An Easy Step to Healthier Eating — Using a Soup Base

It’s the new year. With that comes plans and promises (dare I say resolutions) about how we want to live in the coming year.

After a holiday season that was full of treats, it is time to renew our pledges to ourselves to live healthfully.

Let’s start out easy on ourselves!

Let’s start by making a soup base we can use in a wide range of meals.

Empty apple sauce jars make a great storage solution for soup base in the fridge!

Soup base?

How does that figure into healthy eating?

In countless ways, actually.

If we make a very basic soup, and then blend it up, we can use that soup base as the cooking liquid for a variety of dishes:

  • rice
  • quinoa
  • polenta
  • potatoes
  • pasta
  • gnocchi
  • vegetables.

We can use that soup base as the start of any of a number of soups and stews. We can use it revitalize leftovers.

Why is a blended soup base better than using water or broth?

When we use the whole vegetable in the soup base, we are keeping the fiber and nutrients that we would lose by discarding the vegetables. By keeping a lid on the pot while it simmers, we’re not losing too much good stuff through the steam.

I used onions, garlic, kale and carrots.

I have used this soup base in place of water when making Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice from my book Welcoming Kitchen.

I have used it to reinvigorate leftover pasta and then turn that into a mac and cheese with Daiya and broccoli.

It’s also frugal, which might tie into your promises (ahem, resolutions) for the new year, too.

You can use whichever vegetables you have on hand that might otherwise go bad.  I stay away from starchy vegetables like potatoes; they will make the base too creamy to work well. Go ahead and make a big pot, either on the stove or in the slow cooker, and freeze up some to use later. It will help you add another layer of healthfulness to whatever you end up cooking next month when your larder seems bare!

Soup Base

Makes as much as you like, depending on how big your pot is and how many vegetables you use.

A variety of vegetables (I used carrots, onions, garlic and kale.)
Water
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Wash and roughly chop all vegetables.
  2. Put vegetables in a stock pot and cover with about the same amount of water. (If your vegetables take up 3 inches in height, add another 3 inches, at least, of water.)
  3. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.
  4. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  5. Blend thoroughly.

Happy Cooking!
Kim Lutz

Kim Lutz is the author of Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. Kim is the co-author with Megan Hart, MS, RD, LD, of The Everything Organic Cooking for Baby and Toddler Book and The Everything Guide to Cooking for Children with Autism and the gluten-free, allergen-free, vegan website, welcomingkitchen.com.

32 Responses to An Easy Step to Healthier Eating — Using a Soup Base

  • Alta says:

    What a wonderful, simple idea. Love it. I’m definitely doing this soon.

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  • Ricki Heller says:

    I’ve certainly made soup stocks, but never thought to simply blend all the veggies together–great idea! :)

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  • Kim says:

    Thanks, ladies! I made a soup that didn’t quite work out, blended up, and was surprised that I had never thought to do this before! Now, I keep this in my fridge and freezer and add it to EVERYTHING!

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  • Kim Maes says:

    Kim, I love this. I do it all of the time too. The best part is that you can get the veggies into the family that they may not have eaten otherwise! Now I want to make the Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice from your book. That sounds right up my alley!!
    Kim

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  • Sara says:

    This is a great idea, I will be making this over the weekend to have on hand as needed. I think I will also put the extra soup base in an ice cube tray to make it easy to add to everything as you suggested. If I freeze it, it will last longer and the ice cube tray allows me to portion control the amount I use (place cubes in a freezer bag after they have set completely).

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    Kim Lutz Reply:

    Great idea, Sara!

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  • Erin says:

    So three inches of veggies equals six inches of water?

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    Kim Lutz Reply:

    You want to make sure that there’s enough water so that the veggies don’t brown while they’re cooking. I used about 3 inches of veggies and then topped it with enough water to cover the heavier veggies (i.e., carrots and onions) by about 3 inches. Does that help?

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  • Sandy says:

    Love it! I add a lot of pureed veggies to my dishes and we eat lots of soup with pureed veggies, but I haven’t used a blended soup base to make other dishes. I am going to give it a try this week….

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  • we eat lots of soups…great idea for soup base…i do think being able to freeze is key…i like sara’s idea about putting some in ice cube trays too…usually i am freezing broths in bigger containers and sometimes i just need a little….

