I love making this soup when I want something light and healthy in the fall or winter. And, admittedly, when I’m feeling lazy and want to whip up dinner in 20 minutes or so. Virtually everything in this soup is optional or ‘to your taste’ except the broth. The soup can be vegetarian or meat based.
I use whatever I have on hand – typically broccoli, asparagus and green onion – as well as a few purchased items I almost always have in my freezer such as frozen wontons or dumplings, chopped loose spinach and various types of herb cubes if I don’t have the fresh versions on hand.
Other great additions are left over chicken, shrimp, rice noodles, bok choy, carrots, snow peas, bean sprouts or… whatever else you have or like.
Just select your favourite items, add some flavours (soy sauce, hot sauce, fresh cilantro, basil, sesame oil, lemon/lime) and start creating your soup! Serve alone or with some take-out spring rolls or sushi.
Soup Tips and Substitutes
- Frozen wontons and dumplings (shrimp, chicken, pork, vegetable) are widely available now in Asian or large mainstream grocery stores. You can, of course make your own.
- Instead of fresh spinach, you can use loose chopped frozen spinach. I add a couple of handfuls to the first step (boiling wontons) about 2 minutes before they are done. This saves an extra pot and step.
- If you don’t have fresh herbs, the frozen herb cubes (basil, cilantro, etc) are great in a pinch.
- Instead of fresh broth, you can use broth in the carton or can (if using undiluted Campbell’s, for example, add a can of water for every can of broth).
Make the soup vegetarian
- Use vegetable broth, vegetable dumplings and omit chicken and shrimp.
- Add tofu cubes if desired.