21 Tasty Topping Ideas to Take Your Soup from Ordinary to Otherworldly

By: Breana Lai, M.P.H., R.D.  |  EatingWell Soups Special Issue January 2016

Think of what the cherry does for a sundae—it adds a bit of flavor and a dash of good looks. Before you dip your spoon into your bowl of soup, sprinkle, drizzle, swirl or squeeze a little extra beauty on top. Here are four creative soup-topper ideas, but these are just a jumping-off point—anything goes!
Pictured Recipe: Garden-Fresh Asparagus Soup
1. More Veggies
We always love an excuse to add more vegetables to a meal. Use veggies as a garnish on pureed soups to reveal what vegetables are actually in the soup. If you're roasting the veggies, reserve a little for the garnish before pureeing. If you're using raw vegetables, make sure to thinly slice them.
• Thinly sliced radish or cucumber
• Julienned carrot, cabbage or jicama
• Chopped tomato
• Asparagus tips
• Corn or peas
Related: Our Best Veggie-Packed Soup Recipes
Pictured Recipe: Spicy Butternut Squash Soup
2. Swirls and Dollops
A spoonful of yogurt, dash of Sriracha or squeeze of lemon can elevate your soup from flat to amazing. Start with a little bit and add more as desired depending on your topping.
• Plain yogurt, sour cream or crème fraîche
• Pesto, salsa, gremolata or caponata
• Aioli or tzatziki
• Extra-virgin oilve oil, sesame oil, nut oils or any flavored oils, such as truffle
• Hot sauce, such as Texas Pete or Sriracha
• Asian condiments, such as hoisin sauce, fish sauce or soy sauce
• Vinegar, such as sherry or red-wine
• Lemon or lime juice
Related: How to Freeze Soup So It Tastes as Delicious as the Day It Was Made
Pictured Recipe: Cauliflower Soup with Smoked Gouda
3. Crunchies
Sometimes your soup needs a bit more texture. Add crispy bits right before serving so they keep their crunch.
• Croutons or toasted fresh breadcrumbs
• Toasted nuts, such as almonds, pistachios or hazelnuts
• Crumbled tortilla chips or crackers
• Toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds
• Toasted coconut
Related: 100-Calorie Pairings to Make Soup a Meal
Pictured Recipe: Tomato Soup
4. Sprinkles
For the most basic garnish, try a touch of green herb or a flick of spice. These garnishes impart a little extra flavor and make your soup look restaurant-worthy.
• Chopped herbs, such as chives, cilantro, dill or parsley
• Dusting of spice, such as cumin, paprika or white pepper
• Lemon, lime or orange zest
• Shaved, crumbled or grated cheese, such as feta, Parmesan or Pecorino
Don't feel you have to limit yourself to one topping. Try sprinkling, drizzling, dolloping or crunching a few for an explosion of flavor. Happy souping!
Related: All the Healthy Soup Recipes You'll Ever Need