The grocery store is filled with soup. A whole isle full of yeast extract, unknown fats and bad flavor. It can be disappointing. There are a few exceptions, but the soup experience can make you think “soup is bad”. Well, there is hope! (Btw – yeast extract is one of the hidden names for MSG. Don’t be fooled.) You can always make your own! Guaranteed good flavor, your favorite ingredients and fun making it.
What if I don't Know How to Make Soup?
This is the easy part. Everybody can make soup. Essentially it is just ingredients and broth. You could pretty much throw anything in there and it will cook! (Yes, we’ll talk about flavor soon.)
One of the most fool proof ways to make soup is to make it in a crock pot (slow cooker). It can be the most simple model you can find in the store. It plugs in and goes. You put all the ingredients in and let it boil for about 6 hours or more and it is ready. Finish with seasoning and delicious home made soup is yours.
The Easy Soup Recipe - Use Any Ingredient
As we said before, soup is basically just ingredients and broth. This means you can pick your own ingredients (and broth). Find a good organic broth in your grocery store, get the vegetables you want and start chopping. Th e protein (if desired) is also up to you, you can use beans for vegetarian style or any protein you want – chicken, fish, moose, whatever. In the end you add spices and herbs to your liking. I also recommend some type of acid (such as apple cider vinegar) to create that nice tangy flavor. When you don’t have lots of fat in there, you want the flavor from the acid and seasoning.
Here’s an easy base recipe I use, You can change the vegetables to ones you prefer, as well as the protein. I happen to love beets, so the recipe uses beets. They have awesome flavor when they slow cook, but if you are not a beet lover, use carrots or other vegetables. Use organic ingredients when you can. I do recommend always including onion for the base flavor. You soak the beans overnight the night before, the slow cooking will take 4-6 hours. It is up to you how tender you like the vegetables, so you decide the cooking time. It is almost impossible to ruin this soup!
- one carton vegetable broth (32oz., any kind)
- 1 cup of Northern beans, soaked overnight in water (or your choice of protein)
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic (optional)
- 1″ piece of chopped fresh ginger (optional, but please note it creates great base flavor)
- 3-4 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 beets, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 carrots, coarsely chopped
- spices- salt, pepper, fresh herbs to taste (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme all work)
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or other acid (apple cider vinegar creates Great base flavor)
- 1 tbsp natural soy sauce (like liquid aminos, or Worcestershire sauce)
- Anything else you like!
Add all the ingredients, except the acid and herbs, to the slow cooker (or you can leave some of the stock to add later so it will boil faster). The general idea is that there is enough liquid so everything is covered. Easy. No measuring required. If you run out of stock, use water. Note: You add the acid in the end only because the beans will not cook properly in acidic liquid. Herbs are best when they don’t boil for hours, so leave them at the end, too. If you are not used to herbs, of course you can leave them out, but I really encourage you to go for it. They will blend in and just provide you with great natural flavor and lot of vitamins and minerals.
This will make about 48 ounzes of soup (two nice big jars). You can store it in the fridge and eat it for about a week whenever you feel like it. A cup of this soup has only about 135 calories! I like to leave it rather thick and just add a bit more broth when I heat it up. Goes great with a slice of hearty rye bread.