7 Healthy Soup Garnishes

We fully admit that toasty bread and melty cheese are among our favorite soup garnishes, but they aren't the healthiest of choices! If you're trying to eat clean this time of year – or just want to enhance the flavor, texture, or presentation of your soup or stew – here are some healthy garnish ideas…

Pumpkin seeds – Crunchy, toasted pumpkin seeds are the perfect complement to winter squash and sweet potato soups. For extra oomph, try this recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Seeds.

Dukkah – Made from nuts, sesame seeds, coriander, and cumin, this Egyptian spice mix gives fantastic flavor to chickpea, lentil, and vegetable soups.

Popped amaranthAmaranth is a protein-packed seed that can be popped like popcorn. The nutty flavor makes a good garnish for vegetable, corn, and bean soups.

Olive oil – A simple drizzle of good quality finishing olive oil is both delicious and elegant.

Olives – Minced black or kalamata olives add zing; use them as is or mix with minced garlic and parsley for even bigger flavor. This is especially tasty on potato or cauliflower soups.

Fresh herbs – Sprinkle a chiffonade of basil, sage, parsley, or other herbs in the center of a bowl of soup, or puree the herbs with olive oil or yogurt for a flavorful green swirl.

Fresh fruits and vegetables – Use a mandoline, vegetable peeler, or chef's knife to finely slice or shred garnishes from fruits and vegetables like apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, fennel, carrots, or bell peppers.

What are your favorite (healthy) soup garnishes?

Related: Crispy, Crunchy, Chewy: 6 Unusual Garnishes for Soup

(Image: Emily Ho)

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Emily Han (formerly Emily Ho) is a writer, recipe developer and educator on topics such as food preservation, wild food and herbalism. She is author of Wild Drinks and Cocktails (Fall 2015), co-founder of Food Swap Network and creator of Miss Chiffonade