With schools closed and people sticking close to home for precautionary reasons, families are probably looking for a hearty, healthy meal to hold them over, but also to keep them feeling a hundred percent, so why not a classic bowl of vegetable soup?
Vegetable soup is one of those meals that always seems to be a great pick-me-up. From promoting good sleep to providing water-soluble vitamins and minerals, vegetable soup also helps keep the immune system working.
According to MSG Dish, research has shown that the protein in chicken and antioxidants in vegetables can help the body make virus-killing antibodies.
Also, a healthy soup provides an easy way to digest the nutrients the body needs, especially when sick. Soup is the perfect “comfort food” not just because it’s so easily digested but also, according to some food scientists, soup’s close appearance to baby food is a big reason to eat it when someone’s ill.
When making vegetable soup, the best vessel would be a deep cooking pot — the deeper, the better. Another choice could be a heavy-duty dutch oven.
A dutch oven is perfect for long, roaring boils of liquids. Either pick will do — the bigger the pot, though, the more soup can be prepared.
What vegetables work best?
With a large amount of vegetables to choose from, the options are endless. In order to have a hearty soup, start with a few cans of tomato sauce. The tomato sauce gives the soup that deep, rich red color that is synonymous with vegetable soup. Optional: in order to bring more flavor to the base, a cook can always add a few bottles of vegetable juice. Also try adding a few cans of cut tomatoes. They bring a different texture and adds more flavor to the soup. After picking the foundation of your vegetable soup, what vegetables should a cook pick?
Some of the favorites are corn, carrots, sweet peas, lima beans, green beans, potatoes, onions, green bell peppers and cabbage. Fresh produce is best, but if in a pinch or food is limited — like now — canned vegetables work just as well. In fact, canned vegetables bring a sweetness to the soup.
Making the soup
Start cooking off the onions and green bell peppers in a pot with oil, until translucent. After cooking down the onions and green bell peppers, salt and pepper to ensure the soup is flavored. Spices can vary, but any Cajun or Creole seasoning works well to bring a bold, spicy flavor that cuts through the acid of the tomato and sauce.
Next, with the base bubbling, add the vegetables and bring to a boil.
After an hour of cooking, add potatoes and cabbage.
When softened, turn down heat and simmer. The longer the vegetables and sauce simmer, the better and bolder the flavor will be. Now that the soup is done, time to enjoy a bowl (or two). Eat on its own or with crackers.
A slice or two of grilled cheese can complement a bowl of vegetable soup. Sit down, get comfy and enjoy the meal.