Six Soup Hacks: Hearty Soups In Minutes Not Hours

I don’t know about you, but when I think about making soups it seems like hours to make a stock and more time to chop the ingredients and cook the soup for even longer. It’s either a meal created on the weekends or prepared in a crock pot before you head to work.

The thing is, I love soup, and not the soup that comes out of a can with its grey vegetables, suspect protein and loaded with soggy noodles, grainy potatoes or mushy barley. I love the process of homemade soups, the layering of ingredients and spices. I love how it feels going down, warming up my belly in the fall and winter or giving me that extra kick in the ultra cold air conditioned summer offices. I love that it is made with love. It’s the ultimate comfort food.

So, as I got on my healthy living journey I started to think about how I could have more homemade soup without all the fuss. The goal is soup in 15 minutes.

Here’s the soup hack:

  • Ready to go stock: The simplest way to have ready made stock is simply buying a high quality stock from the grocer. However, in the fall and winter when I do a lot of roasting I make my own and store in the freezer. Either way, chicken, beef, seafood and vegetable stocks are staples to have on hand for you soup lovers out there.
  • Quick grab protein: There is never a week where dinner didn’t leave leftovers of chicken, turkey, steak or hamburgers which are ripe for throwing in a pot. Already cooked, these proteins only need to be reheated and will help flavor the soup as they release their juices. If you have left over thai curry or Chinese food, that is even better. The other quick grab is shrimp. I always have a bag of peeled and deveined shrimp that I can throw into a pot and cooks in minutes. Another trick, have mini Chinese dumplings or gyoza in the freezer. Tossing them in my soup is an absolute favorite of mine. They can be protein or vegetarian.
  • Ready to go starch: Leftover hack again, I’ll grab left over rice, pasta, beans, quinoa, you name it and toss it in. If there aren’t any leftovers, the pantry has canned beans. You most likely have fresh pasta in the freezer – tortellini, fettucine, ravioli. These are great additions and cook up in minutes.
  • Chop to pot: I cut vegetables smaller for the quick soup than I would for all day soups. This means the vegetables cook faster. Sugar snap peas I normally would just throw in I chop up. Broccoli I chop finer letting the flower tops crumble and putting in more of the stemp for crunch. Carrots I shaved into the pot with a peeler. They cook fast and the ribbons of color are fun. I am also happy to always add in roughly chopped spinach, kale and escarole for more nutrients and flavor and they cook up fast.
  • Those leftover vegetables: Potatoes I’m putting here because while a starch, the technique is good for other left over veggies. Pre-cooked potatoes will disintegrate in your soup. Leftover veggies may get too mushy. Or, you want to use that acorn or butternut squash from last night’s dinner. Use these vegetables, but use an immersion blender in the pot when the soup is ready to make it creamy. This way, you get all the nutrients and none of the yuck. Other left over vegetables that are spiralized are great to toss in at the last minute to reheat and add ‘noodles’.
  • Frozen goodies: With just as much nutrients as fresh, using frozen veggies like corn, peas, squash and cauliflower are perfect to toss into your soup. They offer endless options and are typically already cut up in the size you need for a fast soup. I tend to stay away from some of the frozen veggies because I don’t always thing they hold up well being frozen, like carrots that tend to get rubbery. But choose the ones you like and have around.

I could give a single recipe. Instead, I thought it would be fun to share several of my favorites. I’m gong to focus on the ingredients rather than the amounts as I tend not to measure anything in my soup hacks. But, this should give you some ideas for your soup hack.

Chinese Dumpling Soup

  • Chicken stock
  • Mini pork dumplings
  • Spinach
  • Carrot
  • Sugar snap peas or snow peas
  • Corn
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce

Ginger Squash Soup

  • Chicken or vegetable stock
  • Butternut squash
  • Fresh ginger (you can get this in a tube rather than grating a root)
  • Nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic

Spiralized Borscht

  • Chicken stock
  • Spiralized beets
  • Spiralized zucchini
  • Chopped kale
  • Shaved carrot
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Hack – Add ramen noodles

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Soup

  • Chicken stock
  • Chicken cubed or shredded
  • Broccoli
  • Shaved carrot
  • Frozen peas
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Cheddar
  • Flour
  • Butter or olive oil
    • Instruction for cheesiness: In the bottom of the soup pot you make a rue with on part butter/olive oil, one part flour. Add in some of the stock slowly until you have a thick soup. Add in cheddar cheese to create the thickness of a sauce. Now slowly add in the rest of the stock and ingredients. Keep heat to medium so as not to curdle the cheese sauce. 
    • If you are worried about making the sauce, just chop up cheddar cheese chunks or some shredded cheese and throw on top of the soup.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s