Three Easy Ingredients, One Amazing Soup

Three Easy Ingredients, One Amazing Soup

We asked one of our chefs to put the spotlight on easy-to-prepare soup trios you can make at home.

How can just three key ingredients add up to so much flavor? It’s simple. Start with fresh and flavorful vegetables, add something unexpected, and simmer. “Soup doesn’t have to be complicated,” says chef David Kos, a member of the Panera Bread Food Team. “It’s really about layering complementary ingredients to get the most out of every spoonful.”

Our Broccoli Cheddar Soup, for example, owes its popularity to chopped broccoli and shredded carrots simmered in a velvety cheese sauce with seasonings. We asked David to share some of his favorite seasonal soup combinations that you can make at home. 

“There’s something wonderfully intuitive about these soups—you shouldn’t feel like you have to measure ingredients. They come together quickly and can be adjusted for taste or texture right before serving,” says David. “If the soup is too thick, add more broth or water. Pureed soups can also be thinned with cream and finished with fresh herbs to enhance their flavor.”

Carrot, apple, and ginger

Ginger balances the sweetness of carrots and apples in this flavorful soup. Sauté chopped onion and a small amount of peeled and grated fresh ginger until the onion is translucent. Add peeled and chopped carrots and apples. Cover with vegetable broth and simmer until the carrots and apples are tender. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup; then add a dash of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. 

Potato, leeks, and cream

“This is such a classic combination of flavors,” says David. “Here’s how I’d do it at home: Sauté thinly sliced leeks with a little minced garlic and chopped onion. Add peeled and diced potatoes and pour on enough vegetable broth or water to cover. Simmer until the potatoes are soft and the flavors heightened. Add salt and pepper to taste and puree the soup with an immersion blender.” David suggests finishing with a swirl of light cream and a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley and chives.

Peas, mint, and potato

Nothing says spring like fresh baby peas and sprigs of mint. Sauté minced garlic and chopped onion in a bit of olive oil. Add diced potatoes, fresh peas, and vegetable broth; simmer until the potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped fresh mint. “Puree the soup and serve it with a spoon of crème fraîche or rustic croutons,” says David. He advises that this soup is also a great one to serve chilled.

Baby kale, bean, and sausage

David suggests using a spicy Italian sausage to give this soup a little extra kick. “I remove the sausage casing and brown the meat with a little minced garlic and chopped onion,” he says. Add oregano, chicken broth, and a can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans (or any variety of small white beans). Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes and drop in a few handfuls of baby kale a few minutes before serving.