The Best Greens To Spruce Up Your Canned Soup

On a cozy winter day (or any time of year), canned soup is an easy, convenient comfort food. But while cooking it is typically as simple as pouring it in a pot and heating it up over the stove, it can turn out a little blah on its own. Even the most vegetable-heavy soups can be lacking in freshness, so if you're looking to spruce up your next can, try adding in some vibrant green ingredients. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, arugula, chard, mustard greens, and collard greens are instant winners, and you probably already have a bag of at least one of these in your fridge right now. Not only will the fresh mix-ins brighten up your soup and bring a little life to ingredients that have been sitting in a can for a while, but they're a nutritious addition, boasting fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. They're also typically low in sodium, making them a great addition to a dish that is typically sodium-heavy.

These greens work beautifully in soup because some, like mustard greens and kale, have a slightly bitter taste or rough texture that can be difficult to swallow fresh — but allowing the leaves to wilt on the stove softens both qualities. If you're not sure which canned soup to choose, go for one that is rich, creamy, meat-heavy, or could use some light leafy greens. Chicken noodle soup, cream of mushroom soup, creamy taco soup, and any meat stew are all great contenders.

How to add greens to canned soup

Luckily, the minimal extra work involved with adding greens into your canned soup keeps it a pretty painless meal to whip up. If you're using leafy greens, you can just toss them in the pot when you warm everything up on the stove. Smaller types like baby spinach and arugula will wilt pretty quickly, but if you're using something studier like kale, let it cook for a couple of extra minutes. Of course, you can always throw in a handful of frozen leafy greens if that's all you have on hand.

For an added veggie boost, you can also add any green vegetables you have on hand, like broccoli, green beans, peas, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, celery, leeks, or zucchini. Frozen veggies are perfect add-ins too, since in most cases, you can just toss them in and let them warm up alongside the soup. Ideal choices are frozen peas, broccoli, and green beans, as long as the latter are cut into smaller pieces. If you opt for hearty, fresh veggies like celery or zucchini, you may have to add a few extra steps to wash, cut, and sauté them before tossing them in the pot. However, if you have leftover cooked vegetables on hand, they make a prime candidate for a quick warm-up in soup. It may take a few extra minutes, but adding greens to your canned soup makes for a delicious and nutritious upgrade.