Skip to main content


Latest Posts

Monday, February 25 2008

Soup, properly made, is one of the healthiest and most enjoyable styles of cooking. While most canned soups are way too high in fats and salt, when you make it yourself, you can get the nutrition without much of the bad stuff. You can create hundreds of tasty and healthy meals using this outline of the basic steps for making healthy soups. Learn the basics and enjoy the rewards for life.

The Base: We're going for simple and easy, here, so, instead of figuring out all the perfect soup base ingredients, let's just use bouillon cubes. They're cheap and easy to use. Just add 3 cubes to a gallon of water in a 6 quart Dutch oven or large pot. Use Chicken cubes for poultry soups and beef cubes for beef, lamb or pork. Get the water to start boiling before adding anything but the cubes. Your ingredients determine when to start the base. For example, a meat and vegetable soup can cook for 1 hour, but if bony meats and dried beans are included, it could take 2.5 hours. Actual prep time is about 30-60 minutes...the rest is simmering time.

The Bones: For bones (like left-over turkey, ox tails, etc.), start the base 1/2 hour early and boil the bones, then cool and remove edible parts to return to soup. Bones and shells are O.K. in soup if you warn people when serving.

Dried Beans, Rice, Noodles, etc: The dried stuff determines how long your soup will take to cook. Over 2 hours for dried beans, one hour for lentils, dried peas or rice, 45 minutes for noodles. I keep a variety of all that stuff in the pantry because I never know what I want to add until I'm's usually 3-4 different things. A total of one cup of dried stuff usually gives the soup a solid quality. If you like thinner soups, this is where to do the thinning.

Meat: 1 pound of meat is usually plenty for this size soup. cut in 1/4" by 2" strips. Some meats can be cooked ahead and shredded using 2 forks, for a different texture. Raw meat should be added to the soup to cook about 45 minutes.

Vegetables: Make sure to include 8-10 cups of raw vegetables. My main 3 vegetables are carrots, celery and onions. Any vegetable will work, so be creative. Always press and chop 3-6 buttons of fresh garlic to add. It's a great flavor and aroma enhancer and it is very good for you. Fresh vegetables should be added to cook the last 30 minutes, except green beans (45 min) and leafy vegetables (10 min).

Spices: Most people add spices way too early, cooking off all their flavor. Spices should be added the last 15-30 minutes if you want to notice their contribution to the flavor of the soup. I use a lot of dried basil, fennel seeds, parsley flakes and fresh ground black pepper. This is an area of personal taste, though, so, follow my Mom's advice. "It's easier to put it in than to take it out." Because the Bouillon cubes have enough salt, you should not add more.

If you follow this basic recipe, you can make an unlimited variety of soups. I've used this system for about 10-15 batches of soup per year for over 15 years. Using whatever we had at the time, none of the soups were the same, but all were enjoyed. Soup is one of the easiest ways to stretch the food dollar. The ingredients I listed cost about $ 0.50 per serving.

Wow, health, creativity and economy all poured into one bowl. Enjoy!

Glen Williams is Webmaster at E-Health-Fitness Nutrition Exercise And Illness Help and Founder of E-Home Fellowship (EHF), Co.

He has counseled and helped people on life and health issues since 1987. You can comment on his articles at his Health And Fitness Forums.

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:26 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

Post comment
Email Address

(max 750 characters)
* Required Fields
Note: All comments are subject to approval. Your comment will not appear until it has been approved.