How can you make soup the most fun dish of the week?
Set up a “soup bar.” It’s similar to a baked potato bar, where bowls of garnishes are laid out so that everyone can customize his or her own soup.
The garnishes are what you already have in the kitchen, and a soup bar is a great way to use up leftovers. Scout the cabinets, fridge and freezer to see what you’ve got. Then, set out a selection of at least five options:
Beans, lentils, rice and other grains and legumes
Croutons, tortilla chips or crackers: Goldfish, oyster crackers, crumbled saltines
Crumbled bacon, hot dog/sausage slices, shredded ham
A bowl of potatao soup, loaded up with choices from the “soup bar.” Photo courtesy PotatoGoodness.com.
Dairy toppings: crème fraîche, plain Greek yogurt, mascarpone, sour cream
Grated or shredded cheese
Herbs: arugula, basil, chives, cilantro, jalapeño, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme
Other leftover meats and seafood, diced or shredded
Onions: chopped green onions or red onions
Mushrooms, zucchini, cooked or raw
Pasta and noodles, including wonton strips
Peas, snow peas and other cooked vegetables
Tomatoes: halved cherry tomatoes/grape tomatoes, diced fresh tomatoes, diced canned tomatoes
Wild cards: almonds, avocado, baby corn, diced cucumber, shredded coconut, shredded carrots, olives, raisins, roasted garlic cloves, tofu, water chestnuts, whatever you have
PARTY SOUP BAR
Offer two or three different soups that provide a good canvas for the toppings: mushroom soup, potato soup and tomato soup, for example. Soups that already have multiple visible ingredients, like chowder and minestrone, don’t need more embellishment.
You’ll also want to fan the excitement by doubling the number of garnish options.
Soup’s on! Get it while it’s hot!
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