Soup is a perfect winter meal. Adding something you can sink your teeth into brings it to the next nourishing level.
We seek out warmth during wintertime. We find it under cozy blankets, in front of blazing fires and over steaming bowls of satisfying, nourishing soup. Classic soups like tomato or chicken noodle are deliciously eternal, and they don’t need to change a bit. But sometimes we want to infuse our warm comfort food with just a little something more. Adding texture to a bowl of soup does just that. Here are four ideas to bring more bite to your bowl:
The list of crispy, crunchy soup toppers is as long as the myriad varieties of soup itself. To offer just a few possibilities:
--Salty tortilla strips are perfect on top of spicy soups or chilies.
--Toasted nuts like walnuts, almonds or pecans bring depth to vegetable soups like cauliflower.
--Croutons are a classic topper for French onion soup but are also a welcome textural contrast in pureed soups.
Not all textures need to involve our jaw muscles. A dollop of something creamy on top of a bowl of tomato soup or a whole-bean soup like black bean or “beans and greens” creates a pleasant creamy texture amid the plump bites and rich broth. In the “eat with your eyes” category, it also looks beautiful to swirl a spoonful of tangy yogurt or sour cream into a dark bowl of soup.
The supermarket shelves might not be teeming with fresh, local produce, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some fresh bites into your soup bowl. Greens like arugula add a peppery flavor to soup, and fresh herbs not only bring a pleasing sprinkle of green to the table, they offer a shot of flavor along with a crisp texture. My favorite soup herb is dill, which I add to chicken soup along with a squeeze of lemon to wake it right up.
Many soups—lentil, split pea,and bean soups come to mind—are rich in protein, which is nutrient-dense, low-fat and supremely satisfying. But to embrace soup as a meal, sometimes you crave an extra infusion of protein. Vegetable soups can always be elevated by a topping of sautéed shrimp or scallops, spicy soups can be cooled with a sliced avocado topping, and a crumble of savory bacon can bring an ordinary bowl into the “luxury” category.
How do you elevate your winter soups with texture?