Fall is the season for cool, crisp air, autumn leaves, and your favorite comfort foods and flavors. The season brings an abundance of delicious vegetables that make healthy eating easy and enjoyable.
One of the simplest ways to take advantage of fall produce is to make a tasty batch of soup. It's easier than you might think. Plus, whipping up a warm bowl of soup at home means you can control the fat and sodium levels.
A hearty and wholesome soup begins with a vegetable base consisting of carrots, onions and celery. If you have other veggies on hand, feel free to toss those in, too.
Build the broth and create mouthwatering flavor by adding herbs, spices and acids such as vinegar or lemon juice. Use the basic formula below to create the base for three tasty soups: butternut squash, lentils and vegetable barley.
Save time by pre-roasting the squash and boiling the lentils and barley in advance.
Follow these simple steps to make delicious fall soups at home:
- Saute the vegetables. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of canola oil and chopped carrots, onions and celery. Stir frequently to caramelize the vegetables. Once they start to brown and give off a nice aroma, lower the heat to a simmer.
- Add broth and herbs. Add low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth to the pot, and toss in fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, sage or oregano. Let the broth simmer for at least 20 minutes and then add in your additional vegetables, grains or legumes. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
- Spice it up. To create more flavor or add a little heat, add more spices such as cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, ginger or curry powder. If you're looking to add fall flavor, try using cinnamon or nutmeg.
- Balance the flavors. If your soup is tasty but it feels like something is missing, you may need to add a touch of acidity. A splash of vinegar, white wine, or lime or lemon juice can balance the flavors.
It's a good idea to cook soup in large quantities, so you have enough to freeze some. That way, you'll have a delicious, healthy meal at the ready on those nights when you don't have time or simply aren't in the mood to cook.