With temperatures getting cooler and the days shorter and shorter, we’re all looking for comfort and simplicity for the fall. In this article, we put the spotlight on main dish soups. Easy to make, satisfying and versatile, they’ll inspire you for your next meal. From traditional to Asian, there’s a soup for everyone. Discover all the delicious main dish soup recipes that will get you through the chilliest of days.
The base: a flavorful broth
First of all, a good main dish soup should start with a tasty and richly flavoured broth. It’ll enhance the ingredients you add and provide the flavour guideline for your soup.
How to make a zero waste veggie broth
Among the classic soup broths is vegetable. You can be creative choosing your vegetables and make zero waste. The easiest way to create your own vegetable broth is to keep a bag of your favourite veggies in the freezer. Put carrots, celery, onions, garlic, herbs, potatoes, mushrooms, turnips and whatever else you want into the bag. The mish mash promises an excellent broth. Once you’ve got all the veggies you want, empty the in your freezer bag into a pot, cover with water, simmer for an hour, season, put through a sieve and enjoy! And remember that vegetable broth freezes well in a Mason jar for 3 to 6 months.
How to make a zero waste chicken broth
When it comes to chicken broth, it’s practically the same as making veggie broth. Simply replace veggie leftovers with chicken bones. It’s a great way to get the most out of a whole chicken because you waste nothing and get a truly flavourful broth!
If you don’t have much time, several ready-made broths are available at the grocery store. You’ll find beef, chicken, mushroom and veggie (often in low-sodium versions). They’re ready to enhance your main dish soups.
Different kinds of protein to add to dish soups
Silken tofu (also called soft tofu) is a great addition to any soup. In cream soups, simply blend in a food processor until you get a smooth and silky texture. In this type of broth, take inspiration from the famous miso soup where cubed silken tofu is the star. A 300 g block provides about 17 g of protein.
A really simple way to consume more legumes is to include them in hearty soups. Think pea soup, fava bean soup, dhal (Indian lentil soup) or the classic minestrone with red kidney beans. Legumes are a really interesting addition to main dish soups because they’re an excellent source of protein, enhanced by their fibre content in your recipe. For example, a can of red kidney beans provides about 21 g of protein and 15 g of fibre. Red lentils are also beneficial because they don’t require soaking and cooking quickly (about 25 minutes). You can estimate 1/2 cup (125 ml) of red lentils for a pot of soup which represents 25 g of protein.
Eggs can be a nice last-minute addition to a main dish soup. Simply halve a hard-boiled egg and put it on top of a bowl of ramen. Add scrambled eggs to a hot broth to give a silky texture to Asian-style soups. Finally, a poached or soft-boiled egg on top of cream soups can take smoothness to another level. Adding an egg to your soup recipe will increase protein content by 6 g.
People often appreciate leftover cooked chicken (18 g of protein in 1/2 cup) in soup noodles. Fondue-style, thinly sliced beef is indispensable in Tonkinese soups (21 g of protein for 10 slices). Mini ground pork meatballs (85 g of protein for 1 lb of raw ground pork) can be cooked in broth or used in won tons. In addition to clam chowder and lobster bisque, seafood set on a rich velouté will impress any guest (ex. creamed corn and northern shrimp, butternut squash and mussel) and add about 12 g of protein for a 90 g serving.
Go ahead – Add veggies!
Now that you’ve chosen the broth and protein for your main dish soup, it’s time to add some veggies to make a balanced meal. Of course, not all veggies are ideal for soups. We’re talking about things like cucumber, lettuce, avocados and several others. So here are a few veggie families that do go well in lots of different kinds of main dish soups.
Root veggies: They need to be cooked for a while, so are perfect for main dish soups that simmer for a long time. Being in season in the fall makes them great for comfort food. You’ll find celeriac, turnip, beets, carrots and parsnip at your local market as soon as they’re in season. Root vegetables are also another way to consume more veggies in the cold months.
Potatoes: Sweet or Yukon, they add texture to soups. Cube them and add directly to your soup or use a food processor to make it thick and creamy. As well as fighting cholesterol, sweet potatoes add gorgeous colour to your main dish soups.
Garden vegetables: For a little freshness in your main dish soup, it’s easy to add zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, squash, cabbage, peppers and lots more. Managing your crops properly will help you create great soups. If you don’t have a green thumb and gardening’s not your thing, don’t worry. Public markets offer a great variety of fresh in-season veggies. Just let yourself the harvest of the day inspire you!
A few recipes ideas for inspiration
Classic dish soups
Well-known to many, these main dish soups are classics in many homes because they’re the epitome of comfort food. To be made and enjoyed on grey days as a complete meal or serve in smaller portions as a just-as-delicious appetizer!
- Beef and barley soup
- Minestrone revisited
- Chicken and vegetable dish soup
- Split pea soup
- Clam chowder
- Corn chowder*ajouter une protéine (exemple homard ou crabe) pour une soupe plus nourrissante
Slow cooker dish soups
Don’t have time to make a complete meal? No problem! It’s also possible to make hearty main dish soups in a slow cooker. How? Mix together all the ingredients in the slow cooker, let simmer for 4 to 7 hours, then enjoy!
- Mexican beef soup for freezer bags
- Beer and cheese soup
- Hearty vegetable and bean soup
- Spicy and sweet potato bean soup
- Italian chicken, quinoa, and vegetable soup
Asian main dish soups
Feel like changing things up and discovering new flavours? You’ll travel to China, Thailand and right up to Japan with these Oriental main dish soups. Discover what miso, fish sauce, ginger and edamame add to them.
- Mushroom ramen soup
- Thai red lentil soup
- Hearty chinese soup
- Oriental soup
- Miso noodle soup with edamame
Vegetarian dish soups
Discover plant proteins with these vegetarian soup recipes!
- Moroccan red lentil vegetarian soup
- Barley and lentil soup
- Spicy lentil soup
- Thai tofu soup
- Tempeh tomato vegetable soup
- Sweet potato and bean soup
Unsual dish soups
Who said that a main dish soup had to be savoury? For a good portion of fruit, why not try a sweet version? Here are 2 smoothie bowl recipes that will help start your day on a full stomach. Smoothies are an interesting alternative to consuming even more fruits and veggies on a daily basis. Concocting a complete smoothie is an art to master.
A few tricks to be a dish soup pro
To store leftover soup or just to make meals ahead of time for those busy days, the freezer is the idea way to store soup. In reusable dishes or mason jars, make sure you leave enough space for the liquid to expand and avoid unpleasant surprises.
You can also freeze homemade broth in ice cube trays, then pop them into freezer bags. This way, you can more easily control the amount of broth you add to your soups.
To save even more time, Arctic Gardens’ frozen vegetables can be really easily added to many main dish soups. They’ll be ready in just a few minutes thanks to these easy tricks.
The key: creativity
Missing a few ingredients to make one of the above-mentioned recipes? No problem! There are no specific rules: The key to a good main dish soup is creativity. So try mixing several different ingredients, textures, spices – nothing is off limits.
For a quick hassle-free meal, try the eat-all-your-leftovers soup concept. As well as reducing food waste, your eat-all-your-leftovers soup will always be original.
Are onions, squash, carrots, baby potatoes, celery and tomatoes taking up a lot of space in the fridge or aren’t as fresh as you’d like? Throw them all into a pot with your favourite homemade broth for a quick, delicious and easy soup.
Now that you know all about homemade broths, proteins and veggies, you’re ready to invent the best main dish soups for the fall and coming winter. Let’s get cooking!
For even more about veggies and practical advice, read Salad guide 101: A whole lot of freshness!