5 Simply delicious soup garnishes
Yields about 1/2 cup
A popular garnish for osso buco, a hearty Italian stew, gremolata is a flavorful combination of lemon zest, parsley and garlic.
- 4 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
- To garnish, mound 1 tablespoon or so of the gremolata on top of a soup or a stew.
Homemade pesto croutons
Yields 2 cups
Croutons out of a bag are certainly better than nothing, but homemade pesto croutons will give your Italian-inspired soups a gourmet garnish.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons storebought or homemade pesto
- 2 cups cubed day-old sourdough bread
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together oil and pesto.
- Add bread cubes to the bowl and toss well to coat.
- Spread the bread cubes out in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and crisp.
- Cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- To garnish, simply ladle your soup into some bowls and float a few croutons on top.
Yields 1 cup
Caramelized onions lend a tangy sweetness that goes well with tomato or cream-based soups. A little mound of tender browned onions can be swirled into a soup to add another dimension of flavor.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large red onion, halved, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions, stirring to separate. Cook, stirring often, until translucent.
- Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until the onions are lightly browned.
- Sprinkle with the vinegar and sugar. Stir to coat. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring often.
- Garnish your soup while the onions are hot or at room temperature.
Yields about 30
A favorite for tomato soup, these cheese crisps will go well with any soup that needs a little crispy cheese flair.
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- Generous pinch of dried herbs and/or spices of your choice (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together cheese and seasonings, if using.
- Mound 1- to 2-teaspoon lumps of cheese on the baking sheets, keeping 2 inches between each mound.
- Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until the edges of the crisps start to brown.
- Remove the baking sheets from the oven. Lift the parchment paper from the baking sheets and set on wire racks to continue cooling and crisping the crisps.
- To garnish, ladle your soup into bowls and float a crisp or two on top.
Spicy candied walnuts or pecans
Yields 1-1/2 cups
Especially delicious atop creamy pumpkin soup, these sweet and spicy nuts are a great garnish for carrot, sweet potato or winter squash soups too. You can also sprinkle candied walnuts or pecans on your green salads or simply eat them as a yummy snack.
- 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- Generous pinch of salt
- Generous pinch of cinnamon
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1-1/2 cups walnuts or pecans
- In a large skillet, combine the brown sugar, water, butter, salt, cinnamon and cayenne.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Boil for 1 minute or until syrupy.
- Add the walnuts or pecans and stir to coat. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the syrup forms a glaze on the nuts.
- Transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet. Use two forks to separate the nuts.
- Let it cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- To garnish, set whole nuts on top of your soup or sprinkle the coarsely chopped nuts in the center of each bowl of soup.
Garnishing tip: Keep in mind that garnishes are just a little something extra to give soup a fancy look and an additional component of complementary flavor. The key to soup success is to have a light hand when garnishing because too much of a good thing will actually overpower your soup.