Elevating a bowl of healthy soup is a great way to make it more satisfying and flavourful – thereby encouraging yourself as well as your family to make healthier food choices. Here are seven tips to help you do just that.
A bowl of warm soup is the perfect kind of supper for a gloomy monsoon evening. Apart from being light on the digestive system, it also packs in a lot more nutrition compared to an average meal that may or may not include all the necessary nutrients. While most people would normally consider a portion of soup to be packed with nutrition, most often the balance between health and taste is lost. Soups can either be bland, healthy and devoid of taste or come as bowls that are full of butter, refined flour and other ingredients that are associated with denser calories – nullifying the purpose of eating soup for a meal. Follow these smart tips to boost flavour without compromising on health.
If possible, make your own broth or stock. Homemade broth has a richer flavour than store-bought versions. Start with fresh, high-quality ingredients – whether it's vegetables, herbs or protein, using the best ingredients will make a noticeable difference in the flavour of your soup. Depending on your soup's base, you can make vegetable, chicken, beef or even fish stock.
Layer The Flavours
Build flavour in layers – start by sautéing aromatics like onions, garlic and ginger in a little olive oil or butter. If your soup recipe has ingredients like coconut milk, echo the flavours of the vegan milk with coconut oil as the fat base. Add your key ingredients and allow them to cook evenly and complexify in flavour before adding the liquid medium in which your ingredients will cook and simmer.
Fresh Herbs & Spices
Fresh herbs and spices can add a burst of flavour to your soup. Adding them towards the end of cooking not only gives you the best results in terms of flavour but also allows for their oils to be released within the soup, adding to its overall aroma. As heat can diminish the potency of fresh herbs, it is always best to include ingredients like basil, cilantro, thyme and rosemary in the capacity of garnishes or a bouquet garni.
Create a variety of textures by adding ingredients like toasted nuts, croutons or savoury granola as garnishes. These elements not only add crunch but also enhance the overall mouthfeel of the soup, making it an interesting bowl to eat – especially if it is an essential component of your meal prep. It is always great to even add an activated seed mix for extra protein and minerals or nuts like chopped pistachios or almonds, if your soup has flavours that might compliment these garnishes.
A squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar can add brightness and balance to your soup as it helps cut through richness and enhance the flavours. Experiment with different types of acids, such as balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or citrus juices. Even if your soup recipe calls for some lemon juice while cooking, always remember to add a little bit at the end before serving, to brighten up the flavour as well as add some acidic freshness.
Dress It Up
Serve your soup with garnishes like grated Parmesan cheese, a dollop of Greek yogurt, sour cream or a drizzle of high-quality olive oil. These finishing touches can add depth and complexity to the flavours as well as make your bowl of wellness feel like a treat, due to the addition of a fatty component. While most times, fat-based ingredients aren’t associated with healthy food choices, using them in moderation can help enhance your soup-eating experience considerably.