It is officially soup season!
Indulge in our favorite fall comfort food with healthy soups, chilis, and stews. Our favorite recipes are souper easy to make and with a few tricks and treats can be a souptacular dish for a chilly fall day. Follow our easy ABC tips for cooking up a healthy bowl of soup and check out our favorite soup recipes on our resource hub CommonBytes.org.
A: Aromatics and Add-ins
Aromatics: Flavoring your soup with herbs, spices, and other aromatics will bring your soup to life! Aromatic vegetables provide intense flavor in soup when heated or cut – without adding extra sugar, salt, or fat to your soup. The most common aromatics used in soups are garlic, shallots, onions, carrots, celery, several pepper varieties, and fresh ginger. Adding in fresh or dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, basil, and dill as well as spices like cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, chili pepper, sumac, and coriander also enhances the flavor of soup.
Proteins (Plant and Animal Based)
Soups can be flavorful and filling with animal-based proteins or without. When adding meat to your soup, be sure to choose lean proteins like chicken, ground turkey, or lean cuts of beef. Vegetarian and vegan soup recipes use vegetable broth and plant-based proteins like beans and peas as well as vegetables!
How many different vegetables can you add? Hearty vegetables and legumes are nutritious fiber-rich additions to any soup. The possibilities are endless. Need ideas? Our Mexican Red Pozole includes carrots and hominy. Our Egyptian Red Lentil Soup contains sweet potatoes, carrots, and red lentils, while our turkey chili contains kidney beans, and corn.
Soups are often made with noodles, other pasta varieties, rice, quinoa, or dumplings. Choose whole grains and be sure to cook your grains separately to ensure they have enough liquid to absorb while cooking, and then add the grains to your soup after they are cooked.
Fun fact: Did you know that rice triples in size after its cooked?
It’s all about that base! Make soups with broth bases and skip the heavy cream base which contains high amounts of saturated fat and calories. Try choosing plain Greek yogurt for cream-based soups and curries. Make sure to heat the soup slowly if you use this method; if it gets too hot, the yogurt may curdle. Additionally, commercially prepared soups are often high in sodium, so preparing your own soups at home and choosing low-sodium broths will help keep the sodium content of your soup low.
Making your own soups has many benefits. And making soup at home can be a quick and easy meal! Soups can be easily made in large batches that can be frozen to be eaten later. Soups are easy one pot meals that can include ingredients from all parts of the Chef’s Plate. With all the ingredients and flavor combinations, you can explore a variety of culinary and cultural cuisines. Soups are easy to assemble in a slow cooker and cooked to perfection and ready to eat when you are! Making soups at home allows you to control the ingredients and incorporate lean proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and aromatic flavors to enhance flavor without increasing the fat and sodium content.
Recipe photo creds: Laura Heineman
Common Threads Soup Recipes
- Haitian Jou Mou Soup – Traditional Jou Mou is made with beef marinated in Haitian Epis and pureed Kabocha squash with hearty vegetables like potatoes and carrots with aromatics onions, leeks, and garlic. This traditional soup is consumed in celebration on January 1st, honoring Haiti’s revolution and independence.
- Egyptian Red Lentil Soup – Egyptian Red Lentil Soup is a staple for many Egyptians, both living in Egypt and abroad. It is made primarily in the winter months, but it is also eaten as an appetizer to break the fast for Muslims during the month of Ramadan. Different types of vegetables can be added including celery and gold potatoes for more heartiness!
- Mexican Red Pozole – Pozole is a soup of Mexican cuisine, traditionally made with pork. Our vegetarian adaptation is made from a flavorful chili pepper red sauce. Other types of Pozole are green, made with tomatillos or other green ingredients and white, made without red or green sauce.
- Egusi Soup – This is a flavorful soup made with sirloin beef, vegetables, and seasonings and topped with pumpkin seeds. This soup is native to West Africa, specifically Nigeria. It gets its name from the Egusi melon seed that is used in the soup. We use pumpkin seeds from another type of melon.
- Turkey Chili – Chili is our favorite fall staple for cold nights and football tailgates. Our hearty chili is made with ground turkey, tomatoes, corn, kidney beans, onions, and chili powder; topped with cheddar cheese and plain Greek yogurt. You can check out another version of turkey chili from Chef Ingrid Hoffmann from our recent World Food Day event!
- Egg Drop Soup – This soup is made with eggs, chicken broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch; topped with scallions. Egg drop soup is a traditional Chinese soup that is quick and easy to make. It involves a unique cooking method for the eggs which float to the top once the final product is ready to serve!
Alphabet Soup Diagram
Recipe contributions: Minna Sabbahi, MPH, RDN | Patricia Dufane | Ariane Williams
ABOUT COMMON THREADS
Common Threads is a national nonprofit that provides children and families cooking and nutrition education to encourage healthy habits that contribute to wellness. We equip under-resourced communities with information to make affordable, nutritious and appealing food choices wherever they live, work, learn and play. We know that food is rooted in culture and tradition, so we promote diversity in our lessons and recipes, encouraging our participants to celebrate the world around them. To learn more, visit www.commonthreads.org or on social media by searching for #CookingForLife.