Winter doesn’t have to mean making soup out of frozen or imported veggies.
“It’s true, you can’t get sweet-smelling corn or warm, sun-ripened berries at the farmer’s market in January, but the increase in greenhouse and hydroponic farms has been a boon to the fresh vegetable market,” says Nicole Chaszar, founder of Splendid Spoon, a Brooklyn-based company that provides weekly plant-based soup meal plans. “Tomatoes, sprouts and nearly every variety of lettuce are grown in greenhouses and can be found at markets throughout the city.”
And a winter soup also doesn’t have to be flavored with heavy cream to be satisfying, either.
“Always the easier way to make something taste good is to add animal fat to it, but it’s really interesting how simple cooking techniques will bring out some nuance and flavor to pretty much any vegetable,” Chaszar says.
Chaszar likes adding dried mushrooms, like shiitake or porcini, to a vegetable base for a meaty flavor, using high-fat nuts instead of a dairy-based cream for richness and roasting vegetables for a “very nuanced, nutty flavor.”
For her winter soup, specially created for amNewYork, she roasts acorn squash, traditionally available this time of year, and purées it with a vegetable-miso broth for a hearty bowl that’s a great source of vitamin A and potassium, Chaszar says. Sunflower seeds also pack some protein and sunflower sprouts add some fresh green.
And as with any soup, the prep is all part of the process.
“Embrace the fact that it’s going to take a little bit more time,” Chaszar says. “Let it simmer in the background while you’re getting your weekend chores done or doing a little bit of yoga. By the time you’re done with your routine you will have a nice meal and leftovers for a couple meals, too.”