I spend a chunk of my Sunday planning and packing breakfasts and lunches for the week. It isn’t a chore I enjoy, but it’s never a chore I regret having done. When I’m done, our fridge and freezer is filled with convenience food, my way – meals that are ready to grab and throw into our packs, or ready for quick reheating on a night when I get home from work so tired I’d otherwise have the energy only for crackers for dinner.
This little jar of soup is the latest in my arsenal of convenience foods. The idea is simple: a heaping spoonful of salty miso paste, some aromatics to flavour the broth, vegetables, sliced thinly enough to be softened by kettle-boiled water, and some cubes of tofu are layered into a heat-proof jar. All you’ve got to do when you want a hot, nourishing vegetable soup is boil the kettle, fill the jar, and wait about 10 minutes. Seriously, it’s that easy.
I’ve been having a lot of these jar-soups lately, and they’ve totally been feeding my soul.
The other day I got home from work late, freezing cold, feeling a little under the weather, and crackers-for-dinner hungry. I simply filled the kettle and boom! Ten minutes later, hot vegetable soup. It’s just as fast and easy as those salt-laden styrofoam cup-a-soups, but with the benefit of being sooooo much more nutritious, and I tell ya, infinitely more delicious. And when I realized I was still hungry and wanted another jar of soup, I had the veggies torn, sliced, shredded, and stuffed into the jar before the kettle had started screaming. That, friends, is awfully convenient.
A little army of jar-soups could be made in advance and would last the week in your fridge. Got a sick friend? Take them a bunch of jar-soups. Know a new mom? Jar-soups! Like having soup for lunch but worry about it sloshing about in your bag*? Does your office have a kettle**? Problem solved!
*There are two ways I transport soup to work (and I commute on a bike, so they get tossed in my backpack which gets bashed around a fair bit). The easiest way is if you’ve got soup frozen in individual servings (I freeze mine in empty cottage cheese containers which hold 500ml). You don’t have to worry about spillage, and the soup should be close to defrosted by the time lunch rolls around. Otherwise, a jar with a lid screwed on tightly contained within a well-knotted plastic bag should do the trick.
**No kettle? Fill with water and microwave the jar (without the lid on!) until the water is hot. Now screw on the lid and let sit for about 5 min to soften up the veg.
Miso, fermented soybean paste, is a good source of manganese, vitamin K, protein, dietary fiber, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. Additionally, miso is a good source of phytonutrient antioxidants, which are related to it’s fermentation. Try to source out organic miso if you can, since miso is made from soybeans, and most non-organic soybeans are genetically modified.
One year ago: Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad and Curried Devilled Eggs
Two years ago: Date Almond Smoothie and Orange Earl Grey Muffins
Three years ago: A little link list (this is back when I was finishing my BSc in nutrition. Good times!)
- 1 500ml heatproof jar, with lid
- 1 heaping teaspoon of miso pasted (I used barley miso here)
- ½ a clove of garlic, grated
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger (I keep my ginger in the freezer for easier grating)
- ½ a carrot, shredded or julienned
- a couple of handfuls of spinach, or other green, torn or shredded
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- ½ (or to taste) of a hot red pepper, thinly sliced
- a few slices of sweet red pepper, thinly sliced
- a wedge of lime
- soy sauce, to taste (I use Braggs liquid aminos)
- Layer everything into the jar, except for the lime and soy sauce, starting with the miso, ginger, garlic, and hot pepper, and ending with the veggies and tofu.
- You can simply screw on the lid and stash in the fridge at this point.
- When you're ready for soup, boil the kettle. Fill the jar to the top with boiling water and screw on the lid.
- Wait 10 minutes, then remove the lid and give the soup a good stir.
- Season with soy sauce and a squeeze of lime juice, and serve.
- You can transfer the soup into a bowl, or simply eat straight out of the jar.