The temps have dropped below zero here in Minnesota. And just in case you needed any more excuses here are 10 reasons to eat more soup in January.
Currently, as I prepare this, my family and I are on day 9 of a 12-day vacation visiting family for the holidays. This means we are all filled up with belated hugs, laughter around the table, too many screens, and impossibly delicious eats. If you did an autopsy on my body right now (that’s morbid but go with it), you’d find mostly cheese, sugar cookies, cocktails, and Chex mix. I am fine with this, happy in fact. This is what my body wants this time of year–love and home and Christmas music and twinkle lights and really tasty food.
But I am also fine with this because January is around the corner. And January is when I check back in with my body and learn what I need next. What does my body usually need in January?
Every year around this time, I look forward to turning the calendar and entering into Jan-SOUP-ary, a month when I fill our menu plan with as many soup recipes as I can. And every time I do, I am reminded why soup is exactly the soul-cleansing hug we need. So in case you, too, require a few reminders, here are 10 reasons to eat more soup in January.
- Warming. It’s Minnesota. In the winter. Do I need to explain this to you? Whether standing over the stove and breathing in the smells or sitting down to the table after a long day running around, soup is always warming from the inside out.
- Satisfying. One bowl can be filled with all the nutrients your body craves this time of year–vegetables for vitamins and fiber, protein for strength, water for hydration, filling whole carbs for energy.
- Gets better with time. Soup only improves the longer it sits. A giant pot made once can last all week. But warning, you might find it difficult to get through the morning dreaming about that warm bowl of soup. Also, if schedules with practices and meetings makes it challenging for everyone in your house to sit down at the same time, a pot of soup is the perfect meal waiting for you when you have the time to eat.
- Discourages waste. Soup is a great way to get rid of the sad bits and bobs in your refrigerator or pantry that are on the last days of their life. Broth brings them back to life and gives them purpose. Don’t we all wish this for our sad selves?
- Very forgiving. As mentioned above, soup handles substitutions quite well. If you find you added too many vegetables and proteins, add more broth. Don’t have the right vegetables, anything will do, plus, you might discover a new favorite!
- Versatile. Whether you’re hankering for a light, broth-based soup or a meaty chili, soup can hit the spot — creamy and smooth or chunky and rustic. Bland for an unsettled stomach or spicy for a bold appetizer, the possibilities are endless.
- Inexpensive. Making soup is a great way to stretch your ingredients—especially the more expensive ones like meat. A little bit goes a long way. Save bones and ends of vegetables to make your own stock. And, as mentioned in waste, extend the life of those sad celery and carrots and on their way out the door herbs by chopping them up into a soup.
- Always at the ready. I try to make a double or even triple batch of soup so that the meal can go into the freezer ready for a busy week. But this also allows for an easy meal at the ready for sharing. Throw together a salad and a crusty loaf of bread and you have a meal to share with loved ones. Pro tip, freeze soups in freezer bags laying flat, making it easier for thawing as well as storage in deep freezers like file folders.
- Family Friendly. My kids are your usual kids who scoff at some of my best made meals. I shrug this off and make soup anyway. But I always make sure there is bread and/or sliced fruit on the table to round out their measly spoonfuls. Pureed soups are fun for kids when you give them a straw (be sure to cool it WAY down.) Soup is a great meal for the early eaters as you can easily strain out broth and serve already bitesize pieces perfectly soft for them.
- Easy. This might just be the most important reason to cook more soup. Our lives are full. But we also have to eat. Most soups take a cutting board, knife, and a pot. It’s the ultimate one-dish meal. Easy prep and easy clean up. I can’t say that for much else in the house, but at least give yourself a break at the meal table.
You can call it Jan-SOUP-ary, Jan-STEW-ary, Happy Soup Year, or Soup-er Bowl season, or simply say enough with the puns just fill up my bowl. Either way, here are 10 of my favorite soups to prepare. They are full of whole foods, work great in a crockpot, freeze well, and can be easily substituted. Happy Souping!
Seven Ingredient Zuppa Toscana / Dairy&Grain Free Zuppa Toscana / Chicken Pot Pie Soup / Cuban Black Bean Soup / Detox Lentil Soup / White Chicken Chili / Butternut Squash Soup / Anything-You-Have Coconut Curry Soup / Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup / Roast Lemon Chicken Soup