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  • Kathryn says:

    Love this post! A homemade soup base will be so much easier to store. Looking forward to checking out more on your site.

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  • Vicky says:

    I’m always blending my soups! I often use up my left-over soups in dishes the following day! We’ve had the most unusual tasty sauces on our veggie burgers! Such a great idea to use a soup base as a stock!

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  • Amy says:

    This might seem like a off the wall kind of question but here I go anyway….I always have trouble getting my little ones to eat their veggies or much of anything nutritious! So I was wondering….If, say I were making box mac n’ cheese…do you think that if I were to use this soup base broth to cook the noodles in instead of water would it make it more nutritious than just water and do you think it would change the taste? Ugh, I feel silly even asking this.

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    Kim Lutz Reply:

    I used vegan boxed mac and cheese with my kids the other day (a confession of an over-worked mom!) and though I cooked the noodles in water, I used a generous pour of the soup base to mix the sauce and then just added a bit of rice milk to ensure that it was a familiar texture. They ate it up!

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    Amy Reply:

    Thank you so much for the great advice. I will be trying this very soon as mac n’ cheese is a weekly meal for the boys. One more question: does vegan mac n’ cheese not need butter to mix up the cheese? If that is the case…did you use the soup base in place of the butter?

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    Kim Lutz Reply:

    It doesn’t need butter. I used the soup in place of some of the liquid (milk alternative). Good luck!

  • This idea really is a terrific one, Kim–thanks! I will be using this to add more veggies to the pasta dishes that my husband loves so much. ;-)

    Shirley

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  • Another way to stop waste in the kitchen and get more veggies into the family. Thanks for the great idea.

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  • Kim Lutz says:

    Thanks, Shirley! Coming from you, that means a lot!

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  • Maggie Savage says:

    This is such a fabulous idea Kim and I can’t wait to try it. We had soup for dinner tonight and I was thinking about this soup base the entire time!

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  • Aneta says:

    Thanks so much for this! I’m excited to do it; I have never felt great about using purchased chicken and beef cubes for making soups/gravies. I’m always looking for ways to eat healthier, so this is wonderful. Thanks!

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  • Chris says:

    Hi Kim, thank you so much for sharing the soup base. I usually make up my own and cannot remember from one batch to another exactly what I put into it, so this one I will keep on file and will probably use it for many things. Here’s to eating more healthy this year. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.com/

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  • My mom is big on soup bases rather than broth – I usually make broth from juice pulp – I am wondering if I should just blend that up into the soup base instead of straining it out as I usually do now.

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    Kim Lutz Reply:

    Valerie, That seems like a great idea!

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  • I bet this would be awesome for making risotto too! Give a wonderful fresh veggie flavor instead of the store bought veggie broth I normally end up using.

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  • hännah says:

    This is such a great idea! I made about 9 cups of veggie broth yesterday and am now wishing that I’d done it your way. Oh well, live and learn :) Thanks!

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  • Gigi says:

    Kim,
    You and I were surely on the same wavelength on the 5th, girl! ;) I posted my Homemade Stock “recipe” and variations, and have just made it over here to TBP to catch up on ALL the posts so far this month! (running a little behind!)… This looks wonderful!

    Hope your New Year is off to the best start!!

    xoxo,
    Gigi ;)

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    Kim Lutz Reply:

    Happy New Year, to you, too Gigi! I love your take on reclaiming the idea of “comfort” food.

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  • I often keep a big jar in the fridge when I’m in the midst of CSA season and throw the odds and ends of veggies into the jar, save them up for a couple of days and use them for soup stock. I like the idea of blending the veggies. Good one!

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    Kim Reply:

    @Melissa @ Gluten Free For Good, I love the idea of keeping the odds and ends together. That is brilliant!

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  • Tess Masters says:

    Kim,
    Thanks for these great ideas.
    There is nothing better than homemade veggie broth and blended vegetables.
    I am so happy to be sharing this journey with you :)

    [Reply]

  • I like this blog very much, Its a really nice berth to read and incur info. “Do not trust your memory it is a net full of holes the most beautiful prizes slip through it.” by Georges Duhamel.

    [Reply]

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