Food Geek Friday: Soup Bar

Merry Christmas Eve to you! My Dad's side of the family got together last weekend and I wanted to change things up a bit so we created a make-your-own-soup bar. This is super easy to make and do for large family gatherings or if you've got house guests staying over during the holidays.

To create, you start with a base soup and then have a variety of things on the side that each person adds in to their liking. For my base, I used a bean and veggie soup that I've been making for years. I call it "soup for the third world" because, well, you end up with a TON of soup!

(I made it the day before because it's better the next day.)

Bean and Veggie Soup for the Third World

  • (1) 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • (1) 15oz can cannellini beans, drained
  • (1) 15oz can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 bag frozen green beans
  • (1) 32oz container low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt, pepper and spices to taste (I use Italian blend)

In large soup pot, bring tomatoes, undrained, to a simmer.  Simmer for a couple of minutes.  Add chicken broth, cannellini beans, red kidney beans, bay leaves and spices.  Bring to a simmer.  Add green beans and simmer for 3 minutes or until green beans are ready.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  

We were expecting about 20 people so I made a double batch. This would have been fine and dandy but with so many other appetizers, sides and dessert it wasn't necessary at ALL! If we do this again next year, I'll only make a single batch.

For the sides we had:

  • Hamburger meat browned with Italian seasonings
  • Sweet Italian sausage
  • Shrimp sauteed with olive oil, garlic and Italian seasonings
  • Mini-farfalle pasta
  • Rice

Everyone got to customize their own bowls and enjoy the soup of their own creation! So if you're expecting overnight guests or just a bunch of people over, this is a fun and easy dinner solution.