How to Garnish a Soup

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Create attractive soup presentations with interesting garnishes.
Create attractive soup presentations with interesting garnishes. (Image: John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Enhance the flavor and presentation of soups with a garnish. Edible and appetizing garnishes provide color, texture and flavor, and can transform any soup into a gourmet delight. Depending on the type of soup, you can decorate it with a variety of simple and exotic garnishes.

Things You'll Need

  • Vegetable slices
  • Herbs
  • Heavy cream
  • Bread croutons
  • Fried dumplings
  • Cheese
  • Chickpeas
  • Fried savories
  • Nori
  • Apple chips

Thick Soups

Cut wafer-thin slices of vegetables such as cucumber, tomato or onion. Place a few sprigs of herbs such as mint, basil, parsley or coriander over the cut slice. Set this garnish in the center of a bowl of thick, pureed or cream soup such as carrot, tomato and celery. Thick soups can handle the weight of heavier garnishes.

Set aside a few vegetables and roast while preparing pureed vegetable soup. Garnish the soup with the roasted vegetables. Roasted vegetables accentuate the flavor of the soup and provide a contrast to the texture. You can also provide a texture contrast with a chickpea garnish. Roast 1 tsp. of boiled chickpeas for 5 minutes in the oven, or until they attain a crunchy texture. Sprinkle in the center of a creamy pureed soup.

Layer your garnishes to add more flavor and color. Place dried apple chips over a bread crouton. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. fresh chives or dill over it. Set atop a bowl of sweet vegetable or root vegetable soups.

Create a white-colored design over a carrot or tomato soup by drizzling some heavy cream. Top with a thin toasted bread slice or a fried dumpling.

Thin Soups

Use light garnishes for thin soups. Cut extremely thin and long strips of chives and set finely shredded herbs over them. Place in a bowl of thin soup such as clear chicken or vegetable soup. Peel cucumbers, beets and carrots to create colorful, delicate ribbons or cigar-shaped garnishes.

Use fried savories to garnish clear soups. Lightly fry or bake tortilla strips, Chinese noodles or bread squares and sprinkle over clear soups.

Lightly toast a few sheets of seaweed such as nori in the oven for 2 minutes. Crush and sprinkle over clear vegetable or meat soup for a crunchy and flavorful accent.

Tips & Warnings

  • Create artistic garnish designs by arranging finely sliced vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and radish in the shape of flowers or other designs.
  • Avoid including too many different colors or items in your garnish. This can draw the focus away from your soup.

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