Feeling a little stir-crazy because you’re trapped indoors due to the winter apocalypse? Or are you frustrated that you can’t find nourishing Whole30 eats when you’re dining out? Before you fall face-first into a pizza, simmer a big pot of soup!
Soup is the ultimate one-bowl meal, and my Instagram followers can attest to the fact that it’s one of my go-to weeknight family meals—regardless of the season. Unless I’m following a particular recipe, I tailor the contents of my soup to what we like to eat or whatever I have sitting in the fridge. Soup is the best clean-out-your-fridge meal ’cause almost everything tastes great simmered in a savory broth. That said, it’s always important to start with a good broth base—but you can easily and cheaply make that at home, too.
Folks are always asking me where to find “good bones” to make bone broth. I like to buy bone-in cuts of meat (e.g., chicken thighs, whole chickens, bone-in pork shoulder roasts, oxtails) and stockpile the bones in a freezer bag until I have enough to make a pot of soup. Also, whenever I see high-quality bones for sale at the store, I scoop ’em up and stash ’em in my chest freezer. Often, I’ll make broth with a combination of raw and cooked bones because that’s what I happen to have on hand.
By the way, I don’t normally combine bones from different animals (like beef bones and pork bones)—with one exception: I mix chicken and pork bones because the resulting savory broth reminds me of the soups my mom used to make when I was growing up.
The key to a delicious and gelatin-packed broth (one that turns into meaty Jell-O in the fridge) is to combine meaty bones (flavor!) with joint bones (collagen!). If your broth doesn’t gel in the fridge, try adding a couple of chicken feet, oxtails, or a pork knuckle to ensure adequate collagen next time. To amp up the umami in my broths, I also toss in a couple of dried shiitake mushrooms and a splash of fish sauce. I used to add vinegar to my broth, too, but not anymore: I don’t think it improves the nutrition dramatically and I don’t like sour broth. But hey: You do you.
Ready to get your soup on?
Here’s my slow cooker bone broth recipe and my pressure cooker/Instant Pot recipe, but use them as general templates. These days, I only make broth in my Instant Pot because it can be done in a jiffy, with no babysitting required. Whenever my kids wake up and tell me that they have a sore throat, I dump frozen bones, water, and aromatics in the Instant Pot, and the broth is done in a couple of hours or faster.
During cold and flu season, I try to keep plenty of broth on hand, so I usually throw the ingredients in the Instant Pot before I go to bed. The broth is magically ready (and kept warm in the Instant Pot) when I wake up. In the morning, I strain the soup and follow these steps to store my extra bone broth in the fridge and freezer.
(If you’re too busy to make broth, no worries! You can purchase high quality broth at the store or online these days. Remember: We’re aiming for progress, not perfection!)
Once you’ve got some broth on hand, here are some wonderful Whole30-friendly soups you can make at home:
- Simple Egg Drop Soup: Let’s start with the easiest soup first. Add more veggies and cooked protein to bulk it up!
- Pork and Napa Cabbage Soup: My family slurps up this hearty soup without any complaints and yours will, too!
- Instant Pot Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup (and here’s the original stovetop method): An oldie but goodie that you can make in a pressure cooker or the old fashioned way. Add crispy Kalua Pig to make it a complete meal!
- Watercress & Chicken Soup: Another comforting soup that reminds me off my mom.
- Chinese Chicken and Bok Choy Soup: If you’ve got a copy of The Whole30 Cookbook, you can find my umami-packed recipe on pg. 122!
- Carrot + Cardamom Soup: This popular soup recipe is from our first cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans, but you can also find it here. It’s like a bowl of sunshine on a dreary day!
Go get your soup on, people!
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013) and Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017)!