By Nicole Chaszar, Founder and CEO of Splendid Spoon
The last few weeks of summer always leave me feeling a little exhausted – the heat, the social obligations, the feeling that you have to ‘make the most’ of those final beach days. As soon as the weather cools down, I start looking forward to cozy nights with my nearest and dearest, and new recipes that require a little more time on the stovetop. Our one recent cold snap had me downright giddy for soup and all its warming goodness. It’s official: soup season is on its way, and it's only just begun — so below are my tips for making every spoonful, well, splendid.
1. First things first: Pick the best veggies for souping.
This is harvest season, so your options will be beautifully diverse at the farmers market. Just like getting dressed, start from the bottom and layer up.
The base is aromatics, and will give your soup lasting flavor, so go for onions, leeks, or garlic, and grab some fresh herbs.
The woody-stemmed herbs like thyme and rosemary will hold up nicely against the richer flavors of fall vegetables.
Next up, think about the body of your soup.
I love orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, or any squash because the starch in these complex carbohydrates helps smooth out the texture of just about any soup. Orange vegetables are high in beta-carotene, which is fantastic for soup because cooking increases its bioavailability (the amount that can be absorbed and used by your body) by 85%.
Then, I reach for a few complementary ingredients to brighten those deep fall flavors.
I almost always grab a few seasonal fruits for their vitamin C and pectin, which is an insoluble fiber that swells up in your gut and keeps you fuller longer. The apple and pear trees in NY, where I live, just hit their peak, so there is a plethora of flavor options: sweet Jonah Gold apples, creamy Bartlett pears, and sweet-tart Northern Spy apples are all great options for soup. And keep the skin when you cook! That’s where the pectin is, as well as the powerful flavanoids that act as antioxidants in our bodies.
2. Double up on everything you pick up at the farmers market for your fall soups.
Once the weather dips from crisp to arctic, you won’t venture out as frequently and this is a good time to make bigger batches of soup. Freeze the leftovers and look forward to reheating your homemade creations in the dead of winter. As a bonus, freezing preserves nutrients so you’ll get flavors AND nutrients in top form.
3. Once you have your stockpile of fall soups, plan out your favorite way to spoon.
At Splendid Spoon we are huge proponents of souping in a way that works for your schedule and your body. This can mean a single soup cleanse day each week, 2-3 soup cleanse days each month, or simple soup swaps to replace a meal with soup every day. Regular souping is fantastic for warding off colds and keeping your immune system in check. Souping means you’ll stay fuller on fewer calories, and research has also shown that even moderate calorie restriction can improve cellular immunity. And if you’re already succumbing to a cold? Eat that soup with abandon! Nutrient-dense, fiber-rich vegetables promote a healthy bacterial balance: one of the body’s first lines of defense against invaders.
And don’t worry, if your idea of autumn recreation is more along the lines of leaf peeping and touch football playing, we have you covered with clean, plant-based soups on SplendidSpoon.com. We deliver right to your doorstep throughout the continental US. Happy spooning!
Nicole Chaszar, founder and chef of The Splendid Spoon, launched in 2011 to give the more than 75% of Americans who don't eat enough vegetables — mostly because they take too long to prepare — a convenient and delicious way to get their daily dose. Her mission is to make it easier for people to consume healthy, plant-based foods every day.
Beginning at age four, Nicole delighted in foraging for wild carrots and berries with her mother every summer, and picking vegetables from the garden to make vegetable stew, zucchini bread, and pesto with her grandmother every winter. Honing her passion for healthy, seasonal food with every recipe, she spent countless hours in the kitchen whipping up dishes using garden-fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs that tasted as good as they were for you.
Prior to launching The Splendid Spoon, Nicole trained at the French Culinary Institute where she completed the Classic Culinary program in 2010. She has also cooked in esteemed NYC restaurants, and has taught cooking and nutrition classes at Columbia University. Nicole’s passion for fresh and simple food has garnered media attention throughout New York City and in national publications, including bon appetit and Reader's Digest. Her sunny disposition and easy style sensibility have made her a favorite with bloggers and photographers. Nicole lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with her husband and two young boys.