Thursday, March 25, 2010

Things I Love--Soup Bar recipe that feeds 15+

So I love, love to entertain. The themes, the grocery shopping, the evites ... it's all very exciting.

One thing I struggle with, however, is what to feed everyone.  Remember how easy it used to be to throw a party when you were a teen?  Pizza, popcorn, chips and pop.  Wa-la!

It's not so easy anymore.  Now you have to think about who's vegan or vegetarian, who's gluten-free, who's sugar free, who has a nut allergy, who is lactose intolerant, and who eats only kosher.  I could go on and on.  Really, I could.

It is no problem to address these food preferences one at a time but what do you do when you need to address them all at once?

Case in point: Pax's dedication on Feb. 14, 2010.

Dietary preferences to be considered:

  • kosher/all organic
  • gluten-free
  • vegetarian/vegan
  • lactose intolerant
  • nut allergies
What I generally like to do for big parties is have some sort of bar: taco bar, baked potato bar, pizza/pasta bar ... but I found those ideas didn't really work this time.

Instead, I had a soup bar!  The premise--everyone fills their bowls with veggies, grains, and/or meats of their choice, pours a delicious vegan broth over it, and tops off the goodness with extra seasonings and cheeses.

The broth recipe easily feeds 15 but I wouldn't hesitate to double or triple it!  On the other hand, if you want this just for a small family, I'd half the recipe.

12 cups vegetable broth
6 cans (14.5 oz each) petite diced organic tomatoes (read the label to make sure they are gluten free)
3-4 t. chili powder
3-4 t. garlic powder (or 4-5 minced cloves)
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Throw everything into a pot.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the flavors start to blend.

Now the fillers are the sides that people spoon into their bowls prior to putting the broth in.
Here are some fun sides (remember this is enough to feed 15+ people so make less or more as needed)

  • chopped broccoli/cauliflower
  • 4-6 green, red, yellow, or orange peppers--seeded and chopped
  • thawed: corn, peas, carrots
  • 10 oz sliced mushrooms
  • chopped onion (1 large)
  • chopped celery
  • sliced black olives
  • 4 cooked, diced potatoes
  • 4 servings (1 cup uncooked) brown rice, cooked
  • 1 lb. whole grain pasta (I used mini-penne), cooked
  • 2, 14 oz cans drained black beans
  • 2-4 c. cooked, cubed chicken
  • 1/2 lb, thinkly sliced ham
  • 1 pepperoni stick, cubed
  • 1 lb. browned Italian sausage
  • 1 lb crumbled bacon
  • 1 lb. browned hamburger

Once the broth is on, have these extra toppings out for guests to use at their discretion.

  • 2 cups each shredded cheeses: parmesan, mozzarella, swiss, cheddar, pepper jack
  • Chives
  • Sour cream
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Oregano/parsley/basil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Paprika
  • cumin
Set up:
Have a long counter set up in this order:

Serve with:
A large salad or raw veggies in dipping sauce.  I also made a batch of rolls (but this didn't help the gluten-free friends much).  Don't forget dessert (we went with brownies!)

How to make the soup:
One more time.

  1. Get a bowl
  2. Add fillers
  3. Ladle on soup broth
  4. Top with cheese and seasonings.
Sample Soup Combos:

Pizza soup:
onion, peppers, pepperoni, sausage, black olives, pasta and broth.  Top with mozzarella cheese and oregano.

Vegetable soup:
Onion, celery, corn, peas, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, brown rice and broth. Top with parmesan.

Taco Soup:
Onion, ground beef, black beans, celery, and broth.  Top with cumin and pepper jack cheese.

Overall, this recipe went off without a hitch.  Guests raved.  I loved how easy it was to put together (really, open a bag of frozen corn, put in a bowl. Done).

I'll be using this recipe again and again. I LOVE it!


  1. I would have NEVER thought of doing something like this...what a great idea! And it does sound sooo easy. I can't wait for an opportunity to try it out!

  2. Cool idea! One question - do you need to steam some of the veggies like the broccoli or green peppers?

  3. Amy--let me know what you think if you use it!

    Sarah--I used frozen broccoli which is, in general, a bit mushier when de-frosted so I didn't steam it. I didn't steam the green peppers either because I like the crunchy texture. Great questions!

  4. What a fantastic idea! I would have never thought of this. I've done what I call a "soup bar" before but it was just three or four different kinds with some available toppings. This is much more fun! to think of an occasion to have it! :)


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