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Ready, Set, Soup: Essential Ingredients to Have on Hand

Whether rich and luxurious or simple and sustaining, soup is one of the most popular meals on the planet. It’s my go-to lunch three seasons of the year, often consisting of no more than a variety of leftovers from the fridge anchored by a flavorful broth and spiked with a shot of hot sauce. Delicious! What ingredients make for an excellent soup? A selection of seasonal vegetables are always a hit, as are hearty whole grains and a variety of fresh (or leftover!) proteins. Beyond that, here are my top suggestions for outfitting your pantry.

Whether rich and luxurious or simple and sustaining, soup is one of the most popular meals on the planet. It’s my go-to lunch three seasons of the year, often consisting of no more than a variety of leftovers from the fridge anchored by a flavorful broth and spiked with a shot of hot sauce. Delicious!

What ingredients make for an excellent soup? A selection of seasonal vegetables are always a hit, as are hearty whole grains and a variety of fresh (or leftover!) proteins. Beyond that, here are my top suggestions for outfitting your pantry.

Homemade Vegetable Broth
Hearty Minestrone Soup

Great broth — Most soups are anchored by a stock or broth, and one with depth of flavor (not just a lot of salt) is key. Buy a quality one, or simmer up a batch of your own. Try an easy chicken or mushroom broth, or our versatile Homemade Vegetable Broth

Beans — Beans are one of those can’t-miss additions to soups. They’re packed with protein, and their creamy texture and earthy flavor is spot-on for everything from a refined purée to a rustic, chunky meal-in-a-bowl. We feature two types of beans in our Hearty Minestrone Soup.

Lentils — They’re some of the world’s most famous soup stars, and with good reason: Just add water and your favorite seasonings and you could have a pot of thick, nourishing soup in around 30 minutes. This Turkish Red Lentil Soup is one of the best of its kind.

Potatoes — Not only do they add flavor and texture, potatoes also act as a natural thickener to give soups great body and mouth feel. They feature prominently in the wildly popular Cheddar, Corn and Potato Chowder.

Red Beans and Rice Soup
Miso Soup with Shrimp and Broccoli

Coconut — The luscious nut continues its current dominance of just about everything culinary, and soups are no exception. Use coconut milk as a dairy-free enrichment for chowders, try coconut water as an alternative to stock or broth, and use grated coconut as a garnish. Coconut, Carrot and Chickpea Soup reaps flavor from both coconut oil and coconut milk.

Frozen vegetables — A good selection of quality, frozen veggies are ideal to fall back on when you’re in a pinch. Hearty greens, sweet-corn kernels, bell peppers and okra are all winners. This satisfying recipe uses frozen collards deliciously: Red Beans and Rice Soup.

Miso — This rich, savory, umami-packed paste mixes with water or broth to produce a wonderful base for soups. It’s outstanding for imparting depth of flavor to light soups like our Miso Soup with Shrimp and Broccoli.

Fun garnishes — I love toasted pumpkin seeds, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh herbs, flavored oils or a cool dollop of Greek yogurt on my soups. I also can’t resist deliciously crunchy croutons.

How do you stock your pantry for your favorite soups? Share you cooking tips and shopping suggestions in the comments section below.

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