Coming home from a chilly winter ride? Soups are perfect way to de-thaw and refuel your body quickly with loads of vitamins, minerals and a balance of macro-nutrients. Instead of opening a can loaded with sodium and mushy vegetables, why not whip up a very easy semi-homemade version you can customize to taste and use whatever you've got on hand. No recipe required!
Step One: Build you Base (just like training!)
The tastiest soups start with a combo of "aromatics" or highly fragrant veggies like onions and garlic. Start by sautéing together a cup of onions, two cloves of garlic in about two TBSPs of good olive oil. Throw in some carrot and celery too if you've got them. Cook until softened and smelling delicious.
Step Two: Load it up!
A bowl of soup is a great way to get more veggies in your diet! You can use fresh, frozen or thawed. Go for peppers, cabbage, potato, squash, cauliflower..truly, anything works. Chop the veggies all about the same size to help cook evenly and save very tender things like broccolini or spinach until the final step. I like about 4 cups of veggies for 4-6 servings of soup.
If you are adding meat, now's the time. I love using rotisserie chicken to make this process even easier. If you’re using uncooked meat, make sure you add it early enough to cook thoroughly; save salty thin cured meats like bacon for the end.
Step Three: Hack "homemade" broth.
Boxed broth is the way to go here. Use chicken, beef or veggie depending on preferences. Mind the sodium content on pre-made broth. I uselly go for a low-sodium version. Add enough to cover your meat and veggies by about an inch.
Step Four: Bump up the fiber.
Now you can add grains, beans, or pastas if you like. Keeping your broth simmering (not boiling) will help flavors expand and cook at an even pace. Use about 1/2 - 1 cup of grain, beans and pastas per serving. Cook for time indicated for each ingredient. Usually another 10-20 minutes.
Step Five: Go BIG on flavor!
Taste test your soup and see what it needs. You can add a pop with fresh herbs and spices. Zest it up with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Get rich with chili paste or pesto. Adding herbs now makes sure they have the biggest impact and don't get cooked away.
Here's one of my faves to try....
Veggies: carrots, onion, red pepper, sweet potato and green beans
Meat (optional): pulled rotisserie chicken, turkey meatballs.
Beans: 1 can of chickpeas or garbanzosSpices: cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and paprika