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Soup’s Up! A Paleo Soup Guide

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by Angela Gallardo in Articles

If you haven’t heard yet (my southwestern friends), it’s soup season!

If you’re a soup hater, you may want to move along.  Or come to think of it, drop by my house and I’ll make a soup lover out of you!

Today I’m sharing my absolute best soup tips, accumulated from years of working to increase the veggie content (AKA nutrient-density) of our meals.  Soups are great for so very many reasons.  The warmth is filling, you get tons of veg in one serving, and for those with digestive distress — the veggies are cooked down and much easier for your GI to handle than when consumed raw (check out this article from The Healthy Home Economist for more details).

Onto the tips!

  • The veggie dump!  Or “veggies on the verge!” as I like to call them.  Consolidating all of your nearly bad veggies into one big vegetable soup is (almost) always a good idea.  Particularly when using a tomato base (14 oz. tomato puree + 2 tbsp. tomato paste + 4 c. broth), the slightly sweet tartness of tomato is somehow a magic potion to bring all those random veggies together in love.
  • Work away from home? Bring your canteen o’ soup!  Most soups work very well as one-pot meals.  Include a starch and a protein source along with all those veggies and you are all set.  Bonus: all that warmth you slurp up will keep you full for hours.
  • Blend it!  For a change in texture, I’ll often attack my soups with an immersion blender.  This does work best with a few choice soups (Potato Leek, Creamy Cauliflower, Pumpkin Ginger — my fave) but don’t let this list stop you.
  • Save some space!  With our baby camper fridge, I’ve had to get very creative with storing leftovers.  One of my favorites in regards to soup is to cook it up with a much lower amount of liquid and upon reheating, add the amount of broth you’d like in your serving.  Viola!  Instant soup.  Or something like that…
  • Up the flavor & texture quotient!  Soups can often come across as one-note in terms of texture.  To change that up, choose a garnish that compliments the flavors.  My favorites are pumpkin seeds (THESE! are amazing), fresh herbs, crumbled bacon, chopped chives and even raw minced garlic.
  • Add greens at the end!  And never before!  Most greens have a high water content and will therefore quickly turn to mush when subjected to high heat.  The texture and flavor are best if stirred into the soup just as you’re turning the heat off.
  • Add a cheese rind!  For those who tolerate cheese well, find a raw, pastured Parmesan cheese (many are sold raw if they are aged long enough) and save the rind.  They are naturally very low in lactose and can be tolerated well by lactose intolerant folks.  Our local market even sells the rinds individually for much cheaper than the cheese itself!  Add it in with a long simmering soup for a subtle nutty flavor.  A-like so.
  • Easy added protein!  I frequently make vegetable based soups to have on hand as side dishes.  But they also double as a full meal on a busy weeknight with a couple of scoops of added protein.  My favorite? Grass-fed Collagen Peptides because they dissolve instantly and they are predigested, which my gut loves.  Grass-fed Beef Gelatin, the non-pre-digested form of peptides, also works perfectly.  Just dissolve 1-2 tbsp. in ½ cup cold broth before stirring into your hot soup.
  • Add some fat!  Soups tend to be very low-fat, just by nature of the preparation.  Adding fat is a great way to make it more satisfying and filling, as well.  Particularly when blending, adding 2 tbsp. fat (butter, ghee, lard, tallow, etc) per 4 cups of soup will add an amazing creamy texture.  And whether blending or not, I love to drizzle a little finishing oil, like a good quality EVOO, on top of my soup.  It makes it very unctuous in a delicious, umami-like way.  And getting those fats in makes the veggies digest easier and the nutrients absorb better.  (more on this a la WebMD, minus their false full-fat diet warnings)

I could likely rant on with about 20 more but instead, you can head over to this crazily comprehensive list from The Kitchn, should you feel a further need to up your soup game.

What’s your favorite soup recipe and/or tip for excellence in the soup dept?

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