The fall and winter seasons are perfect for cooking and eating hearty soups. Soups warm your body and soul, and are a delicious way to incorporate your recommended daily servings of vegetables. If you’re trying to avoid excessive salt, heavy cream, flour, or cornstarch, OR if you’re looking for gluten-free, low-carbohydrate or dairy-free substitutes, don’t worry: With Tommy’s 10 tips, you don’t have to choose between super tasty and super healthy the next time you make soup!
Healthy, or Tasty? Why not both!
At Tommy’s, we believe you deserve both. That’s how we do vegetables and we think when it comes to making meals super tasty and super healthy, no category of food should be off the table!
During the cold months, nothing is better than thick, hearty stews. Here are a few of Tommy’s favorite tips for making thick, delicious soups, without skimping on nutrition:
Our 9 Tips for Making Healthy Soups
Tip #1 – Thicken your soup with… your soup!
Partially pureeing your soup is an easy way to add thickness without any extra ingredients. Take about 1/3 of the broth and vegetables from your pot of soup and blend them up! You can puree a little less or a lot more, depending on your personal preference. Do this and you can convert just about any soup into a hearty, chunky masterpiece!
Tip #2 – Add richness, without the roux.
When French chefs started thickening their soups with roux (flour mixed with oil or butter), they definitely were onto something. But, how do we capture that same feeling without using those ingredients? We recommend stirring in mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, due to their rich and buttery texture.
Tip #3 – Avoid carbohydrates and add texture with lentils!
If you want the richness of potatoes without the additional carbs, swapping lentils as a thickener is a great idea. Adding beans to your soups adds an extra dose of fiber and protein that will keep you healthy and strong through the cold winter months. Simmered long enough, lentils will plump up and break apart on their own, adding texture and thickness to just about any soup. Red lentils are especially great for this!
Tip #4 – Roll out the rolled oats!
Rolled oats will thicken your soup and add an extra helping of fiber. If you’re following a gluten-free diet, using oats that are labeled as gluten-free make this a great alternative to other flour-based thickeners.
Tip #5 – Give your cow a break and use coconut milk!
You probably don’t have a cow, but skipping the dairy products and using coconut milk or coconut cream can still be a smart move! Coconut milk is smooth and rich with a touch of sweetness, but without an overpowering coconut flavor. Next time, try substituting it for heavy cream or milk.
Tip #6 – Go nuts with unsweetened nut butter!
Give nut butter (like almond or cashew) a try as a thickener. Cashew butter has a very mild flavor and is a complementary addition to curries. You’ll also get an extra boost of protein which is helpful when following a plant-based diet. For best results, we recommend stirring in nut butters when your soup is nearly done simmering.
Tip # 7 – On a corn cleanse? Try arrowroot flour.
If you’re minimizing corn in your diet, arrowroot powder can be a good swap for cornstarch. Arrowroot flour is flavorless and is made from dried tubers. Also, it’s both gluten-free and grain-free. What’s not to love?
Tip #8 – Reduce, reduce, reduce.
If you’re starting your soup off with a vegetable stock or chicken stock, most have a significant quantity of water. To make your soup thicker without adding other ingredients, simmer your stock for an extended period so that more water evaporates. Do this before adding any other ingredients. Keep in mind that by reducing the amount of water, the soup’s flavors (including any salt added to store-bought stock) will become more concentrated.
Tip #9 – Avoiding salt? Remember that spice is nice.
We admit it. We’re a little biased about this one: Tommy’s believes in letting the vegetables do the talking, which is why our products are all low in sodium, not flavor.
One of the benefits of making soup at home is that you have 100% control over the ingredients you use. Many canned and packaged soups have high amounts of sodium, and that can be bad for your health. So skip the salt and experiment with herbs and spices instead! Whether it’s rosemary, thyme, cayenne pepper or turmeric, you’ll be infusing your soup with healthy ingredients that taste great.
Get Your Soup On… The Tommy’s Way!
When the cold weather strikes, be prepared for making a pot of delicious hot soup. In addition to keeping staples like low-sodium stock on hand, you’ll also want a choice of protein, and vegetables. While fresh vegetables require additional preparation and cooking time, using frozen vegetables will save you time, and that means less waiting before sitting down to enjoy your meal!
Here at Tommy’s, our wholesome, user-friendly flash frozen vegetable mixtures are not only good to eat, but they’re good for you. They’re tasty, healthy, and easy. Pick up a few packages the next time you’re at the grocery store, and let us transform a quick and easy meal into a delicious lunch or dinner that everyone in the family is sure to enjoy.
Do you have nutritious and delicious soup recipes to share? Let us know in the comments section or on social media!