Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Soup Season Lean into the plant-forward movement through soup innovation

This Kale, Kidney Bean & Chorizo Caldo delivers the best of veg-centricity in a familiar soup format.

There’s no beating soup’s comfort-food credibility. It’s also a menu workhorse, adapting beautifully to seasonality and trending flavors and ingredients. With its fantastic profit potential, it’s worth exploring how to up your soup game, tapping into the plant-forward trend in rich, satisfying ways.

Of course, plant-forward doesn’t exclude meat—a strategic use of chorizo, beef stock or ham bones fortifies soup in mouthwatering ways. And although we’ve seen a lot of innovation in plant-based purées, veg-centric sides and bar bites, soup presents a new opportunity for touting plant-forward builds.

Here are building blocks to develop a modern, plant-forward soup.

Stock Up

Beef, chicken and vegetable stock work well, of course, but consider the following for amped up flavor:

  • roasted vegetable stock
  • dehydrated vegetable stock
  • smoked vegetable stock

Tap That Flavor System

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, leverage popular, proven flavor systems and move them into soup profiles:

  • eggplant Parmigiana
  • Puerto Rican rice and beans
  • Nashville hot cauliflower or carrot

Bean It Up

With consumers embracing hummus and other plant-based purées, soup offers the next frontier of discovery here. Cuisines all over the world have long embraced beans in soup. Explore that, along with textural play, for signature takes:

  • purée chickpeas with stock as a thickener
  • char black beans, then add to soup
  • flavor bean soups with big, global flavors, like harissa or guajillo

“Milk” It

With the proliferation of nut milks in both retail and restaurants, consider fortifying your plant-forward soup with a rich, creamy, vegan “milk,” such as:

  • almond milk
  • walnut milk
  • peanut milk

Garnish It

Give soup a modern flourish with a creative, flavor-forward finish:

  • popped sorghum
  • crumbled savory pie crust
  • seasoned and fried chickpeas


This Kale, Kidney Bean & Chorizo Caldo delivers the best of veg-centricity in a familiar soup format.

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