Mmmm soup. Chicken noodle, creamy tomato, spicy tortilla, french onion, clam chowder, minestrone, potato leek, and on and on the combinations go. Making a soup is a great way to clear out your fridge and pantry. Once you know the basics, you’ll be able to start experimenting with your own ingredients, adding or removing what you want to create your own recipe!
Here is a simple equation to keep in mind when creating a soup. The must haves are in bold, the rest are up to you!
An aromatic (onion, garlic, shallot) + 2+ vegetables + a grain OR a starchy vegetable (potato, squash, corn) + a protein (meat, beans, tofu) + a broth (usually a stock) + spices & herbs + a dairy (milk, cream, cheese or yogurt).
Following my equation above, here is how this recipe adds up:
Garlic & shallot + Carrots, cauliflower, celery & kale + NO GRAIN OR STARCHY VEGETABLE + NO PROTEIN + Chicken stock + Salt & pepper + milk.
To modify this, simply replace vegetables with others in your fridge, add in a grain, like rice, and/or a protein, like chicken, and you’ve got your very own homemade soup. All families need their signature soup. What’s yours?
10 Reasons Why I Love Soup:
1. It comes in a bowl. I love meals in bowls.
2. It’s filling.
3. It usually comes with bread and that’s always a really good thing.
4. You can cram a ton of vegetables into it and it still tastes delicious.
5. You can dunk sandwiches in it.
6. Chunky or creamy, or a little of both; it’s all good.
7. One batch will last you for days.
8. It warms you up on a cold night.
9. When all of your bowls are dirty, you can eat it from a mug.
10. Like pizza, it’s delicious even when it’s cold.
Don’t even get me started on the toppings…
An easy to way to make soup a little thicker and creamier is to puree half of it, then combine the two together. This works best for soups that have a starchy vegetable, like potatoes or squash. Add the pureed portion in to the other half and it creates a rich, thick texture without needing to add any cream.
This recipe calls for both blending and milk to thicken it. The result is a chunky, thick and creamy soup that will fill you up fast without ruining your diet.
I made this soup while Chet was away on a business trip. I wanted something healthy, yet rich and I wanted to be able to eat it for the three days he was gone without having to worry about making anything else. Mission accomplished.
On another note, I wasn’t feeling all that great and nothing makes you feel better than a bowl of warm soup. It may not cure diseases, but it calms your soul and eases your worries. It’s like having your mom at home with you, taking care of you like she did when you were a staying home ‘sick’ from school.
What to Bring to the Store
To reduce your packaging waste, you will need the following reusables with you at the store:
– 2-3 reusable produce bags (carrots, celery, kale)
– Possibly 1 reusable bulk bag for your flour (if you don’t already have a big bulk jar of it on your counter)
As always, bring your reusable grocery bags with you! And maybe your reusable coffee mug for an afternoon latte. Why not?
On a scale from 1-5, measuring how much packaging waste was produced in the process of making this killer soup, I give Cauliflower Kale Chowder a 4! This recipe falls short of a 5 because for whatever reason, cauliflower comes wrapped in an annoying plastic package that will have to be tossed. Argh!
Moving on…here’s what to recycle: chicken broth carton and milk carton. Here’s what to compost: all veggie scraps! We’re talking cauliflower stems, carrot butts, celery tops, shallot skins and kale ribs. Done-zo!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 4 stalks of kale, stems removed
- In a large soup pot, melt the butter on medium heat. Add in the garlic, shallot, celery and carrot and cooke until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower, salt, pepper and chicken broth to the pot, bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover and let it cook for 6-8 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.
- Puree half of the soup mixture in a blender or food processor. Pour the pureed soup back into the pot.
- On low heat, whisk in the flour until the clumps are gone, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and stir constantly for 3-4 minutes until the soup thickens.
- Add in the kale and stir. Let cook for 2 minutes until the kale begins to wilt. Adjust salt as needed. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, crackers, crostini or whatever!