Vinegar in Soup: The Soup-er Secret Ingredient (2024)

Move aside, chicken noodle and tomato bisque! We’re trying out some new soups with one ingredient in common: vinegar.Flavorful and unique, these recipes will have you including vinegar in soup for years to come.

The following is an excerpt from Wildcrafted Vinegars by Pascal Baudar. It has been adapted for the web.

Adding Vinegar in Soup

It may sound a bit strange and unusual for some, but vinegar is a common ingredient in some soup recipes, and there is a good reason for it.

If you think about it, vinegar is really a flavor-enhancer (umami). That’s why it is so often used in cooking, sauces, and salad dressings. The same is true with soups.

Some good examples are the classic Chinese sweet, hot, and sour soups and sauces, but you’ll find vinegar used in recipes from numerous other countries and cultures, as well.

So, a big YES to vinegars in soups! To be honest, this was kind of a new concept for me before working on this book, but these days I often use vinegar in my wild food soups.

In this book, I want to share a very, very basic vinegar soup stock recipe that anyone can make. With it, I’m able to make a comforting soup in minutes using the plants from any hike. The secret code for this soup stock is 1.1.1.

1.1.1. Soups

The simple soup stock is composed of:

  • 1 cup (240 ml) soup stock or water (boiling hot)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vinegar (spicy ones are the best!)

That’s it. Now of course, it’s much better with a good soup stock (plant-based or not), but even water works.

If you only have water, maybe add a teaspoon of blended herbs and fresh onion/garlic in the bowl, but water alone will still be okay.

Vinegar in Soup:The Creative Possibilities

You have tons of creative possibilities. The vinegar can be homemade and spicy (like Tabasco), for example, but what you put in the bowl is also endlessly creative.

Go on a hike, pick some of your favorite wild edibles, and use them alongside regular savory ingredients such as garlic, onion, chili peppers, and so on.

For the soup in the photo I used fermented burdock roots, pickled radish pods, nettles pasta, minced black mustard leaves, sliced red onion, garlic, and 1⁄2 teaspoon (1.5 g) of Italian herbs.

I like to cut the wild greens in small strips (chiffonade) so that even tough leaves become edible.

Perfect Recipes for Foragers

So seriously, try it. . . . I think you’ll love it. It’s perfect for foragers who can collect various savory plants to make something quick and delicious, but it obviously works with store-bought ingredients, too.

If you’re a fermenter, you can add some of your favorite savory ferments like I did with the fermented burdock roots.

Oh…and seaweed! Seaweed with sliced red onions and tofu . . . so good!

If it’s too salty for you, reduce the amount of soy sauce. And try a good spicy vinegar or a vinegar-based hot sauce like Tabasco. Such a nice balance. If you use Tabasco, make it half regular cider vinegar and half Tabasco, otherwise it might be too spicy.

The following 2 recipes are examples to show the versatility.

RECIPE: Mixed Seasonal Wild Greens and Mushrooms Soup

With this kind of soup (1.1.1.), you can easily take advantage of what’s in season in your environment. In Southern California I’ve always found wild greens I could use at any time of the year, such as watercress, chickweed, wild mustard leaves, miner’s lettuce, and so on.

Even during the winter, I was able to use young mustard or wild radish sprouts.

In this recipe I’m using commercial baby bella mushrooms. If you use foraged mushrooms, make sure to cook them first. Some wild mushrooms, such as morels, can be toxic if they are eaten raw or not fully cooked.

Ingredients for 1 large bowl (240 ml)

  • 1 1⁄2 cups (360 ml) soup stock or water
  • 1⁄4 onion, slice
  • 2 tablespoons (7 g) chopped wild greens 11⁄2 tablespoons (23 ml) soy sauce
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons (23 ml) homemade vinegarof your choice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 baby bella mushroom, sliced
  • 1 dry chili pepper
  • 1⁄2 garlic clove, minced

Procedure

  1. Place a pot containing the soup stock over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, place all the remaining ingredients into a bowl. If you use wild mushrooms, make sure to cook them first.
  3. Pour the boiling stock over the ingredients and wait 5 or 6 minutes before serving. If you want to keep the soup very warm, you can place a plate on top of the bowl.

This kind of soup is quick and easy to make, which was perfect for my classes. We were able to do a wild food walk, collect wild greens, and make a soup on the spot.

RECIPE: Wild Radish Roots Soup

This is another example of the versatility of the 1.1.1 soup. You’re not stuck using just common wild greens and mushrooms.

There are all kinds of savory or nutritious ingredients that can be added, such as roots, seeds and grains, edible flowers, and even insects.

I used to have a small mealworm “farm” in my apartment and would sometimes add dehydrated mealworms to my soups as a source of protein and nutty flavor.

The Brassica family has a lot of edible roots. Personally, I’ve used wild radish, black mustard, and Mediterranean mustard roots to make this kind of soup.

Realize that timing is important, as a lot of the wild Brassica roots become tough and fibrous over time. Feel free to create other soups around this basic recipe by adding ingredients from your own terroir.

