Have you ever been to Europe in winter?
Most of the pictures I post look like this:
Gray, cold, and often snowy. In Fulda, it’s been like this since November. Yes, I’m from Maine. Yes, I’m used to the cold. But sometimes it’s just too cold and dreary. And on these days, I make soup. I’ve been making a lot of soup lately. I know a lot of people are scared of the idea of homemade soup, so I thought I’d share some tips.
First, start with a good base. All you need is a few simple ingredients.
Mine consists of olive oil, onions, carrots, celery, dried herbs, organic vegetable broth bouillon (doesn’t have as many weird chemicals in it as non-organic) and nutritional yeast (brewer’s yeast works too). Depending on what kind of soup I’m making, I also add tomato paste (that’s the stuff in the toothpaste-like tube).
Do you guys know about nutritional yeast? It’s fantastic. It’s an inactive yeast and is sold in powder or flake form. It tastes slightly nutty or cheesy and is full of protein and vitamins (especially the B-Complex vitamins), so it is a great addition to soups. I also like to sprinkle it on fresh popcorn- might sound gross, but try it 🙂
Anyway, back to the soup. I really like vegetables, so I add more than most recipes require, you can adjust this to how much you have on hand or how much you feel like using- it’s a really flexible recipe.
1T olive oil
3 small onions
1 small celery root or 2 stalks of celery
1 1/2T tomato paste (optional)
1 1/2T brewers yeast (optional)
5-6 cups vegetable broth
dried herbs (I use basil, red pepper flakes and a bay leaf)
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Roughly chop onions, carrots, and celery.
The white is the celery root. This is an ingredient I discovered in Germany and absolutely love. It looks scary from the outside, but all you have to do is peel it and chop. It’s not as bitter or strong as regular celery and adds a fantastic flavor to soups.
Add the veggies to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the veggie broth (or bouillon + water), tomato paste and nutritional yeast if using. That’s it- not so scary, right?
Now comes the fun part- what kind of soup do you want? The possibilities are endless!
Here are some ideas for add-ins:
more veggies! spinach, kale, broccoli, corn, peas, brussels sprouts, zucchini, summer squash, green beans, etc
grains: quinoa, spelt berries, wheat berries, brown rice, barley, pasta, etc
beans/legumes: lentils, black beans, chickpeas, etc
I chose to make a tortellini soup and a quinoa veggie soup.
Here are the next steps:
For the tortellini, I let the base cook for about 15 minutes in order to let the flavors blend together and then added some fresh tortellini from the grocery store. I added some salt and pepper and let it cook for another 3-4 minutes until it was done. Easy, right? I then served it with parmesan cheese and chives.
|the tortellini floats to the top when it’s done|
For the quinoa and veggie soup, I let the base cook for about 10 minutes and added 1/2 cup rinsed, uncooked quinoa. After 10 minutes, I also added 1 1/2 cups brussels sprouts, 1/2 a zucchini and about a cup of broccoli salt and pepper. After another 5 or so minutes the soup was done. Since I was taking antibiotics, I topped this soup with yogurt, but that is optional- it was actually very delicious though.