Did You Know You Can Use Veggies To Thicken Your Soup?

Try these veggies for next time!

Who doesn't love a good, thick soup? Usually, thickening soup would mean using starches but did you know there's a better way to thicken soup? It's by using veggies! Apart from giving you a rich, thick texture, it'll also give you more nutrients than just starch. This is also a great idea if you realized at the last minute that you don't have the flours and starches you need.

Using vegetables to make your soups heartier is easy if you know what to do! Here are four ways to do just that: 

This soup is thickened with nutritious, sweet potatoes.
Photo by Miguel Nacianceno

1 Use root vegetables.

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Root vegetables are great at thickening thanks to its high starch content. Root vegetables you can use are gabi, potato, squash, and sweet potatoes. There are two ways to do it: 

If you have leftover cooked potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, or rice, you can simply mash it into your soup and then let simmer until thickened. This is how potato soups are usually thickened.

If you don't have mashed veggies already on hand, a good method would be to cook your veggies and then mash it in. Here what to do: Chop veggies into chunks and then cook in the soup. Any of its natural starches would then seep into the soup, adding another element of thickening power to your soup. When the veggies are cooked properly, you can then mash it right in the pot! This is usually the method used for sinigang sa gabi.

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You can easily make these soups in a blender!
Photo by Riell Santos

2 Use veggie purees.

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Veggie purees aren't just thickeners, but more often, it is the body of the soup. Because there are so much more vegetables compared to water, this soup becomes extremely flavorful, rich, and vibrant. You can use broccoli, squash, carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, corn, and more.

Pureeing your veggies is easy. You want to make sure they're cooked tender first in your liquid. If using a blender, cool down your veggies first before pureeing together with some broth or soup. This will help the vegetables become more finely chopped aka pureed. After pureeing, return it back into the pot and heat it up again. Want a hassle-free way of doing this? Use a hand or immersion blender which you can use straight into your pot.

This comforting bowl of lugaw is the simplest lugaw recipe ever but one of the tastiest.
Photo by Riell Santos

3 Use rice.

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While rice isn't a vegetable per se, it's a grain that almost everyone has on hand. Plus, you can use it if you don't want to add or don't have enough veggies to thicken your soup. We think this is a great option because that means you can use cooked rice for more than just fried rice! The natural starches of rice will help thicken your soup pretty easily, too. 

There are three ways to use rice to thicken your soups. You can make rice flour by simply grinding uncooked rice grains in your blender. Mix it into your soup by the tablespoon, simmer until the rice granules are cooked, and keep adding until you're happy with the thickness.

Puree cooked rice into the soup. You'll need a little broth, or your soup, when using a blender to puree just like with the softened vegetables. Add a tablespoon at a time into your soup, simmer, and add more until you reach the consistency you want. 

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The final method is cooking the rice until it disintegrates. Just like making lugaw, you just need to cook the rice with your soup until it's so soft, it naturally thickens the soup.

You have to try this thick, spicy soup!
Photo by Patrick Martires

4 Use okra.

Okra's texture-what usually turns people off-is okra's natural reaction when it's heated for a long time. It's actually what's traditionally used to thicken gumbo. Curious about how to use it? Just dice it and simmer. As soon as you add the okra, add ten minutes before you finish cooking your dish. that's enough time to allow the okra to cook through and help boost the thickness of your dish. 

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What's in your kitchen right now that you want to transform into a thick, hearty soup? We're sure you have one of these ingredients. So why not try it out now?

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