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Tips for Making Healthy and Hearty
A bowl of hearty vegetable soup is not only healthy, but it's the ultimate comfort food on a cold winter evening. It's a quick and easy way to get your recommended vegetable quota. Plus, preparation can be simple and hassle free if you use a slow cooker or crock pot. You'll find a variety of basic recipes for preparing hearty vegetable soup in cookbooks and on the internet. Here are some tips to make your hearty, healthy vegetable soup even more crowd pleasing and delicious:
Use the freshest of ingredients
Vegetable soup tastes best when you start with the freshest of vegetables. If you have a farmer's market, pick up some fresh, preferably organic, vegetables to use in your soup. Wash and chop your vegetables as soon as you get home and bag them until you're ready to make your soup. If tomatoes aren't in season, canned tomatoes will taste almost as good as fresh ones.
Vary your vegetables
To add to the health value of your soup and give yourself some variety, experiment with a variety of vegetables. Some suggestions include lima beans, corn, carrots, okra, black-eyed peas, cannelloni beans, cabbage, turnips, beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips, spinach, kale, and any other fresh vegetable that strikes your fancy. There's no end to the variations of vegetable soup you can make by creating new vegetable combinations.
Consider your broth
When making vegetable soup, you can use beef, vegetable, chicken broths or even water for the base. Beef bouillon adds an additional meaty flavor to fresh vegetable soup. Try different bases and see which ones appeal to you the most.
Pump up the taste with herbs
If you're using fresh herbs, you're going to need to add more to your soup than you would if using dried herbs. This is because fresh herbs have a higher water content which dilutes out some of the flavor. You can add a variety of herbs to vegetable soup to give it more flavor but it's best to stick to two or three in any one recipe. Some suggestions include rosemary, marjoram, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, dill, and parsley. These can really add to the flavor and allow you to cut down on the amount of unhealthy salt you use.
Ways to add additional flavor
There are a variety of ways to add additional flavor to hearty vegetable soup. You can mimic the French by adding a spoonful of basil pesto to a bowl of soup before serving it or sprinkle it with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Some people even enjoy a spoonful of sour cream on top of a bowl of vegetable soup. You can also serve vegetable soup with a sprinkling of fresh croutons on top to add additional interest and flavor.
Why not make a large quantity of hearty vegetable soup and freeze it for use at a later time? It's a meal that's healthy and your whole family can enjoy.
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