We had just finished taping an episode of “Freaky Eaters” in Ohio. Part of the episode filmed in large warehouse-style buildings with no heat.
Worse, I had to remove my coat for the taping, and being from Southern California, this proved pure torture.
A salad just wasn’t going to cut it for lunch.
Even though I didn’t have many cooking supplies, I opted for various versions of “stoup,” or a soup/ stew hybrid. I love it, because you can make a delicious, healthy, easy meal without many cooking supplies.
Even if your cookware consists of an old Farberware set from your college days, you can make “stoup.” Because you’re literally using one – or two, if you want to get all gourmet – pots, prepping, cooking, cleaning up is a breeze.
Stop wasting money on the Whole Foods hot bar and gourmet Chinese. In about the time you’ll spend standing in line during rush hour, you can have a hot, nutritious, affordable meal:
- Start with a great base. I use organic lentil and roasted red pepper soup. You might also opt for black bean soup or plain old organic chicken broth as your base.
- Add lean protein. Organic chicken or turkey makes a perfect choice. You might also have protein from last night’s Italian restaurant doggie bag to toss in.
- Load up on non-starchy veggies. I love mushrooms, peppers, onions, and zucchini. If you’re feeling incredibly lazy, buy frozen pre-cut veggies and toss them in. I use Trader Joe’s roasted peppers and onions.
- Go gourmet. Make your stoup a little fancy with sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, or whatever fresh produce your local farmer’s market carries.
- Don’t over-carb it. Choose fiber-rich starchy carbs, like lentils or quinoa. Next in line would be legumes. But keep the main stage for those non-starchy veggies.
- Spice it up. Herbs and spices kick it up a notch with Italian flair or Mexican sizzle.
- Supercharge your stoup. Make it creamy, for instance, with coconut milk. You might also add turmeric, which packs a powerful anti-inflammatory punch and a curry flavor.
You can experiment with endless variations of stoup. In fact, stoup practically invites experimentation. Who knows, you might eventually create a signature recipe that will make you the talk of your cousin’s holiday potluck party!
If you’re not feeling particularly creative, however, here are a few of my favorite versions.
Black Bean Stoup
- Black Bean Soup as base
- Add green chilies, onions, peppers, mushrooms and carrots
- Toss in diced chicken
- Serve with a little salsa and guacamole on top
Love My Lentils
- Lentil Soup as base
- Add diced turkey
- Chopped onions, celery, zucchini and cauliflower – I like to quickly sauté in olive oil before adding
- Rosemary and sea salt
- Cook quinoa in chicken or veggie broth and then add extra broth
- Add diced chicken
- Asparagus, baby bellas (buy the Monterey Mushroom brand), red peppers, sun dried tomatoes
- Italian seasoning