We have hundreds of soup recipes on bbcgoodfood.com, from minestrone and miso, to chicken and chowder. Once you have your basic blend nailed, there are plenty of ways to garnish soup to ramp it up to the next level. We’ve picked seven nutritious ingredients that’ll give your bowl a healthy boost.
First, achieve soup perfection
We have lots of resources to help you get the basics right, so look through our recipes and guides to ensure you have a solid foundation for building your soup into something spectacular.
7 ways to super-charge soup
Crunchy almonds add texture as well as nutritional value to soup, and if you use a healthy, creamy soup recipe like smooth cauliflower as the base, the contrast of textures will be even more satisfying. Almonds are rich in protective vitamin E, especially if you eat them with their skins intact. The flavonoids found in the skin more than double vitamin E’s protective potency, giving you more bang for your buck.
If you want to add a mellowing agent to soup, you’re not restricted to using heavy double cream or crème fraîche. Bio yogurt is lower in fat, plus it’s great for the gut as it’s a fermented food. This is good news as the gut is where 60% of our immune defences lie, so eating bio yogurt regularly supports your resistance to viral and bacterial infection – time to grab a spoon and add a generous dollop. We like it on a chunky soup like this beef goulash with added fresh parsley.
Fresh citrus fruit such as limes are rich in vitamin C, essential for immune function. Vitamin C also boosts our absorption of iron from ingredients like lentils, so it’s a great addition to a veggie soup. Limes also help the liver to detoxify, making them a perfect choice if you feel you need to reboot your body after a bout of eating lots of rich food. The skin and zest are particularly potent, so if you can handle the tang, get grating. Lime works really well on soups with Mexican or Indian flavours, like this red lentil & coconut soup.
Unassuming nutmeg is packed with goodness. It has anti-microbial properties, plus it enhances digestion and stimulates appetite. Add a sprinkle or grating to taste – it has a strong flavour that isn’t to everyone’s liking. We think it works well with this carrot soup that also has nutmeg in the blend itself, plus ginger, which has a myriad of positive medicinal properties.
Fresh herbs are a winning ingredient, adding flavour and nutrition to a dish, yet barely any calories. Parsley doesn’t have an overbearing flavour, so can be used on all manner of soups, and it’s rich in immune-supportivng vitamin C, making it ideal for winter months. This super-green soup with extra parsley is about as healthy as it gets, being jam-packed with veggies and fresh turmeric. Another great thing about parsley is it’s price point – greengrocers, market stalls and international supermarkets often sell bunches of parsley for under a pound.
Add substance to soup without resorting to high-GI carbohydrates by using wholegrain rice. It’s a useful source of minerals, including zinc, which can help shorten the duration of a cold. It’s a perfect addition to thinner soups, like this bone broth. The chicken carcass used to make it still has a little meat on the bones, helping to create the jellified finish you’re after.
Seeds are a simple but effective way of adding an extra dose of goodness to soups (or indeed salads). A handful of pumpkin seeds a day will help you towards your recommended daily amount of zinc, which can help memory and brainpower as well as immunity. If you’re making pumpkin soup, you won’t even need to head to the wholefoods aisle as you can use the inside of your gourd. Our guide shows you how to prepare pumpkin seeds at home.
What do you like to add to your soup? Leave a comment below…
This page was last reviewed on 8 July 2019.
A qualified nutritionist (MBANT), Kerry Torrens is a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food magazine. Kerry is a member of the The Royal Society of Medicine, Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT).
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