How to Cook Vegetable Soups: Beginners Guide
Welcoming the coziness of the autumn and winter seasons as the temperature plummets outside may unfortunately be welcoming the annual spell of cold/flu as well. This year, wipe away your runny nose and take a sip of a hearty vegetable broth, a world-renowned remedy to keep you warm and ailment-free…your Grandmother was right all those years ago, veggie soup has healing-powers!
Being a busy person looking to save time and money, I was delighted to discover the benefits of veggie soups. The recipe below is for a vegan soup but can be enjoyed by all! Don’t panic, if you can’t go without meat it can be added in.
Ingredients for a basic vegetable soup:
- 4-5 carrots
- 2 parsnips
- 1 onion (slightly burned over a candle together with external skin before adding to the pot – it will give your soup more taste and colour)
- half a bunch of parsley (you can cut it with scissors straight into the pot)
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 3-4 allspice berries
- 5-6 pepper corns
- 1 spoon of salt (the healthiest one is himalayan, but sea salt is also good and cheaper)
Depending on what you can find while grocery shopping, you can make your base richer by adding one or more of the following: a chopped leek, half of a swede, half of a celery, a bit of cabbage, 2-3 dried mushrooms (e.g. porcini) or a bit of turmeric. You can change the proportions, ingredients, spices, or even skip some ingredients – it will still taste great!
You need to spend 10 minutes only, preparing your veggies before dropping them into a pot of boiling water. You can peel your veggies if they are very dirty but since most of the supermarkets are selling them pre-washed and the skin usually has the most nutrients, cut them as they are! If you’re feeling lazy, you don’t even need to chop them, but cutting your veg makes them cook faster.
Just add all the ingredients to boiling water and leave it on a low heat for 2-3 hours. The rule with the soups is: cook it the longest you can, on lowest heat possible. After it’s cooked, add salt, pepper or soy sauce to taste and enjoy!
How to cook a soup of a certain taste?
To cook a soup of a certain taste, you can simply continue adding other ingredients to your “base” and cook it for 2-3 hours after you add all of your ingredients. Pick the main ingredient and think about the spices that might compliment it, experiment! Just a few simple examples to help you start:
- Tomato soup: add fresh tomatoes (blended or cut), dried tomatoes and some spices you think might fit: garlic, basil, oregano (and chilli pepper if you want to make it spicy).
- Mushroom soup: fry fresh mushrooms with chopped onion and add them to your base, you can also add dried mushrooms instead.
- Cauliflower soup: add cauliflower, it goes well with fresh dill and potatoes.
- Pumpkin soup: add the inside of your pumpkin (without seeds) and some rosemary
Or you can try a mixed veggie soup, adding all the veggies you see around: broccoli, courgette, corn, peas, even some seeds – pumpkin, sunflower…anything you want.
Save yourself weeks of sniffing and give veggie soup a chance – a cheap, easy and tasty meal you probably have not yet considered. There is such a variety of flavour to be had, you can use whatever veggies you’ve been neglecting at the back of your fridge. It’s about time you gave these bowls of goodness a go, if only once a week instead of the ready meal. As the wind outside howls and the rain pours…make yourself a warming treat from Mother Nature…your insides and wallet will thank you for it!
What are your techniques for cooking soups? Share your tips & tricks in comments!
Read about the benefits of cooking soups for your budget here!