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How to Make Living Soups
by Frederic Patenaude
For more information on raw food, vegan recipes, etc. get The Raw Secrets which contains many more raw food vegetarian recipes, along with lots of information, pictures, and techniques.
Raw soups are one of my favorite dishes. I have gone weeks eating nothing but various raw soups, juices, and smoothies that I have made in my Vita-Mix. I especially enjoy soups because they are easy to make, are tasty, are easy to digest, and give my body a digestive rest.
The typical living soup basically consists of vegetables blended with some liquid, creamed with some fatty ingredients such as avocado, oil, or nut butter and flavored with something savory and salty. To make soup heartier, you may also stir in some spirulina flakes, avocado pieces, or diced vegetables.
I found that in making a typical soup, I typically blend together the following:
Non-Sweet Fruit I like to use about two to three cups of non-sweet fruits, such as tomato, zucchini, cucumber, or pepper. Why? Because these foods are high in water, have little fiber, and, when blended, turn into a liquid. They form a good soup base.
Greens I often blend kale, spinach, parsley, and other vegetables into soup to give it both taste, and a nutritional boost. Depending on the bitterness of the vegetables, I may add anywhere from one to two cups of them. I always try to make sure my soups are not too bitter. A salad is different, and may get by with some bitterness. But, because they are liquid, and more apt to cling to the palate, I do not believe raw soups should be so bitter. So, with bitter vegetables, such as kale, I may only use about a cup, but may use more of the non-bitter vegetables, such as spinach. Beside green vegetables, you may also blend in some hard vegetables that will add consistency to the soup, such as carrots, broccoli, or sunchokes.
Since there is a limit to what can fit into a blender, choose only one or two ingredients out of the greens category. Remember that soups do not always have to be "everything but the kitchen sink." It is sometimes good to let a flavor dominate, whether it be a vegetable, a spice, or a fruit. Simple could be better, and fewer flavors may provide a better taste.
Liquid The need for adding liquid into raw soups depends on the quantity of non-sweet fruits being used. But most of the time I add from one to two cups of liquids. Distilled water, coconut water, or vegetable juices are the most common liquids I use.
Fatty Ingredients I like soups to be filling and hearty. But even when making light soups, I may use something to provide creaminess. For this I often use two or three types of fatty ingredients. These may include avocado, baby coconut meat, tahini, nut butter, ground seeds, olive oil, cold-pressed flax seed oil, or miso. Choose one to three of the following:
- 1/2 to one avocado
- meat of one or two young coconut
- 4 Tbs. tahini or nut butter
- 1/2 cup ground seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower
- 1/8 to 1/4 cup oil, such as olive oil, hemp oil, or flax seed oil
- 2 Tbs. miso
Sweet Ingredients Soups may vary from sweet to salty and spicy. Sometimes they may have a combination of all these. I like to go for the later. If I choose coconut water as a liquid, then there is already something sweet. In addition to, or in place of, the coconut water, I may also add one-half to one apple, another type of fruit, such as mango, a little honey, or some miso. Miso counts as both a fatty ingredient and salty ingredient. Adding sweetness to a soup is an art in itself. It is easy to put too much sweetness into a soup, and this may make it taste more like some type of smoothie than a dinner soup.
Salty-Savory Ingredient I like soups to be savory. That is really important for taste. I often choose sea salt over any other salty flavorings, but also like to use miso, nama shoyu (or tamari sauce), and sometimes a sea vegetable such as kelp, or dulse.
Spicy Ingredient It is good to use a little more spices in a soup that you would in a salad. Why? Because soups are usually eaten warm, and give you that feeling of comfort as they heat your internal organs. With a cold soup, it is hard to achieve the same thing unless you add some spices. My spices of choice for soup include garlic, onion, tabasco sauce (which is also both sweet, and salty), ginger, cayenne pepper, curry powder, or chili peppers (but not all at the same time). If I happen to have the garlic-chili flax seed oil that is sold in some stores, I will use it as an oil, and it will add some spice at the same time.
Here is the Basic Soup Recipe, which uses ingredients out of all of the categories
I have mentioned
- 2 cups non-sweet fruit. Choose between cucumber, tomato, zucchini, pepper, or tomatillo. You may choose one or more of these
- 1 to 2 cups liquid. Use one cup first. Then, if needed, add more liquid at the end. Choose between distilled water, coconut water, or vegetable juice
- 1 to 2 cups greens. Vegetables, or herbs. Choose between kale, parsley, spinach, arugula (also a spice), celery, carrots, cilantro, and your favorite herbs and vegetables
- 1/2 to 1 avocado, or meat of one baby coconut, or 2-4 tablespoons of tahini
- 4 Tbs. olive oil, or other cold pressed oil
- 2 Tbs. miso
- 1/2 apple
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt, or 2 Tbs. nama shoyu (or tamari sauce)
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
Blend all ingredients. You may also create a chunky soup by dicing some of the
vegetables, and adding them into the ones that you have blended.
This soup is a basic recipe. It is easy to prepare, and tasty. But, as you will see by trying the soup recipes listed, I do not always follow my own rules as they are just general guidelines rather than inflexible rules.
Another way to make the soup is to use vegetable juice as a base. Carrot juice works well for this. Creaminess may be added by blending some avocado or tahini. Flavorings may be added by adding nama shoyu or sea salt, or spices such as ginger, cayenne pepper, and curry. This technique of making a base is one that I know, but rarely do. Just the idea of spending all the time juicing and cleaning the juicer does not appeal to me. If I juice, then I am likely to enjoy the juice as a meal.
Remember that it is sometimes good to let one flavor dominate. If you make a cilantro soup, it should taste like cilantro. All of the other ingredients are then interesting background flavors, but the main flavor is the cilantro. If you make a soup and call it a curry soup, it should taste like curry. Use enough so you taste the curry in a balanced way, but not as an overwhelming flavor.
Another thing that I sometime like to do is to add solid ingredients into the bowl after the soup is blended. They may be stirred into the soup, or floated on top as garnishing. These solid ingredients may include chopped avocado, chopped onions, zucchini spirals (made using the Saladacco machine, or with a vegetable peeler), marinated vegetables, or grated vegetables. Adding these types of ingredients to a soup can make it more hearty, satisfying, and interesting.
The soup recipes I will show you have been created using a Vita-Mix, which has a large container. If you only have a regular blender, you may have to divide the quantities by two, or blend the soups in two different batches.
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