Vegetarian Soups

Scientific research shows that a vegetarian lifestyle improves your health and increases your life. Vegetarian soups and meals are becoming more popular in both the home and restaurant settings. Restaurant owners and franchises are responding to the increased demand by their customers for a healthier alternative.

Becoming a vegetarian decreases your risk for heart disease, stroke and cancers. And preparing soups and meals are not difficult. Incorporating vegetarian soups and meals into your lifestyle not only improves your health but also doesn’t require a long-term adjustment.

Vegetarian soups are a great option when you are entertaining or when you are preparing a meal for your family. Warm soups are great for appetizers and sophisticated chilled vegetarian soups are a wonderful addition in the summer months. Soups can be a great one-bowl meal with plenty of crusty bread. You can even use a dense crusty bread as the bowl itself.

Traditional soups and meals often include meats and animal by-products such as sour cream, gelatins or cheeses. But vegetarian soups can be hearty and delicious without the addition of meat and animal by-products.

Soups can also be inexpensive, high in protein, high in fiber and very nutritious. Because of the food combinations you can often have a soup that is filling, mouth-watering and is full of the nutrients you need. Vegetarian soups can be served as an appetizer, snack, side dish, main course or over rice as a large meal. Try using these principles when you prepare a soup such as Lentil soup.

Lentils are inexpensive and a great protein. They are are versatile enough to be turned into a vegetable stew. You can use vegetable stock instead of water to add a rich taste without overpowering the flavor. Vegetable stock can be made when you are soaking and boiling beans or vegetables and then saved for use later when you are making vegetable soups.

Just remember that the stock is the base for the soup and the richer and more flavorful the stock the better the soup will taste.

Next come the vegetables. Green beans are an addition that should be snapped and not cut. Also, do not use frozen or previously cooked beans because they will become mush. Potatoes should be diced into large pieces so they don’t cook too quickly. Although potatoes do add texture to vegetarian soups on two levels; they thicken the broth and add some contrasting firmness.

Other vegetables you can add to vegetarian soups are diced eggplant, diced onions, medium cauliflower florets or medium broccoli florets. Don’t grind broccoli into the soup and don’t add until the last 15 minutes of cooking. Cauliflower florets hold up better in soups than does the broccoli.

When you consider the vegetables for your soup don’t add delicate things like peas, celery or lettuce. The goal is to add texture to the soup and contrasting firmness.

Vegetarian soups are robust and full of flavor. They are an addition to your meal or the meal itself. Either way soup adds nutrients to your diet and you don’t even know you’re eating healthy!
RESOURCES

Eating Well: Easy Vegetarian Soup Recipes
http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/easy_vegetarian_soup_recipes
Better Homes and Gardens: Our Best Vegetarian Soup Recipes
http://www.bhg.com/recipes/soup/vegetarian-soup-chili/vegetarian-soup-recipes/
Real Simple: 41 Easy Vegetarian Recipes
http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/healthy-meals/easy-vegetarian-recipes-00000000037312/
CountryLIving: Vegetarian soups recipes
http://www.countryliving.com/cooking/about-food/vegetarian-soup-recipes#slide-1

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