Quick low carb soup, not miso
March 16, 2010 12:01 PM   Subscribe

What's a quick and easy low carb soup that isn't miso?

I've got addicted to packets of soup noodles, it's just great to have tasty hot liquid when you want it. However, they're not that healthy with the msg and chems, and also want something low carb.

Can you recommend any tasty broths that I could try? I'm not a big fan of miso unfortunately?

Would be great if they're relatively healthy, and can be made quickly.
posted by Not Supplied to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I make tons of chicken stock and then freeze it in individual sized portions. I then season it with fish sauce, lime and chilli. The initial bit isn't quick, but one chicken carcass does make about eight or ten portions.
posted by rhymer at 12:11 PM on March 16, 2010

If you've got chicken stock, or even canned broth, sopa de ajo is another quick thing to do with it.

Fry up a few smashed cloves of garlic in olive oil. Add a few big dashes of paprika (smoked paprika is awesome if you have it, but the ordinary Hungarian-style stuff you get in the supermarket is good too), and a little bit of chopped hot pepper if you're into that, and then pour on your chicken broth and let it simmer together for five-ten minutes.

If you want something more substantial, it's traditional to serve this with croutons or poached eggs or both. Sounds like you'll want to steer clear of the croutons, but an egg would be great. Just crack an egg into your bowl, pour over the hot soup, and let it sit for a minute so the white sets. Plenty of protein, no carbs to speak of, totally quick, and very tasty.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:44 PM on March 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Would it be ok with a chicken stock cube? I've never tried them. Hard to get canned stock over here.

I might boil a chicken sometime, but could do with an off the shelf solution.
posted by Not Supplied at 12:47 PM on March 16, 2010

Stock (bouillon) cubes are terrible. Oversalted and underflavored. Canned, boxed, or nothin'.
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:51 PM on March 16, 2010

Does it need to be dehydrated? Canned plain beef or chicken broth (natural/free-range/organic options exist, if you're into that) can be pretty good, especially if you turn it into egg drop soup. That's not so quick and easy, though.

Campbell's used to have "carb options" dehydrated soup packets. I'm not sure if they still do, though.

How low carb are we talking? If you want super low carb, and are willing to order online and pay a bit more than the price of regular soup, there's Dixie Carb Counters brand Dine n' Dash soups in single serving packets.

Looks like they make:
Broccoli & Cheese
Chicken Cheese Enchilada
Chicken Noodle
Cream of Mushroom
posted by sentient at 12:59 PM on March 16, 2010

If you are going with a powder or a cube, read the label really, really carefully (especially if, as you've said, you're trying to avoid the MSG). They do make non-chemical'd cubes, though. (A better option, though, is to look for something called "better than bouillion" -- it comes in jars, and is basically a super-concentrated stock -- they took the stock and boiled the holy hell out of it until it turned into a thick spread-like consistency, and then put that in a jar. One teaspoon + one cup boiling water = one cup of stock.)

As for what to do WITH that stock -- throwing in a couple handfuls of frozen vegetables while it's heating up, and bingo, you've got vegetable soup. Add some chopped-up sausage or hot dog for meat, or some cooked beans, and it's a heartier meal. Heck, vegetables, the beans, and a handful of pasta, and you've got minestrone.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:02 PM on March 16, 2010

It's really easy to make delicious chicken stock. I make mine from the carcass of a grocery-store roasted chicken.

Buy the chicken. Eat it, but keep the bones. When you're done with the meat, pick the carcass clean of those little meat tidbits and set them aside. Put the carcass, any bones you've removed and saved, and a little bit of the skin (not required, but it helps the flavor) in a pot and cover the carcass with water. Bring it to a boil, uncovered, and continue to simmer it for a couple of hours. Add water as necessary to keep the carcass swimming.

When it smells rich and soupy, it'll have a strong yellow color. Stop adding water and let it reduce to a broth concentrate. Let it cool a bit, pull the bones and skin out and discard them. Use a strainer to strain the broth into a bowl. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge. When it's chilled, the fat will have risen to the top and congealed. Chip it off and throw it away.

Portion out the broth and use or freeze as needed. Use or freeze the meat tidbits, to. Remember that you've made broth concentrate, so you will want to add water to your final product.
posted by workerant at 1:02 PM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

No it doesn't have to be dried. It's just that I've looked for canned stock in England before with no luck - Although I have seen 'beef bouillon' in the soup section so maybe that's worth a go.
posted by Not Supplied at 1:03 PM on March 16, 2010

Ah, thanks for the new replies. I'll keep my eye out for 'better than bouillon' and consider boiling a roasted fowl.
posted by Not Supplied at 1:06 PM on March 16, 2010

How low carb? Well not bothered about a couple of vegetables as seasoning, but was thinking along the lines of a broth that I could add seasoning and maybe meat to, rather than anything with major carb ingredients.
posted by Not Supplied at 1:09 PM on March 16, 2010

I'll keep my eye out for 'better than bouillon' and consider boiling a roasted fowl.

Home-cookin' advice -- if you're going to use the bones from a pre-cooked chicken, you may want to get a couple raw chicken parts as well -- nothing fancy, you can just use a couple wings, or heck, even a couple chicken feet -- and throw them in too.

