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Omaha Magazine

Harvest: Soup's On!

Sep 29, 2022 04:09PM ● By Sophie Rossitto

Hot, homemade meals are one of the best ways to fend off winter’s chill, and soup kits are a great option that provide flavor-packed results. These collections feature assortments of dried ingredients stored in airtight containers and require the easiest of prep: just add water and cook. Ready-to-heat soup kits also make unique gift ideas for the holidays ahead. 

Registered dietician Meghan McLarney and her business partner, Scott Brownlee, run Omaha Soup Company, which sells handcrafted soup kits for under $10 each online and in local stores, including Hy-Vee groceries and Made in Omaha gift shops. The two became friends while working as food vendors at a local farmers market and began making soup kits to sell in December 2019 after holiday event organizers pitched them the idea.

McLarney said she loves running Omaha Soup Company because it gives her opportunities to create and explore new recipes. For example, her culinary team, which has its own production space, mixed citrus, herb, and savory flavors to create the company’s Thai coconut soup kit. “You can kind of put those elements in there and play with it, so that’s been really fun,” McLarney said.

Many customers love the convenience and simplicity of the Omaha Soup Company kits, McLarney said. Her team has also found success jazzing up family favorites with unique ingredients, and honoring the strong food community in Omaha. For example, McLarney said she created a corn chowder soup kit to pay homage to her mother, who grew up in Nebraska and introduced this soup to her children.

Those interested in creating their own soup kits at home can find a variety of recipes online, McLarney said. However, soup makers will likely need to experiment and adjust the recipes multiple times to yield results that suit their personal tastes, she added.

Shoppers can find a variety of dried ingredients–such as celery salt, minced onions, and dried garlic—in the spice aisle of grocery stores. McLarney recommended using flavor packets found in quick-to-prepare food products, such as Ramen Noodles or instant mashed potatoes, to enhance soup flavors. When converting traditional soup recipes into dried kits, cooks can find conversion charts online for each ingredient, she said.

Those interested in drying their own foods should use a dehydrator to produce the most uniform results, according to the University of Minnesota extension office website. Dehydrated ingredients can be stored in airtight containers such as glass jars or plastic, sealable bags, and kept fresh for months.

Many online recipes call for soup makers to stock each kit with a bouillon cube, which typically consists of stock or dried meat and vegetables. However, McLarney said cooks can produce strong flavors without using bouillon by adding ample amounts of spices and vegetables, such as dried mushrooms, which contain potent flavor.

To prepare their soup, chefs should simply follow the recipe’s instructions for adding water and cooking the ingredients. Many Omaha Soup Company kits give customers the option of preparing the meals on a stovetop, in a pressure cooker, or in a crockpot. McLarney said that when cooking foods such as dried beans, soup makers can use a pressure cooker to speed up the process from three hours to about 35 minutes.

Making soup kits can be a fun experience, as long as chefs have a spirit of innovation and accept that they might fall short a few times before finding the right ingredient combinations, McLarney said. 

“It does take a little bit of creativity and adventure,” she added. 

For more info on making soup kits, visit

This article originally appeared in the October 2022 issue of Omaha Home magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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