Have You Heard? Souping is the New Juicing
The New York Times declared souping was the new juicing back in 2016, but I have to say, it’s taken a while for this “trend” to reach me. That’s probably because I’m a huge fan of soup and I’ve always included it in my meals, meaning that I’ve never really thought of soup as a “thing” on its own.
Having said all of that, I’m fully on board with souping. Soups are filling, nutritious and a less-fussy, healthier alternative to many other options. I love the versatility and adjustability of literally every single element of a soup; it very much fits my kitchen ethos of taking it easy and stress-free cooking but marrying ingredients, so they become something amazing.
From Juicing to Souping
Juicing is still hugely popular, but it’s fallen out of favour with the ‘in’ crowd for a couple of reasons. Much of the focus with juicing has rested on fruit and sweet vegetables, therefore making many juices much higher in sugar than people thought it would be. It’s a delicate balance between using harsher, dark green vegetables without the sweetness and plenty of nutrients and creating something you’d actually like to drink. You might be able to force a bitter green juice down once a week, but it gets old, fast, when you’re putting yourself through it every day, maybe even multiple times a day.
Soup is as simple as adding everything you want to include in a pot, add any seasoning you like, bolster it with added protein using beans or legumes if you want added thickness and body, throw in some shredded chicken or meat pieces if you want volume, or even grains like barley, bulgur wheat or quinoa if you want a vegan option.
You can leave it chunky or make it smooth, make it as thin or thick as you like, as spicy or as mild as suits your tastebuds and eat it with a spoon, drink it like a broth or dunk a hunk of bread in.
Add toppings like fresh herbs, a drizzle of cream, or even some seeds for crunch.
Use What You Have
The easiest way to ensure you can make the tastiest soup ever is to stay well-stocked with basic ingredients. Have a root around your pantry and fridge and see what you can rustle up. Remember that things that look basic can all be jazzed up with the right seasonings.
Look for vegetables (root vegetables are amazing in soup but anything else will work too!), any kind of beans or pulses (I love lentils and chickpeas in soup), grains (quinoa is fabulous; you could even use rice or bulgur wheat), and any leftover chicken, meat or even fish you want to use up.
Remember that seasonings are your friend! They add a ton of flavour and depth without taking away from the final product. If you’re not sure what to go for, wander down the spice aisle in your supermarket and pick up: table salt, sea salt, coarse black pepper, ground black pepper, white pepper, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, red chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric, ground cloves, cumin powder, whole cumin, star anise and coriander powder.
Don’t forget fresh herbs and the little items including fresh garlic, fresh ginger, tomato paste, chopped tinned tomatoes, passata, vegetable and meat stock cubes (bullion cubes).