The easiest, most customizable way to meal prep and eat well!
Meal prepping is one of the best ways to streamline your week, eat healthier, and spend less money on takeout. Usually, this means taking one day to cook big batches of reheatable dishes like casseroles, chilis, or proteins like roast chicken on one day so you can enjoy them throughout the week. It’s brilliant—in theory. But that’s a lot of work in one day, and you may find you’re not always as thrilled about a dish on Wednesday as you thought you’d be when you prepped it on Sunday.
That’s why we were so excited when Giada showed us one of her go-to techniques she picked up during her chef training: she stocks the building blocks for delicious soups, then throws them together in dozens of combinations in a snap. Though she takes it for granted, it’s absolutely changed our meal prepping game!
The technique couldn’t be easier. Just throw some broth in a saucepan, then add in whatever veggies, grains, beans, and proteins you have on hand. Chop and pre-portion veggies and proteins on your meal meal prep day, then stack them up in storage containers in the fridge to mix and match as you cook. Add in some spices from the pantry and you can go from minestrone to Greek avgolemono to spicy tortilla soup in a snap.
Here are the soup building blocks that Giada likes to keep on hand for maximum versatility:
Broth: Chicken and veggie broths are light and easily adapted to just about any flavor profile with the right herbs and spices. Beef broth is heartier and is a great choice for a robust vegetable soup with tomatoes and beans. Miso broth is especially great with any Asian noodle and greens.
Protein: Shredded chicken or turkey work well here—for extra simplicity, grab a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Cubed tofu is great for vegetarians or with miso broth. And when in doubt, put an egg on it! Whisk a raw egg directly into your hot broth for a stracciatella effect, or nestle in a soft-boiled egg.
Beans: Depending on the flavor you’re going for, try black beans, cannellini, or chickpeas, either canned or pre-cooked. Simmer them for 15 minutes to meld the flavors.
Veggies: Just about any vegetable you love can find a home in soup! Add them into the simmering broth in stages depending on how hard the vegetable is—that means simmering small pieces of carrot, fennel, or potato for 20 minutes or so; mushrooms, green beans, or kale for about 10; and spinach for just the final minute before serving.
Fresh herbs and citrus: Stir these in after taking the soup off the heat so you don’t muddy their bright flavor. Swapping in dill, cilantro, or basil will take your soup in a Greek, Mexican, or Italian direction. A squeeze of lemon or lime juice will add welcome brightness to a rich or creamy soup, as will a drizzle of red wine vinegar or balsamic.
Inspired to try more healthy meal ideas? Check out our back to basics recipe hub for dozens of delicious better-for-you foods that Giada’s cooking up this month.