By Chanie Apfelbaum/Busy in Brooklyn
Soups are what get me through winter. And rainy days. There’s just something about cozying up to a big bowl of goodness that is pure comfort food. I prefer to cook up hearty soups that I can turn into a one dish meal. I believe it was Rachel Ray who coined the term “stoup” which is thicker than a soup but thinner than a stew. That’s just how I like it! The bonus is getting to sneak some veggies into my picky kids diet, which I sometimes hide under some alphabet pasta. Win-win!
Here are some tips for bulking up your soups for a hearty one-dish-meal!
- Add grains or pasta Of course alphabet pasta is my kids first choice, but I love to add quinoa, rice, farro, barley, couscous, rice noodles and of course, ramen.
- Add legumes Beans. legumes and chickpeas are all great additions to help bulk-up a soup. My favorites are red lentils, chickpeas and cannelini beans, but black beans, kidney beans, lima beans and pinto beans are all great additions.
- Add spiralized veggie noodles I love to add zoodles (zucchini noodles) to give me that noodle-feel without the carbs, but sauteed apple noodles make a great topping for butternut squash soup, and carrots noodles work great in an Asian broth.
- Add protein To really turn your soup into a stoup, you need to add protein. There’s nothing like a hearty mushroom barley soup with flanken and what’s a chicken noodle soup without the chicken?! But besides those basics, I love adding a smoked turkey leg for amazing flavor, or try topping your soup with sausage “croutons” (slice sausages into coins and saute until caramelized), or some crumbled kosher beef bacon, or beef fry.
- Don’t forget the bread If I’m serving soup as my one-dish-meal, I always make some fresh pita or pick up some fresh baguettes for dipping. If you really want to take it over the top, make homemade bread bowls, my kids favorite!
- Add healthy fat Sometimes bulking up a soup is not only about what you see, but the healthy fat and calories that you add to it. Try sauteing your veggies in avocado, olive or coconut oil, or add some coconut milk for an extra dose of healthy fat. You can also finish your soup with a drizzle of cold pressed olive oil, or if the flavors work, a scoop of guacamole!
- Top with nuts and seeds Soup is hearty and healthy but it doesn’t offer much texture-wise. Topping your soup with some toasted nuts or seeds adds great flavor, texture and nutrition. Some great suggestions include pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, roasted cashews, sliced almonds, chopped walnuts. or pecan halves.
- Use hearty veggies If the soup is your full meal, don’t shy away from adding some carb-loaded potatoes and squash to your soup. You’ll only have a few pieces in your bowl and it will help fill you up.
- Go big on croutons If you’re not a fan of nuts and seeds, there are lots of other crouton options that will turn your soup into a one-dish meal. Try adding some grilled cheese croutons to your tomato soup, cornbread croutons to your bean soup, sourdough croutons to just about anything or roasted chickpeas or corn nuts for added flavor and crunch.
- Top with tapenades To make your soup restaurant worthy, swirl some pesto, salsas or tapenade into each bowl right before serving.
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