Okay, it’s about time I sat down and wrote about this goddamn soup, because I’ve been making it for months and it’s life-changing.
Firstly, soup in general is an under-appreciated way to consume food. People hate on it because it’s known as the thing you get at restaurants when you’re trying to eat light. But we also laud its counterpart – stew – as a hearty, satiating comfort food.
It’s time to stop ignoring the truth. Soup can also be a comfort food, but it doesn’t have to be heavy. In fact, it can be filling, warming, healthy, simple and easy to prepare ALL AT ONCE.
The following description is NOT a recipe. I don’t really follow recipes unless I absolutely have to. What you are about to read is a rough outline of ingredients, which, when combined, make up a killer ~vegetable soup~.
I know you lost that lit boner* the second you read the words vegetable soup, but I promise you THIS WILL BE WORTH IT.
I turn to this soup at least twice a month when I’m trying to do that meal prep thing I’ve been trying to do. It takes barely half an hour to throw together, and the genius of the concept is that you make the soup with ingredients that tend to keep well in your freezer, fridge or pantry. There’s no concrete list of ingredients.
This soup keeps in the fridge for a few days. To heat it up, you can either simmer it on the stove top (sometimes I just do this at home) or stick it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring every minute. I typically jar it up and take it to-go.
HERE’S HOW IT ALL COMES TOGETHER!
In a large pot, COOK up any fresh vegetables or protein you have. For me, this will be cauliflower, broccoli or cabbage. My favorite protein to use is apple chicken sausage. I LOVE IT! Some shredded chicken, tofu, ground beef or turkey would also work really well in this soup.
When the vegetables/proteins are at least 3/4 of the way cooked, DUMP in a large can on diced or crushed tomato. Diced usually yields a thinner, more translucent broth, if that makes sense. How much you wanna add really depends on you. I like to rinse out the can with water and dump the rest in, which helps to get all of the ingredients submerged with liquid and get the rest of the tomato out of the can. Two birds. One stone.
At this point, I will just dump in everything else that I feel like putting in. Some staples I love to stick to include frozen corn, frozen/fresh spinach and canned beans.
Pick ingredients that either hold up well when cooked/immersed in liquid, or those that break down well. Serving size? Just eyeball it. I typically go with like, 1/2 cup – 1 cup of each ingredient.
Here are two additional secret ingredients I love to use.
Potato – When they cook down, they naturally thicken up the soup. But some people don’t like the consistency of it, so proceed with caution.
Sweet potato – Not a lot! Just a few slices can add just a touch of natural sweetness that gives the whole soup a bit more curious body and interesting depth.
As for spices, I like to ADD a generous amount of salt, pepper and whatever else I’m feeling. Recently, it’s been red chili flakes, because I’m starting to venture into more spicy food.
STIR in everything well, and bring the soup up to a BOIL. Then, SIMMER covered for 10-15 minutes, checking the done-ness of relevant ingredients every five minutes or so.
I usually have a serving right then and there, and then let the rest cool off a bit before I jar it (in those glass jars that your peanut butter and pasta sauce often come in – a great way to repurpose them!).
I always think if you have to cook once, it should feed you twice. If you’re going to make a big chicken and vegetable soup for lunch on Monday, you stick it in the refrigerator and it’s also for Wednesday’s dinner.
– Curtis Stone (brainyquote)
Now, stop reading this and go make soup.
*Thanks to my friend David for introducing me to the term lit boner.