You Don’t Have to Use Your Noodle!

Grains Add Wonderful Flavors and Textures to Soup

There’s nothing quite like a delicious bowl of soup or stew in the winter. It can be a warming appetizer that gets your taste buds excited for the coming entrée, or it can be an entrée itself. Many soups and stews benefit from some added starch for extra heartiness. Noodles reign supreme here, and sometimes it’s just the right choice.  However, there are grains you can use that can add wonderful flavors and textures while letting your guests know you put some soul into their bowl!

Barley, quinoa, amaranth, millet, farro, couscous… the choices are endless. You can pick your grain depending on the texture and flavor you’re after. Pearled barley is quick to cook and mild.  It’s commonly added to beef stew but I also love it in chicken and mushroom soup. For extra credit, source some hulled barley, which benefits from soaking overnight and has more robust flavor as the germ is left intact. Couscous is great for adding authenticity to soups inspired by ethnic cuisines. Farro has a wonderful nuttiness and great, chewy texture. Millet is extremely neutral and quadruples in size (it’s a thirsty grain!)

To avoid having the grains absorb all the liquid of a stew, you can cook the grains separately. I’ll often make, for example, a beef stew with Cook’s Delight® Beef Soup Base, but then cook the grains in a separate pot using Cook’s Delight® Vegetable Stock. This also adds another layer of flavor while preserving the consistency of the finished stew.

Whatever your application, give some thought to using seeds and grains in place of noodles. It might allow you to present a soup as a gluten free option or entice a guest to try it because it sounds fresh and creative!

Explore our Cook’s Delight® Soup Bases and Flavor Concentrates Product List and learn how our soup bases can help you create better recipes and delight your customers.  Learn more about soup base


Chef Jim Chaddock


Jim Chaddock

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