Breana Lai, M.P.H., R.D.

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

EatingWell Soups Special Issue January 2016
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