Not just pasta, rice or bread, and not just vegetables: you can put more in soups to enrich them and turn them into a single dish. “This is a habit that allowed us to survive in the past, starting from prehistoric times and which, especially in the countryside, lasted until yesterday. For hundreds and hundreds of years, the most common food preparation consisted of putting a pot of water on the fire in which to throw away what was there, especially vegetables, but also small quantities of meat or fish.
What to put in this “cauldron” today to enrich it with proteins and make it a single dish?
First of all, legumes, such as chickpeas and beans, which should make up 20 percent of the preparation and which go perfectly with the proteins of cereals, preferably whole. And then eggs, rich in essential amino acids; I am thinking, for example, of the recipe for Pavese soup (perhaps without exaggerating with the butter to season it); but also to the typical preparations of Chinese cuisine which include not only eggs but also chicken, often combined with corn. Even the classic Tuscan soup, with bread on the bottom, can become a single dish if you add a nice sprinkling of cheese.
Red meat is not mentioned, does this mean it is not recommended, even in small portions?
We have long since overcome the idea that there are absolutely bad foods and therefore to be banned, especially if consumed in small doses. But I would suggest to be careful of the types. Toasted pancetta is tasty to complement even a soup, but it’s a concentrate of saturated fats, like sausages. The frankfurters added to the German fashion soup are also tasty, but they are highly processed meats.
So what is the secret of a nutritionally balanced soup?
Many vegetables rich in fiber, which among other things contribute to giving a sense of satiety, which also does the large amount of water contained in these preparations, and then cereals (also derived products): pearl barley, spelled, wheat corn, rice and legumes. Instead of legumes, you can add some noble proteins as well as eggs, meat, fish, cheeses and crustaceans (which should not exceed 50 grams each) and finally extra virgin olive oil. A spoonful each or a little more, added raw. And also aromas: not only the usual ones, you can also try it with ginger.
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