It's not absolutely necessary, but it will make a HUGE difference taste-wise. The pre-roasted chicken bones will already have had most of their flavor cooked out -- adding a bit of raw chicken while you simmer the stock will help boost the flavor a lot. You don't need a lot, fortunately -- a couple pieces should be enough; I made a great stock using about a pound of leftover bones and a couple chicken wings. (And the meat that was on the formerly-raw chicken? You can use that IN the soup that you then make FROM your homemade stock!)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:28 PM on March 16, 2010

I second adding a small bit of raw chicken if using a cooked carcass. The neck in particular is great to set aside for stock!

Also, I love adding hot sauce to broth to help season it.
posted by spinto at 1:40 PM on March 16, 2010

In my experience (and opinion) stock cubes are OK in things like chilli, slow cooked stews and perhaps risottos at a pinch where a great deal of flavour comes from elsewhere. I probably wouldn't use them for a soup though. Not least because most have loads of salt. I think that the sodium free version of Marigold Bouillon might help here; it's supposed to be the best instant vegetable stock.
posted by rhymer at 1:44 PM on March 16, 2010

Would split pea soup fit your definition of low-carb? It's got complex carbs and a bunch of fiber but basically no starch or simple sugar, so it's "good" on some diets and "bad" on others.

If it works for you, that's another one to make and freeze, and you might find it less intimidating than chicken stock. I mean, chicken stock is easy, but it's scary, because ZOMG IT'S A WHOLE RAW CHICKEN WHAT THE HELL DO I DO WITH THIS?! I don't think beans and bacon are nearly so panic inducing.

Anyway, all you need is a big bag of dried split peas (get 'em in a bag at the supermarket), a little bit of bacon (or ham or other tasty smoked pig product), maybe an onion and a bay leaf, and water to cover. Chop up the bacon and the onion if you're using one, throw it all in a pot, simmer it for an hour or two on the back of the stove some afternoon when you're doing other things around the house — it's done when the peas fall apart into tasty soupy mush — and then let it cool and freeze it in portions.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:08 PM on March 16, 2010

Red lentil soup: just sauté some diced onions/shallots - you can add some carrot cubes if you want, or any root vegetable that's sitting in the fridge -, throw in a cup of red lentils and water and/or stock (cubed is OK, self-made is better, obviously). Cook for about 12 minutes. Add salt, pepper, maybe some curry powder; then use the hand blender to get a smooth soup. I always crumble some Feta cheese over it for added protein&taste. Red lentils are relatively low-carb, due to their high fiber content. This is a very nourishing type of soup. Freezes well.
posted by The Toad at 2:28 PM on March 16, 2010

Thanks, but not so into pulses. You've all been great by the way. I'm gonna try the chicken broth + flavourings.
posted by Not Supplied at 3:02 PM on March 16, 2010

I've had wonderful soups made with pureed cauliflower as a base. Just cook it, puree it and add some spices to taste.
posted by cmgonzalez at 4:19 PM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thai Kitchen instant rice noodle soup - Lemongrass and Chili and Bangkok Curry are the tastiest - I have these at work all the time - only about 160 calories per packet, as opposed to about 400 in ramen. I sometimes add a bunch of frozen vegetables, and sometimes shrimp to make them more interesting.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:49 PM on March 16, 2010

I'm a big fan of the stock-in-a-box. I've been making lots of vegetable soup lately (I'm a vegetarian) just by cooking some onions and garlic in the bottom of the pan, putting in some boxed vegetable stock, canned white beans, zucchini and whatever other veggies I have on hand and simmering until the veggies are tender. It reheats well and freezes well. I'm not sure what veggies are okay and what aren't on your flavor of low carb--I try to leave out things like peas or potatoes from my soup.
posted by inertia at 8:02 PM on March 16, 2010

I am not sure if all of these are low carb and some of them may be too heavy, but almost all of them are as simple as heating up the ingredients.

Lemongrass tea with some grated fresh ginger, chopped scallions, garlic, and mirin.

Orange juice and chai tea.

Bay leaf and cinnamon infused Assam tea.

Gewurztraminer and pureed grilled fruits, especially grilled pears or mangos with chili powder.

Dried porcini mushrooms make a great broth. I buy porcini powder as it is quicker and you only need a small amount. This works well with a splash of sherry vinegar added.

Canned curry paste thinned with white wine, clam juice, and water or coconut milk. Add some minced garlic, cilantro, and scallions. I use this as a broth for smoked mussels.

Carrot juice with a splash of sherry vinegar and spinach.

I buy Koyo organic instant ramen noodles, throw away the seasoning packet and saute some chopped kimchi and add water for the broth.

There are also a lot of asian soups besides miso that are quick to make. Do a quick search for dashi recipes.
posted by calumet43 at 8:40 PM on March 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Creative ideas there, thanks a lot.
posted by Not Supplied at 2:20 AM on March 17, 2010

Broth is one of my staple meals (at least three times a week). For two people I use:

1/2 tsp of bouillon powder
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
Juice of one lime
Top up with boiling water to 800ml

I add this to a base of fried shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chilli. You can then add whatever else you want (vegetables, chicken, noodles, prawns, etc) so it is variable enough not to get boring.
posted by ninebelow at 4:16 AM on March 17, 2010

I just got some Anthony Worrall-Thompson yeast free chicken stock cubes. The stock was ok..not that rich, but not wrong like yeast ones.

I simmered some garlic, then added lime juice and chilli garlic sauce. Then added some cooked chicken and butter.

Not bad.

I reckon the chickens getting boiled when I've eaten it.
posted by Not Supplied at 7:24 AM on March 17, 2010

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