Garnishes to Turn Your Soup into a Meal

Thank you Amy’s for sponsoring this post. #StartWithAmys this Soup Season.

We are deep into the fall season, the weather has really turned and there is nothing I love more than cozying up to a steamy bowl of hearty soup to warm me up from the inside out.  On busy weeknights, soup is such a convenient option to get in vegetables, whole grains and plant-based protein all at once.  A meal in a bowl is always ideal.

I have a habit of never serving my soups “naked.”  I just cannot.  Soup garnishes are like accessories for your food!  I love to pair my bowl of soup with a swirl of homemade almond crema, fresh herbs, warm homemade flatbread and/or crispy seasoned chickpea “croutons.”  Garnishes are more than just bells and whistles – they take any soup from good to great.  They add layers of flavor and texture that make the entire experience more colorful and enjoyable.  They also oftentimes make soup more filling, turning a bowl of soup into a fully satisfying meal.

Soup garnishes don’t have to mean a lot of effort.  If I’m in a rush, I opt for canned soup and easy homemade garnishes.  Garnishes elevate any canned soup to give it a fresh feel.

For canned soup, I absolutely love Amy’s high-quality soups.  In the cooler months, I stock up my pantry with Amy’s soups for those times when I want something tasty and easy that’ll warm me up.  Amy’s has been creating vegetarian soups for over thirty years.

As I’ve gotten to know this brand more, I learned their cooks take their time building each dish and tending to the large kettles of simmering soups.  They select, chop, shred, saute, simmer and taste and it really does make a difference in the final product.  The magic of Amy’s is that they have been able to produce food at a large scale but use time-trusted methods of home cooks.  They cook with ingredients that I would use in my own kitchen and don’t use a lot of starches and thickeners to create texture.  They rely on slow simmering and cooking to develop thick soups.  So, even though I’m all about homemade, if I don’t have the time for homemade soup, I feel good relying on Amy’s for a quick and easy meal.  Plus, their cans are BPA-free.

With that, let’s get to these garnishes that work for almost any soup.  These three are my all-time favorite ways to turn any bowl of soup into a meal.

Socca: Homemade Flatbread

This protein-packed flatbread recipe is easy to bring together.  It is perfect for anyone with a gluten sensitivity since it is made from chickpea flour, water, salt and just a touch of oil.  Sometimes I add maple syrup and additional seasonings for more flavor.  Once you master the simple method below you can experiment with your favorite combinations.  Try adapting the seasonings to what you are serving the flatbread with.  I love to dip it in homemade pesto sauce or flavored olive oils and serve alongside soup or salad for a more filling meal.

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Socca Flatbread

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 8 slices 1x


  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus 2 teaspoons for the pan)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional for a touch of sweetness)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder (optional for added flavor)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (optional for added flavor)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (optional for added flavor)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional for heat)


  1. Turn your oven to broil (500 degrees F) and place the top oven rack 6 inches from the top heating element. This is the oven rack you will be using.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine chickpea flour, water, oil, maple syrup if using, salt and additional seasonings if using. Whisk until no lumps remain then set aside to rest for 25 minutes. At that point, place an empty, un-oiled 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes. Allow the chickpea flour batter to continue to sit while the skillet heats for those 5 minutes. The batter will be resting for a total of 30 minutes.
  3. Using two oven mitts, carefully remove the skillet from the oven and place on a heat-safe surface (I use my stovetop). Coat the bottom of the skillet with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Carefully pour the rested batter into the pan ensuring it evenly coats the entire bottom (you may need to pick up the skillet using your oven mitts to swirl the batter around). Immediately place the skillet back in the broiler (6 inches from the top heating element) for 5 minutes. Watch carefully at the end to avoid burning. You want the crust to be golden brown around the edges and a bit golden in the center. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and rest on a heat-safe surface. Cut and serve immediately. This flatbread is best when fresh but it can be cooled and stored in your refrigerator in an airtight container for 1-2 days.


Homemade Almond Crema

This easy, dairy-free cream is perfect to dollop onto your soup.  As you swirl it into your steamy bowl you will love the creamy texture it adds. It adds a subtle nutty sweetness that pairs well with most soups.  It is so quick and easy to make and it never disappoints!  I also use this almond cream sauce for pasta dishes.  I love that it adds more plant-based protein and healthy fats to the meal.

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Homemade Almond Crema

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 2 mins
  • Total Time: 2 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons raw slivered almonds (not sliced almonds)
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • pinch of salt
  • squeeze of lemon (optional)


  1. In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients on the juice setting if your blender has that setting. Otherwise, use the highest speed for at least one minute until everything is silky smooth.

  • Category: Condiment/Garnish

Crispy Seasoned Chickpea “Croutons”

If you have a bit more time, these extra crispy chickpea “croutons” can be enjoyed as a snack on their own.  They work well to bulk up my soups.  Oven roasted chickpea “croutons” add the perfect crunch to top off your bowl.  And depending on the seasonings you use it can add to the overall flavor of the dish.  I like to go with seasonings that compliment the soup underneath.  If you aren’t sure, you can never go wrong with simply oil, salt, pepper and maybe even a little garlic powder or paprika.

Here is my recipe for chickpea croutons.  I know you will love them as a pre-dinner snack, salad topper or soup garnish.

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Crispy Chickpea “Croutons”

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1, 15 ounce can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1.5 tablespoons avocado or walnut oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse, drain and dry chickpeas well. I like to place the chickpeas between two paper towels and roll with two flat hands until all moisture is absorbed.
  3. Place dried chickpeas in a 10-inch cast iron skillet or on a parchment lined baking sheet and toss well with oil and salt. You can add maple syrup for a sweet/savory combination at this time. Spread out evenly leaving room for each chickpea to breathe.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes.
  5. After baking, toss with additional seasonings if desired while the chickpeas are still warm (such as 1/2 teaspoon paprika, smoked paprika, curry powder, onion powder, garlic powder or turmeric).
  6. Allow to fully cool before storing.
  7. Store at room temperature with the lid slightly cracked so they do not get soggy. They are best when fresh but can last a couple of days.

  • Category: Snack or Garnish


Other garnish ideas

  • Crumbled chips, crackers or breadcrumbs
  • Avocado slices
  • Toasted chopped nuts or seeds

In addition to these you can also add simple flavor and/or texture enhancers to your bowl:

  • Microgreens
  • Lemon or lime zest
  • Fresh squeeze of lemon or lime juice
  • Scallions, chives, dill, parsley, basil, cilantro, rosemary, sage, grated ginger
  • Diced shallots or red onion (raw or lightly sautéed)
  • Herbed sauces (such as pesto)
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Dusting of spices
  • Drizzle of oil

I hope these suggestions give you some ideas for taking a humble, naked bowl of soup to the next level.  With a little creativity you can really enhance the flavors and textural difference of your soup.

My final piece of advice is not to let the garnishes overwhelm the soup.  It can be tempting, so I always suggest starting with a minimal approach. Subtle is better.  You can always add.  But you don’t want to pile on the garnishes to the point that they steal the show from the soup itself.

I would love to see your soup garnishes!  If you give any of these ideas a try, please let me know! Leave a comment below, rate it above, and tag a photo @eatingbyelaine and #eatingbyelaine on InstagramTwitter or Facebook so I can see your garnishes!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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