Soup

In Heated. More on Medium.

It may also change your mind about tofu

Photo: Burcu Avsar & Zach DeSart

Earlier this year (I believe it was just before quarantine set in) we did a sort of tofu primer, with an eye towards encouraging those of you who are anti-tofu or tofu agnostic to give this polarizing ingredient another chance. In doing so, I neglected to include the recipe that many people have told me was their gateway drug: kimchi-tofu soup.

Now that it’s basically winter, a dish like this — warm, comforting, highly flavorful, and done in 25 minutes — is a lot more than just a friendly vehicle for tofu; it’s borderline essential. The main ingredient is kimchi…


A vegetable recipe with a little beef

Shallow bowl of beef stew with large chunks of potato, garnished with chopped parsley.
Shallow bowl of beef stew with large chunks of potato, garnished with chopped parsley.
Photo: Mark Bittman

When it comes to eating, many of us like to start the year off on whatever we consider to be the “right foot.” For me, the “right foot” means cooking dishes where animal products recede into the background while plants take center stage. Not just in January, but always.

It’s a style that presents infinite opportunities. Finding myself with a pound of stew beef and a pantry full of (mostly) root vegetables, I decided to put the pressure cooker to work and produce a beef-and-root-vegetable stew that would stretch that pound of meat to serve 10 or 12 rather than…


Shit! What’s for Dinner?

Creamy tomato, borscht, and ribollita

A bowl of borscht topped with a spring of dill and a dollop of sour cream.
A bowl of borscht topped with a spring of dill and a dollop of sour cream.
Borscht. Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

This week, we’re gearing up for a potential snowstorm in the Northeast by pairing a creamy tomato soup — an iconic soup if there ever was one — with today’s grilled cheese options. Another seasonal soup, we also have borscht beefed up with beans that’s bright tasting — with a color that can’t be beat. And finally, there’s a favorite of mine, ribollita, a hearty Tuscan vegetable and bean stew served over a giant crouton.

Creamy Tomato Soup

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic


To get us through the rest of winter

Lemons on a tree
Lemons on a tree
Illustrations: Kaki Okumura

It’s cold season, and so I’m doing whatever I can to not get sick this year.

While I’m always mindful to get plenty of rest and have a large variety of whole foods, every time winter rolls around, I become more attentive to getting two key vitamins in particular: Vitamins D and C.

Why I pay attention to Vitamin D and Vitamin C in the winter

Vitamin D and Vitamin C play a key role in our immune system function, as they help increase the number of immune cells and also stimulate white blood cell activities, cells which are responsible for attacking and destroying viruses and bacteria.

While it’s challenging to get enough…


Shit! What’s for Dinner?

Easy, nourishing, and warm takes on chicken noodle soup, gumbo, and chowder

Corn chowder
Corn chowder
Photo: Aya Brackett

For those times you find yourself saying, “Shit! What’s for dinner?” — we’re here to help. For our fourth installment of what to eat this week, we’ve got three meals in a bowl, all easy, nourishing, and warm. It’s just what we need this week.

First, a twist on a classic: Capture the nostalgia and satisfaction of chicken noodle soup with legit shortcuts. Next up, a gumbo. Yes, you have to make a roux; no, it won’t take that long. Finally, for the roux-averse, a speedy vegetarian chowder that uses the thickening power of potatoes.

Hot and Sour Chicken Noodle Soup

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30…


Shit! What’s for Dinner?

Big-on-flavor dishes include carrot coconut soup, chicken escabeche, and chipotle pozole

Chipotle pozole.
Chipotle pozole.
Photo: Aya Brackett

For those times you find yourself saying, “Shit! What’s for dinner?” — we’re here to help. For our third installment of what to eat this week, we’ve got a trio with the potential for bold flavor — with two fast dishes and one that requires more commitment, largely unattended.

The carrot coconut soup marries coconut milk, Southeast Asian flavors, and a little heat for an unbeatable combination; it’s also a reminder that creamy soups are equally good without cream. The escabeche takes cues from cooks in Spain, the Caribbean, and some South American countries who often marinate food after cooking…


Relying on frozen beans makes this one-pot meal a snap

A pot of soup, a bowl of soup, and a small, rustic loaf of bread.
A pot of soup, a bowl of soup, and a small, rustic loaf of bread.
Photo: Burcu Avsar & Zach DeSart

Bean soup is really my favorite, and I’m not alone. And, as everyone knows, beans are high in both protein and fiber, which makes them an important component of a plant-based diet.

As an ingredient in vegetable soups, legumes serve many functions. They work as a thickener; they add a wide range of distinct textures and tastes; they can enhance all sorts of soups in often surprising ways. And they’re almost universally interchangeable.

I prefer bean soups a tad on the thin side, but the consistency is easy enough to adjust if you prefer thicker soup: Either decrease the amount…


Easy soup for a hard world

Photo: Daniel Meyer

Here’s a soup that’s very delicious and kind of hard to fuck up:

Slice some butternut squash (or any winter squash, or sweet potatoes), carrots, and yellow onion, and toss them in a pot. The thinner you slice them, the faster they’ll cook.

Add enough coconut milk to just cover the vegetables. If you don’t have enough coconut milk for that, supplement with cream, half and half, milk, stock, or water.

Add some ground turmeric. (If you’re trying to cook enough soup for 4 people, start with 2 teaspoons. You can always add more later.)

Bring to a boil, then…


Bittman Basics

Chicken stock is your best bet

Photo: Romulo Yanes

This is one soup where water really doesn’t cut it. If you don’t have chicken stock, use vegetable stock — or the very best store-bought stuff you can find as a last resort.


Bittman Basics

It’s a hearty dish that makes you feel better — physically and otherwise

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Here’s an old-fashioned soup that you’d find in a red-sauce restaurant that might remind you of a soup a mother or a grandmother might make to make you feel better — a backup to chicken noodle (apparently it’s been around since at least the 1870s, and perhaps as early as the Roman Empire). But I can’t help but wonder if minestrone might be better for you — not just in terms of ingredients, but skill-building if you’re teaching yourself to cook.

Here’s an easily varied vegetable soup that helps you start thinking of vegetables in groups: aromatics (garlic, onions, celery…

Heated

Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store