Get out your soup spoons, everyone, as I believe we have officially hit soup season! Are you among those that are craving a nourishing, steamy bowl to take the chill off and make you feel cozy and full? But, it certainly does not have to have a chill in the air to enjoy soup as even if it isn’t soup season where you are, it really is an all-year-round way to start any healthy meal!

Up your cooking game by learning a few international flavor bases to make your next pot of soup (or stew) amazing! Simple swaps and steps do the trick that you can view here.

So, how do those great, healthy soups all begin? Besides digging out your favorite stock pot or extra large ladle, what do most soup recipes call for up front? A mirepoix, a soffritto or maybe even a “Holy Trinity?”  Call them what you want, but they all are a convivial gathering of aromatics, occasional herbs and spices and usually a bit of fat to get the party started.

These various flavor combinations go by different names in different cuisines, but they always play an upfront role in how that soup turns out. They provide a foundation of flavor to distinguish it from one healthy pot to another.







Most pots of soups start with a flavor base influenced by a particular type of cuisine (Italian, French, Asian) and it generally works like this:

1.  Prep and gather your tools.  

Most soup recipes begin by gathering a flavor base. These flavor bases originating from around the world usually break down into three or four aromatic vegetables, sometimes herbs, and occasionally a small bit of fat. Asian cuisines often add freshly ground spices as well.

2.   The veggies play a starring role.  

The vegetables, cut into uniform small pieces, make up the largest part of the flavor base and are typically given a slow, easy start over low heat to extract the flavor.  Many flavor bases are only vegetables depending on the cuisine.

Don’t miss this: Stumped for ways to get more veggies in your diet? Find lots of ways to bring healthy vegetables to your table right here.

3.  Then, come the enhancements.

After the vegetables have softened a bit, this is usually when the flavor base is enriched with the herbs and spices, if using. They are added a bit later so that they do not burn.

Don’t miss this: Look how herbs and spices can enhance your health and lots of ways to use them.


Why not look at how the pros do it! Here is an example of the highly recognized trio of the French mirepoix of onion, carrots and celery using a video from Mario Batali on how to create the classic mirepoix.

Cooking in any country has many variations of their flavor bases, as well as cooks adding their flair to the pot. Scan down to the next section to see ten classic flavor bases you can try you hand in to change up your pot of soup.


Learn here how to easily gIve your next pot of soup an international flair with these easy swaps to make even the most basic pot of soup exotic, flavorful and very healthy!


Here are some of the most commonly known flavor bases that can start off a soup to give a cultural boost to your next bowl of chicken soup that could very well easily become a Vietnamese Pho Ga or perhaps even a Mexican Posole Verde this week . . .

1.  Portuguese:  Although most starters begin with three items, here is one with four:  onions, garlic, peppers, and tomatoes.

2.  Cajun/Creole:  Often referred to as the “Holy Trinity,” onion, bell pepper, and celery make up the base for many classic gumbos.

3.  Chinese:  Multiple Chinese dishes start with a base of scallions, ginger, and garlic. There are variations that add various chili peppers, too.

4.  Hungarian:  The Hungarians often reach for paprika, lard, and onion as a flavor base for their soups and stews.

5.  Indian:  Garlic, ginger, and onion are the beginnings of many wonderful Indian soups.  Various spices of curry, garam masala, coriander, etc. are added as well depending on the recipe.

6.  French:  The familiar onions, carrots, and celery create many great soups in those French kitchens.

7.  Thai:  Many Thai traditional dishes are flavored with galangal (a kind of ginger), kaffir lime and lemongrass.

8.  Italian:   Regional differences apply from the north to the south in Italy.  Much like the French, northern Italy adheres to celery, carrots, and onions while those in the south, go for garlic, tomato and basil.

9.  Spanish:  Garlic, onion, and tomato all jump in the soup pot for great beginnings.

10.  West Africa:  The base of most West African cuisines is a trio of chili peppers, onions, and tomatoes.



Once you learn a few flavor bases (like the ones above or you can make up your own!), you can easily change up the base to change up the soup.  Let me explain:

Using this recipe for butternut squash soup as an example, instead of the French mirepoix called for in the recipe, begin that soup with a flavor base of ginger, garlic and onion, and add some curry powder instead of the chipotle chili and finish with a splash of coconut milk and that squash soup has now become a simple Indian Squash Soup.

Or, if you begin with the Hungarian flavor trio base listed above, you take that squash soup in a smokey, spicy Hungarian direction if that is what you are after.

So, next time if you want to take your pot of soup in a whole new orientation, maybe you should consider how you start.  That base you begin with could take you across the pond or even on a safari! Your destination is your choice.




For lots of easy and heathy soup inspiration, follow my Pinterest board, healthy soups right here, with loads of ideas for every night of the week! 

Please share a favorite soup recipe link in the comments or any other flavor bases you use in your country to start your dishes off right!


I love your spice suggestions. I need to print it out and put it in my spice drawer.


I am really happy to hear that, Jen. Please do and have fun creating your next pot of something special.

Oh I will have to keep these in mind I am trying to cook healthier soups now as we eat a lot for winter time. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

Winter is a greet time to cozy up with a big bowl! And, do make it healthy as there are so many delicious options, Jenny!

Good stuff! I love soups, especially during the colder months. I'm heading over to pin this, so that I can refer back to it. Thanks so much for linking up at last week's Tips & Tricks linky party. I hope you'll join us again, this week. 🙂

Thanks, Heather. So happy it is worthy of a pin and reference for you. Thanks for telling me and happy soup creating!

What great ideas for changing the soup flavor, this is very helpful.
Thanks so much,
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Do try a few, Kathleen. It is always fun to recreate in the kitchen!

This is awesome! This time of year I definitely find myself making a pot of soup each week and this is such a great resource!

Thanks so much, Morgan! Have fun creating and thanks for joining in here.

I love soups and soup season! This is really great and quite comprehensive–thank you! This is my sweet potato black bean soup–yum!

Julie | Making Mindfulness |

Great! So glad you shared one for us to try! Thanks for coming by and happy to hear you enjoyed the post.

I love love loooooove soup. We definitely have it at least a few times a week in the fall/winter. I love the tips for different types of cuisines! I'm trying to expand my soup repertoire so those are handy ideas!

Right there with you – soup nut here, too. Do switch it up with these other starters and you will surprised how it can really make a difference. Thanks for coming by and sharing your obsession!

There is nothing like an awesome vegetable based soup, I've mastered the mirepoix but still have SO much to learn. Especially about the broth, it's so tempting to just buy pre-packaged stuff from the stuff. And yes, I go for the organic stuff but I'd love to learn more about soup making flavors from around the world. Such a great post! I'll be back when I make that soup later in the week =)

Super! Can"t wait for your return! Soup spoon in hand, I hope.