Barley, Bell pepper, Sprouted legumes and pulses, Broccoli, Mushroom, Spinach, Sweet Potato and all herbs and spices. Cinnamon, Cayenne peppers, Pepper, Rosemary, Oregano, Lemon grass, Basil, Thyme, Parsley are a boon for our digestive and Immune system.
How Do You Use Superfoods?
- Garlic is used widely as a flavouring in cooking soups, but also has been used as a medicine to treat various ailments. Add 5-6 peeled, cracked garlic cloves and cook, tossing them around occasionally, until they are golden brown.
- Basil is well known for its medicinal properties. The most commonly known pairing of basil is with tomato, broccoli, parsley, oregano, rosemary and thyme. The best way is to puree it into the soup.
- Oregano is an effective natural antibiotic and antifungal. It may also help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol levels. Half teaspoon is good to go.
- Rosemary/Thyme is traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote digestive health. 1 teaspoon is enough to avail its benefits.
- Cinnamon is one of the most delicious and healthiest spices on the planet. It can lower blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risk factors and has a plethora of other impressive health benefits. Add ½ teaspoon depending on the quantity of soup. Ceylon cinnamon is better quality.
- Vegetables are packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The recommended daily amount of vegetables for men is at least 3 cups a day and for women at least 2 1/2 cups. Adding them to soups increases the serving of vegetables in a diet. Steaming and boiling caused a 22% to 34 % loss of vitamin C. Pressure-cooked vegetables retain 90% of their vitamin C.
NOTE: Add fresh herbs towards the end as the flavour diminishes with heat.
Tips To Choose Your Ingredients
- Include seasonal Superfoods that are readily available in the market and your own kitchen. Refer to the above list.
- Good Fats: Choose fats that your body needs such as Virgin Coconut oil, homemade pure ghee and olive oil are preferable options to add taste and enhance absorption of fat soluble Vitamins from your vegetables.
- Right Base: In order to cut saturated fats like cream, you can replace your creamy base with vegetable broth, tomato puree, coconut milk, tomato puree or vegetable puree.
- Pick Seasonal Veggies: Pumpkin, tomato, spinach, onion, beetroot, moringa, mushroom, sweet potato, or mixing three or four vegetables not only enhances the taste but also increases the nutritive value. Garlic is common. Use whatever you like from what is available.
- Herbs & Spices: Sea salt and black peppers are your two most basic spices. You can experiment with various herbs as all are beneficial for your gut health. Popular flavour combinations are Basil and oregano pair well with tomato-based soups, Parsley, and rosemary go well with potato-based soups, Parsley and thyme are a nice addition to cream soups.
- New Age Superfoods: Handful of boiled barley, quinoa, oats, microgreens, boiled sprouts, Tofu, cooked lentils and legumes adds proteins as well as increases the satiety value and health quotient of the soup. They are perfect because it thickens the soup as it cooks; creating an irresistible, slightly sticky broth that coats your spoon beautifully.
Simple Technique To Cook Any Type Of Soup
- Take vegetables of your choice. Wash it and chop in big pieces.
- Take a pressure cooker and add 1 teaspoon of extra virgin or unrefined coconut oil/ olive oil. Add chopped vegetables and mix well.
- Add 1 glass of water and give a whistle.
- After cooling, separate vegetables from water (vegetable broth) and grind them with a handful of boiled quinoa/ sprouted dal or any other protein source to get a thick paste.
- Mix it again in the same vegetable broth and give it a boil adding sea salt and herbs at the end.
- Optional: add coconut milk to give a nice colour, pieces of tofu or beans/ bell peppers for crunchiness.
- Serve it hot! Your healthy protein rich, immunity boosting soup is ready!
That’s it! You can make any soup using the ingredients you have at hand with the flavours you prefer, without any recipe. Some examples of healthy soups are tomato basil soup, bell pepper soup, red pumpkin soup, broccoli soup, moringa soup and sprouted soup.
Do try your own variation and let us know your recipe in the comments below. You can find more articles on nutrition and superfoods here. You can also get these tips or recipes directly from a GOQii Coach by subscribing to Personalised Health Coaching here.