How To Make Prepackaged Soup Better

September 27, 2016
how to make prepackaged soup better

Quick, healthy, filling. That’s my mantra when it comes to meals, especially lunch. I don’t have time to waste on preparing something fancy. I also can’t deal with lunches that don’t have staying power. I am not one of those people who can eat a granola bar and a few baby carrots and survive until dinner. Maybe it’s chasing after Noe or multiple walks to the park per day, but this mama needs more sustenance to get from 1pm to 8pm (yep, we eat that late, it’s terrible). This 10 minute udon lemongrass soup is quick, healthy and filling. If you’re looking for ways to doctor up your soup you’re in luck. Today’s post includes the soup recipe and a guide for how to make prepackaged soup better.

udon lemongrass soup

Use this general method with any kind of prepackaged soups like udon noodles or ramen. If you have canned or boxed soups, you can still use some of these tips as well.

The key for how to make prepackaged soup better is to increase the bite interest and the flavor profile.

Increase bite interest:
  • Add vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli and bok choy which make the soup feel thicker.
  • Throw in edamame, corn or peas so that you’re biting down on something.
  • Consider topping with yogurt or sour cream to give a cold contrast to the hot soup.
  • Top soup with fresh herbs, seeds like pumpkin or hemp or even slivered almonds.
Boost the flavor profile:
  • Don’t rely on the prepackaged spice packets. They tend to be full of salt and not much else. Use bouillon cubes, store-bought veggie stock (low sodium if you can to control the salt) or even homemade veggie stock instead.
  • Steep your broth with ginger root, garlic cloves, lemongrass or bay leaf.
  • Consider what would go well with your soup flavors and go from there.
  • Mexican flavor? Add ground cumin, chili powder, a bit of cayenne or coriander.
  • Indian flavor? Try some turmeric, curry powder or garam masala.
  • Classic noodle flavor? Use thyme, rosemary or add some carrots, celery and onion to make it feel more homemade.
  • Finish with some acid. This makes soups taste fresher and brighter. Try lime, lemon or vinegar.

how to make prepackaged soup better

For this particular recipe I:

  1. Bought an udon noodle pack and threw out the flavor packet.
  2. Used some pre-made veggie stock I had on hand from making this chili.
  3. Steeped some lemongrass and ginger in the stock.
  4. Added kale, spinach and bok choy.
  5. Finished with some rice wine vinegar.

Seriously, that’s how to make prepackaged soup better, it’s that simple!

But, if you want a step-by-step recipe for this Udon Lemongrass Soup specifically, I’ve included it below!
how to make prepackaged soup better

Udon Lemongrass Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
We don't always have time to make homemade soup, this Udon Lemongrass Soup can be made in 10 minutes and implements some of my 10 ways for making prepackaged soup better.
: Soup, Stew
: Asian
Serves: 2 servings
  • 1 udon noodle package
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, woody part and root removed
  • ½" ginger root, peeled
  • 4 cups veggie stock
  • 1 cup bok choy, chopped
  • 1 cup kale, torn into small pieces
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Optional topping: enoki mushrooms
  1. Remove noodles from package and throw away flavor packet.
  2. Put veggie stock in a large pot and place over medium low heat.
  3. To use the lemongrass, cut off root end and the woody top, leaving about 3-4" of lemongrass.
  4. Remove a few of the outer layers, then slice into matchstick pieces.
  5. Using the flat part of your knife, smash the lemongrass so the flavor will release into the broth when you steep it. Place lemongrass in stock.
  6. Peel the ginger root, smash the root with the flat part of your knife. Place ginger in stock.
  7. Place chopped vegetables and udon noodles in stock.
  8. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Finish with lime juice and vinegar and top with enoki mushrooms.

Today’s Makings Of Small Step: Before you make a lackluster prepackaged soup for lunch, try one or a few of these tips to doctor it up into something fabulous.


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  • Reply candy September 27, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    I try to always make homemade, but this is good to know on those occasions when a prepackage is used.

    • Reply Lisa September 27, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      Yes, for the most part I do too but every now and then it’s necessary!

  • Reply Kate September 27, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    This looks so good! And we are just getting to the time of the year when I want to eat soup all the time. I am going to keep this in mind!

    • Reply Lisa September 27, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      Thanks Kate. Yes, it’s been so hot here this week but we should get some soup weather by the weekend, yay!

  • Reply Andrea September 27, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Yum! That looks so good!

    • Reply Lisa September 28, 2016 at 11:21 am

      Thank you Andrea!!

  • Reply Marie September 27, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Delicious! These are great ideas for adding nutrition to packaged soups when short on time to cook homemade. I like the idea of adding in greens like kale and spinach. It freshens the flavor profile and helps me get some extra vitamin C 🙂

    • Reply Lisa September 28, 2016 at 11:21 am

      Thank Marie! Yes, adding greens is such a great way to get more vitamins, fiber and a few servings of veggies in one dish. It’s so easy too!

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