cobraphoto for Getty Images
cobraphoto for Getty Images

Homemade soup is a treat, especially during these chilly months. You can divide your soup into small containers, freeze them and bring them to the salon with you for a healthy lunch.


Chef John Chiakulas names three key ingredients that make a good soup: carrots, celery and sauteed onions. “Don’t cook the soup too much, as it will eventually boil away the flavor,” Chiakulas advises. “Keep it covered the whole time; otherwise the steam will release, and that’s where all the love and flavor are!”


Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants caught up with Chiakulas to get that expert advice and more: 

  • If your choice is between an oversized pot and an undersized pot, choose the oversized pot. Undercook a barley, lentil or pasta soup, because “as you boil the soup, the grain will keep getting softer.”
  • Make stock hours or even a full day in advance, “since it’s important to let the stock ‘rest’ and be strained before the actual soup is made.”
  • For cream soups, add the cream last.
  • Thoroughly clean chicken for chicken soup to remove bones, skin and clumps of fat, but leave a tiny bit of chicken fat for extra flavor.

“Soup should be comforting and filled with flavors that you know and love,” Chiakulas concludes. Here’s his lentil soup recipe.





2 tbsp light olive oil

3/4 lb Spanish onions

1/2 lb carrots

1/2 lb celery

1/2 tbsp resh garlic

1/4 tsp thyme leaves

1 pinch crushed chile flakes

1 pinch ground black pepper

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

few bay leaves

2 cups canned plum tomatoes

3 oz vegetable base

6 cups water

3/4 lb lentils

1/4 cup fresh spinach


In a large pot, saute onions with olive oil over high heat until light golden in color. Add carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and chiles, and cook over high heat. Saute and lightly brown all vegetables and spices for 7-8 minutes. Add vinegar and bay leaves. Boil to reduce vinegar. Add tomatoes, water and vegetable base and bring all to a boil. Simmer for 18-20 minutes. Add lentils. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-18 minutes. Divide into two 18-quart containers. Serve immediately or chill to 40 degrees.


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