Let’s talk soup without stock! And soup without broth.
In the past I felt I had to use stock to get a really delicious full flavoured soup.
Often I didn’t have any stock in the freezer or the pantry.
So I made a conscious effort to experiment with soups that don’t require stock as a flavour base.
And you know what?
It’s totally possible to make amazing soups without stock.
Here’s how you do it…
7 Tips for Full Flavoured Soups Without Stock
1. Use aromatic vegetables
One of the secrets to great stock is being generous with the aromatic vegetables – onion, carrots, celery, garlic or leeks.
So rather than add stock, I like to add at least one of these directly to the soup. Big flavour and no waste. Win win!
2. Season with soy sauce
Soy sauce is rich in lovely umami-type savoury flavours. Even a tablespoon can turn a simple soup into something totally moreish.
3. Use a full flavoured accompaniment.
4. Don’t overdo the water
When you’re making soup without stock, it’s really important that you don’t add too much water or other liquid.
You can always thin out a too-thick soup, but rescuing a watery soup can take hours of simmering.
5. Season seriously
Seasoning properly is critical for optimum flavour in all cooking but especially so in soup.
Stocks or bouillon tend to be quite salty naturally, so soup made on a stock base tends not to need as much salt & pepper.
When switching to stock-free soup, it can be easy to under-season so be ultra careful to taste and add more salt if needed.
6. Use a little acid
A little lemon juice or a splash of vinegar can turn a dull soup into a vibrant star.
7. Spice it up
Some chilli can do wonders to compliment the warming nature of soup.
A little freshly ground black pepper, cumin or coriander or even curry powder can give an old favourite soup a new lease of life.
Does soup have to have stock or broth?
Absolutely NOT! The only thing a soup needs to have is liquid. And while stock or broth can be delicious liquids to use in a soup there are plenty of alternatives.
My go-to liquid is plain water so the ingredients in the soup provide the flavour. But I also use tomato passata (puree) or canned tomatoes, coconut milk, coconut cream, wine, whipping cream
How do I fix bland tasting soup?
The first thing is to add some salt because salt dials up all the flavour naturally occurring in the soup. If that doesn’t fix it, try more salt. And if it still tastes flat add a squeeze of lemon or lime.
The other option is to serve with a big flavour bomb ingredient on top. For example goats cheese, olives, roast almonds, roast walnuts, pine nuts, crispy fried shallots, sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, pesto, hummus, shaved or grated parmesan cheese or a drizzle of peppery extra virgin olive oil.
Can you just add water to soup?
Yes. I do all the time. I love the cleaner flavours from soups that don’t use stock. Just remember you’ll probably need more salt to make up for the seasoning that would be inherent in the stock or broth.
Can I use bone broth instead of stock
Absolutely! Bone broths tend to be super flavoursome so be prepared for a big flavour explosion.
Broccoli & Parmesan Soup
It’s hard not to love broccoli. All its greenness just screams good for you. And in soup form, it feels even more nurturing.
This would also work well with frozen broccoli. For a vegan version, skip the cheese and serve with a sprinkling of lightly toasted pinenuts or almonds.
If you don’t have a stick blender, feel free to serve as a chunky soup. Or use a regular blender of food processor – just be very careful when pureeing the hot soup.
Enough for: 2
Takes: 15 Minutes
2 heads broccoli, chopped including tender stalks
1 small piece of parmesan rind, optional, + shaved parmesan to serve
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Bring 2 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan.
2. Add broccoli, Parmesan rind, if using and soy sauce.
3. Cover and simmer rapidly for 8-10 minutes or until broccoli is tender.
4. Puree in the saucepan with a stick blender until smooth.
5. Taste and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve with extra parmesan sprinkled over the top.
Video version of the recipe
More Simple 6-Ingredient Soup Recipes
- Mushroom Soup with Brown Butter Walnuts & Crispy Sage
- Chunky Cauli & Sausage Soup
- Spinach Soup with Smashed Feta & Walnuts
- Addictive Thai Mushroom Soup
- 6 Simple 5-Ingredient Soups
- Spicy Roast Eggplant & Harissa Soup
- Yuuummy Spiced Tomato Soup
- No-Cry Roast Onion Soup
- Addictive Green Curry of Broccoli Soup
Have fun in the kitchen!