Ingredients for 1 large bowl (240 ml)

  • 11⁄2 cups (360 ml) soup stock or water 1⁄4 onion, sliced
  • 2 to 3 wild radish pods
  • 3 to 4 small and tender wild radishor mustard roots
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons (23 ml) soy sauce
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons (23 ml) homemade vinegarof your choice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄2 jalapeño, sliced
  • 1⁄2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) wild oat grains (I cook themwell in advance and freeze them)
  • 1 teaspoon (1.9 g) sliced black mustard stems

Procedure

  1. Place a pot containing the soup stock over high heat and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, place all the remaining ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Pour the boiling water over the ingredients and wait 5 or 6 minutes before serving. If you want to keep the soup very warm, you can place a plate on top of the bowl.

Recommended Reads

The Vibrance of Vinegar: Methods to Make Vinegar From Scratch

Miso Soup for the Soul

Vinegar in Soup: The Soup-er Secret Ingredient (2024)

FAQs

Vinegar in Soup: The Soup-er Secret Ingredient? ›

It may sound a bit strange and unusual for some, but vinegar is a common ingredient in some soup recipes, and there is a good reason for it. If you think about it, vinegar is really a flavor-enhancer (umami). That's why it is so often used in cooking, sauces, and salad dressings. The same is true with soups.

What does adding vinegar to soup do? ›

As well as adding flavor, vinegar can preserve food, improve the appearance of a dish, and even fill in for missing ingredients. For example, if you've run out of fresh lemon or lime, you can always use ½ teaspoon of vinegar in place of a teaspoon of citrus juice for that flavorsome tang!

What is the secret ingredient in soup? ›

Like salt, the lemon doesn't only lend its own flavor, it helps to embolden other flavors in the soup itself, amplifying all of the other ingredients to their best and brightest. It livens up the whole shebang and really makes the soup, truthfully.

How do you balance the taste of vinegar in soup? ›

The best way to counteract vinegar if too much is put into soup is to add a sweetener, such as sugar or honey, to balance out the flavor. You can also add dairy, such as cream, milk, or yogurt, or a starch, such as potatoes, rice, or pasta, to help mellow out the acidity of the vinegar.

Why do you put balsamic vinegar in soup? ›

Tomato Soup: I used to think the only finishing touch my tomato soup needed was grilled cheese, but now I know the key to a fantastic tomato soup is a splash of aged balsamic vinegar. The sweetness will help neutralize the acidity of the tomatoes, while its tang will awaken their deep umami notes.

Why do you put vinegar in broth? ›

Then add apple cider vinegar, which is added primarily because the acidity breaks down the collagen and makes it more abundant in the broth. You can also sub lemon juice, but we prefer apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.

Why does my homemade soup taste like vinegar? ›

If your dinner has become too vinegary or sour the problem is acid and this brings a unique solution. Alkalis. If your dinner, especially a soup or stew, has too much acid you can simply add a little bicarbonate soda.

What makes soup more flavorful? ›

Got a soup that tastes a little bland and unexciting? Add a splash of vinegar (any kind!), or a squeeze of citrus. Chances are, you could use a little more salt.

Why add vinegar to chicken noodle soup? ›

While adding vinegar won't reduce the amount of sodium in the pot, the sharp tang of this condiment can help equal out the salty flavor on your tastebuds, masking the brininess of an oversalted soup and making it easier to eat.

What cancels vinegar taste? ›

Mixing in a sprinkle of common alkaline ingredients, like baking soda or baking powder, can often salvage a dish. If this still hasn't done the trick, adding neutral flavors, like sour cream or yogurt, can also help balance out the flavors.

How to fix something too vinegary? ›

  1. If you have added too much vinegar to your recipe, don't panic. There are some simple ways to balance the acidity and save your dish. ...
  2. - Add some sugar or honey to the dish. ...
  3. - Add some baking soda to the dish. ...
  4. - Add some dairy products to the dish. ...
  5. - Add some herbs or spices to the dish.
Mar 19, 2021

Does vinegar bring out flavor? ›

First and foremost, it is used to flavor. Depending on the variety, vinegar can bring a sour, tangy, sweet, mild, malty, woody or even buttery flavor to your dish. It can also be used to color or discolor foods.

Why do chefs put vinegar in soup? ›

If you think about it, vinegar is really a flavor-enhancer (umami). That's why it is so often used in cooking, sauces, and salad dressings.

When should you add vinegar to soup? ›

Peterson said, "When you're tasting and it appears that the flavors in a recipe are refusing to focus, a little vinegar will often do the trick." The Kitchn concurs that vinegar is a "one ingredient" fix when your soup does not meet your taste bud's expectations. But don't overdo it.

What does apple cider vinegar do to soup? ›

Add a splash or two of ACV when the soup is done cooking. The vinegar helps lift and highlight flavors. Pickle with ACV. Many home cooks use Apple Cider Vinegar instead of white vinegar for quick pickle veggies.

Does vinegar make soup less spicy? ›

Capsaicin is an alkaline molecule, so pairing it with something acidic like citrus juice or vinegar can help neutralize some of the heat. Dairy products are also acidic, which is another reason why they are effective at tempering spice.

What are the benefits of adding vinegar? ›

Vinegar is good for lowering blood glucose levels, helping with weight loss and boosting skin health. It also has antibacterial properties. Today, more and more people are discovering its health benefits and using it as a go-to remedy for everything from minor ailments to chronic diseases.

What does adding vinegar to cooking do? ›

Depending on the variety, vinegar can bring a sour, tangy, sweet, mild, malty, woody or even buttery flavor to your dish. It can also be used to color or discolor foods. Because of its unique ability to break down proteins, vinegar is also used as a marinade to help tenderize meats and veggies.

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