Canned soups are a quick, budget-friendly lunch when there is no time to cook, but they can often be salty, bland, or just boring. Adding just an ingredient or two from your own pantry or fridge can turn a ho-hum canned soup into a satisfying meal. Here are our 10 favorite additions:• 1 Greens: A handful of leafy greens like frozen spinach, thinly sliced chopped kale or bagged arugula add color, nutrition and a fresh flavor.
• 2 Acid: A little acid from lemon juice, vinegar, crème fraîche or pickles brighten up even the dullest soup.
• 3 Fresh herbs or spices: Leafy herbs like parsley or cilantro, or spices like toasted cumin or smoked paprika add a ton of flavor with very little work.
• 4 Meat: Anything from leftover grilled chicken breast to crumbled bacon or sausage can bulk up soups.
• 5 Eggs: Add a sliced hardboiled egg, a soft poached egg, or drizzle a scrambled egg into simmering broth for an egg-drop-style soup.
• 6 Grains: Leftover cooked grains make for a nice textural contrast.
• 7 Cooked potato: Ladling hot soup over a baked potato, a roasted sweet potato or leftover mashed potatoes makes for a filling meal.
• 8 Caramelized onion or shallot: Stirred in or added as a garnish, crispy caramelized onions add a blast of flavor.
• 9 Grated cheese: Try adding a handful of finely grated Parmesan or a sprinkle of sharp cheddar.
• 10 Bread: Go simple with a few crunchy croutons or all the way with a cheesy, toasted-bread top.
Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.
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