Best soup topping ideas
Spruce up a humble bowl of soup with tasty toppings. As well as adding flavour and texture, these additions bring nutrients that’ll help support your immunity
We have hundreds of soup recipes on bbcgoodfood.com, from minestrone and miso, to chicken and chowder. Once you have your basic blend sorted, there are plenty of ways to garnish soup to amp it up to the next level. We’ve picked 10 ingredients that make great toppings, to take your soups from easy weeknight meals to something to get excited about.
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We have lots of resources to help you get the basics right, so check out our recipes and guides to ensure you have a solid foundation for building your soup into something spectacular.
10 tasty soup topping ideas
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 per cent 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 finished with fresh parsley.
Croutons are a great addition to any soup as they contrast the creamy texture. While croutons are usually made from fried bread, like in our delicious crab bisque with lemony croutons, they can also be made from other foods such as goat’s cheese – check out our watercress & celeriac soup with goat's cheese croutons.
Soups can make great starters when entertaining, and adding parmesan as a topping elevates many soups to give them that stylish finish. Try our creamy artichoke soup with parmesan skins for an ultra-silky texture, where the parmesan skins give it a beautiful added crunch, or try our pea, mint & spring onion soup with parmesan biscuits, serve your soup with parmesan ‘tuiles’ for added elegance.
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-supporting vitamin C, making it ideal for winter months. Throw together this comforting and creamy cauliflower soup for lunch or a light supper. It's perfect topped with parsley and served with crusty bread. Another great thing about parsley is its price point – greengrocers, market stalls and international supermarkets often sell bunches of parsley for under a pound.
Adding chorizo as a soup topping is a great way to add salty smokiness. Try our red lentil & chorizo soup for a rustic blend flavoured with paprika and cumin. Topped with yogurt, olive oil and chorizo, you get an extra burst of flavour from the sausage.
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.
A spoonful of pesto drizzled over the top of your classic tomato soup adds an extra layer of herby flavour. It's also great for using up any stray herbs languishing in the fridge. Simply whizz them up with nuts, olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and some nuts for an instant sauce. Pine nuts are a classic and also help lower blood glucose levels. Check out our guide to the top 10 healthiest nuts for more information. Try our 11 alternative pesto recipes for more herby inspiration.
Topping your soup with a runny soft-boiled egg is the perfect way to get a hit of umami flavour and an extra dose of protein. Eggs are an inexpensive way to add a nutrient-rich ingredient to your lunch. Read up on our top 5 health benefits of eggs and learn what else you can get from this budget-friendly staple.
A spoonful of creamy guacamole is the perfect topping to balance out a spicy bean soup. Avocados are nutritionally rich and count towards one of your five-a-day. Read up on our top 5 health benefits of avocado to discover more nutritional secrets.
What do you like to add to your soup? Leave a comment below...
This page was last reviewed on 2 October 2023.
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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