Garnish Genius

category + garnish + seasoning = soup

The second step in constructing soup du jour is to determine the garnish ingredients. The identity of the soup slowly takes shape as these ingredients provide color, texture and form. Soup garnishes are:


Veggie lovers go nuts here. Nearly every produce, herb, leafy green, root and legume is fair game. Need a place to start? Give any of the following vegetables a try: asparagus, avocado, basil, beans, bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, celery, cilantro, chiles, ginger, mushrooms, parsley, peas, pumpkin, squash, tofu, diced tomatoes,


Incorporating meaty proteins transforms soup into a one pot meal enjoyable for any night of the week. Using leftovers from a prior meal is a noble choice but I encourage you to consider the less obvious choices. One of my favorite meat garnishes are soup bones such as ham hocks or oxtail…even beef neck bones. Boiling these cuts of meat for an extended period of time causes the meat to fall off the bone and infuses abounding flavor.


Starch. Its the noodle to your chicken. Its the corn to your chowder. Its the sweet potato to your bisque. Sometimes the identity of soup hinges on the addition of starch. It has the potential to bring texture, color and creaminess depending on which soup category simmers on your stove.


We are not just talking egg drop soup here, people. Eggs prepared in a variety of ways make egg-celent soup toppers. Try slicing a hard boiled egg in a bowl of ramen or a poached egg nestled on top of lentil soup. Tremendous, now I am wishing I was cooking these things instead of writing about them.


Enriching garnish ingredients bring that finishing touch to harmonize flavors. Think of those things that bring a smidgen of weight to the final product: a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of cheese, a drizzle of olive oil.

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