Soup for lunch! (And interested party)
I've had a couple of people ask how I make my Giant Bowls Of Lunch Soup, and so I will post the directions here. It takes fifteen minutes and only enough technical skill to boil water, and makes an enormous bowl of healthy satisfying warm food.
Get two cups of broth or stock. If you have home-made, that's the best, but don't stress it. Of the box brands, I like Swanson's low-sodium fat-free chicken stock, and Trader Joe's Miso Ginger broth (for the vegetarians and vegans in the audience. Or people who like miso. Yum.) You could also make a quick miso broth with dashi (dried fish stock), and whisk some live miso into it at the very end once it comes off the boil. (So as not to murder the poor little probiotics before consuming them.)
Please don't use boullion cubes. Those things are not food.
Season the broth with any or all of the following: sliced ginger, lemon grass, cilantro, lime leaf, coconut milk, red peppers, sweet chili paste, hot sauce, fish sauce, Italian seasoning, star anise, dried seaweed... whatever takes your fancy.
While the broth is coming to a boil, put any or all of the following things in a great big bowl: greens (baby greens are best--spinach, kale, mesclun mix, whatever), thin-sliced veggies (radishes, sweet peppers, celery, carrots, avocado, jicama, leftover cooked vegetables, pea pods, red cabbage, precut broccoli slaw from a bag, whatever), and if you want it some protein (cooked chicken, tofu cubes, tuna, you name it.) and some fresh herbs (I am really partial to cilantro, but basil or rosemary would give a more Mediterranean flair), lime or lemon zest and/or juice...
I like carbs. They fuel my brain, and long runs. So once the broth is boiling, I either add some frozen potstickers, some quinoa, some leftover rice, or some noodles or pasta of some sort. (If you are using a sticky kind of noodle you may want to pre-cook it in a different pot of water, then drain and transfer, to keep from clouding your broth, but this is optional.) You want a relatively small quantity, because otherwise you use up all your broth.
Once the carbs are cooked (or, if using precooked carbs, the broth has come back to a boil) you may either add some frozen shrimp or fish (if you like) or a raw egg. If using an egg, lower the heat to a simmer before adding it. Either will only take a minute or two to cook, covered. (I like my eggs soft-poached in this application. Then you can open them up and dip things in the delicious creamy yolk before you eat them.)
Once that's accomplished, take the whole pot of soup and pour it slowly, while boiling hot, over your greens. Poke the greens down until they're submerged. They will blanch in the boiling broth and be perfect.
You could sprinkle something crunchy on top if you wanted, like chopped peanuts or crumbled nori or sesame seeds or that red and black stuff they put on sushi rice in your chirashi if you're lucky.
I usually eat this with chopsticks, because it has big chunks and there's nobody around who cares is I slurp the broth after, but the utensils are up to you. This is obviously pretty easy to customize for any dietary need you might have, as well, except "hates soup."
It serves the purpose of a really satisfying lunch that has a ton of veggies in it and feeds my dumpling/noodle habit in a non-destructive way!
NB: The combination of premade frozen potstickers and even the low-sodium packaged broth is a salt bomb, FYI. Since I eat very little processed food, it generally doesn't send me over for the day, but if it concerns you, look for lower-sodium alternatives.