When I prepare a meal for family and friends, I want to cook something that’s as easy as it is nutritious. One healthy vegetable soup with an Asian-inspired flavor hits all those notes, and lets each diner personalize his or her own bowl.
With a wide selection of fresh, healthy veggies you can add, this soup will help your family get 2 1/2 cups of vegetables a day—just what the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) recommends. The American Heart Association (AHA) adds that you should eat at least eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day, which this dish also helps you accomplish.
The protein in this meal comes from tofu, which is made from soybeans. If you haven’t worked with this ingredient before, don’t worry! If you can chop, you can make tofu. It works perfectly in this tasty recipe, which also happens to be vegan, gluten-free, and great for the environment. Not only does this plant-based meal minimize water usage and reduce greenhouse gases, as the Monday Campaigns points out, but it’s also bound to be the tastiest thing on the table.
Not only is ginger bright and flavorful, but it also has a number of its own health benefits. This is why it’s one of my favorite ingredients to incorporate into Asian-inspired meals. From helping with nausea, pain, and cold symptoms, studies show it may treat diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol.
Ginger looks intimidating, but it couldn’t be easier to use. Simply cut off as much of the root as you need and peel the outer skin with a paring knife. Then you’re free to chop, mince, or grate as much as you like.
- 64 oz. vegetable stock (two 32-oz. containers)
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. ginger, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. sriracha (optional)
- 1 package firm tofu, drained and chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Optional veggies to include: cabbage, pea pods, broccoli, bok choy, baby corn (seriously, whatever you like!)
How to Make It
For the Stock
Pour vegetable stock into a large soup pot and set the heat to medium-high. Add the soy sauce, onions, celery, garlic, ginger—and sriracha if you want some spice—and bring it to a boil. Once bubbling, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
For the Toppings
Take the tofu out of its container, give it a rinse, and extract the water out of the block. Wrap a paper towel around your tofu and squeeze it gently; you want to get rid of as much moisture as you can so the tofu will absorb the delicious flavors of the vegetable broth. Then, chop the tofu into bite-sized pieces.
Wash and chop the rest of your veggies and herbs (mushrooms, spinach, carrots, green onions, and cilantro) and lay them out on a clean cutting board.
My favorite thing about this healthy vegetable soup is that it’s completely customizable. Have your family each place two ladles full of the broth in their bowls and they can then add as much of the vegetables and tofu as they’d like. I prefer to add my tofu into the bowl first so it can soak up as much of the broth as possible. Then I top my soup with the green onions and cilantro, whose bright green color makes a welcoming visual to this yummy dish.
This Asian-inspired soup works with almost any vegetable, so please feel free to add any of your family’s favorite fresh ingredients to the mix to ensure everyone asks for seconds. If you’re pressed for time, you can save a few steps by omitting the added ingredients from the broth.
When it comes to leftovers, I always store my veggies in a reusable container to keep them fresh and crisp. But you can also throw the remaining tofu chunks and vegetables into the broth to save time and space. This allows you to enjoy two different dining experiences—fresh veggies and cooked veggies—with the same soup.
What vegetables do you like to put in your soup? Tell us on Twitter @TomsofMaine!
Images sources: Laurie Fanelli | Flickr
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