My favorite breakfast, my nearly everyday go-to is vegetable soup. It seems that every food book, diet or research paper I have found on food and disease, calls for more vegetables (especially the leafy green ones.) My husband and I have experimented with this soup for five years, adding and subtracting different spices and vegetables, trying different cooking methods. After all that experimentation, with small variations in spices, vegetables according to the season, and toppings, this is our daily soup. It might not look as glamorous or sound as sumptuous as other breakfast options, but this simple soup is satiating, satisfying and leaves us feeling amazing all day.
This soup has three main ingredient groups and three phases of cooking. I (or my husband who cooks most mornings) always start with fresh, whole, and as much as possible organic, ingredients.
It may seem obvious but wash everything thoroughly, there is nothing worse than getting bits of grit in your last spoonful of soup.
There is a lot of chopping to do, you can do this ahead of time, or see it as a bit of a morning meditation.
The first group of ingredients to go in the pot are the spices. Heat up the pot, add a bit of oil, then add the spices. This will allow their aroma and flavor to bloom. This morning I’m using ginger and garlic, but often I’ll add red pepper flakes or dried herbs. The next ingredient group to go in in the pot is the mirepoix (a French term for finely chopped onion, carrot, and celery). This morning I’m using onion, carrot, celery, and shiitake mushrooms along with several good pinches of salt and pepper. The final ingredient group is the vegetables. This morning I’m using kale, chard, and bok choy.
Once my pan is hot, my spices bloomed, and my mirepoix added I give everything a couple minutes to start cooking. Soon all these ingredients begin to caramelize creating the fond (the fond is made up of the reduced vegetable juices and brown bits in the bottom of the pan.)
As the juices on the sides of the pan become golden brown, I add the bone broth, along with enough water to cover the mirepoix with about and inch of liquid. When this comes to a boil I add the final ingredient group, the greens, and cook down for a couple minutes.
When the soup is cooked, I sometimes throw in an egg to poach in the broth or add a little pre-cooked chicken or fish, fresh pesto or even fax crackers. This is our favorite way to start the morning, and while sometimes I make vegetable frittatas or even salads with poached eggs, my husband and I make our seasonal vegetable breakfast soup at least five days a week.
VEGETABLE BREAKFAST SOUPCourse: Breakfast, SoupDifficulty: Easy
This soup is very versatile; use whatever veg you have on hand. Try different combinations to see what you like best. Try simple, limited ingredient versions, and ones with everything you can think of. Each time you make this soup it will be a little different, it changes with the season and what ingredients you have on hand. The flavor will also change with adjustments to the cooking time; if you sauté the aromatics (onions, celery, etc.) for longer, it will make for a deeper, more umami broth. If you cook everything for less time, you will have a brighter, crunchier soup.
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or your favorite healthy oil)
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh Ginger
*½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes *optional
1 tsp dried Herbs (oregano, parsley, margram, etc.) *optional
½ cup diced Onion
½ cup diced Celery
½ cup diced Carrot
¾ cup sliced Shiitake Mushroom
1 cup Crunchy Vegetables (see Notes)
2 cups Bone Broth, or Vegetable Broth
1 cup Water
4 packed cups, Leafy Vegetables (see Notes)
Salt & Pepper to taste
- Heat a good sized pot over medium-high heat, add Oil, then Garlic, Ginger, Pepper Flakes, and Oregano. Adjust heat so garlic doesn’t burn. Sauté just until you can smell the spices (about 2 minutes.)
- Now toss in the Onion, Celery, Carrot, and Mushroom. Let cook until the onions are translucent and the celery and carrots are softened (about 5 minutes.)
- Deglaze your pot by adding the Broth and Water. Now is the time to add your Crunchy Veg. Give everything a good stir and scrabble around on the bottom of the pan to loosen any tasty bits.
- Bring to a boil, then add your Leafy Veg. Turn heat down to medium and let everything simmer until done, about 10-15 minutes. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!
- There are 3 categories of veg to consider:
- The first is the flavor and aromatics. These are the base of your soup. They include the Mirepoix, Sofrito, or Holy Trinity - some combination or onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, tomato. Anything in the allium family; onions, garlic, leeks, shallots. Chives, and scallions/green onions are great too, but may be yummier added at the end. You can also experiment with herbs and spices; like fresh ginger, different herb blends, fresh herbs… the possibilities are varied and delicious!
- Second is the Crunchy Veg. Anything in the root vegetable family, turnip, rutabaga, daikon, celeriac, parsnip, sweet potato. More delicious ideas include peeled and chapped winter squash (butternut, kabocha, acorn, delicata, etc.), zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beans (make sure they are pre-cooked, the cooking time is too short to use dried.) These the category of vegetables that need a little more time to cook, and add more body, along with good carbohydrates, to your soup.
- The third category is Leafy Green Veg. These are all of you dark green leafies: kale, chard, mustard greens, dandelion greens, spinach, cabbage, choy, collards, etc. These add massive amounts of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and minerals. This category is full of nutrient super-stars.