Healthy Soups

Circa 2011

As the weather turns cooler, it’s time to savor soup. A hearty bowl can curb your appetite, says dietician Becky Hand, especially if the soup is broth or veggie-based, which lowers calorie content. Soup is generally served hot, so you may eat it more slowly, feel fuller sooner and consume less. And last, but not least, soup is comfort food that won’t blow your diet. We’ve picked some favorites recipes for you to enjoy.


1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups chopped yellow bell pepper

1 1/2 cups chopped carrot

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 garlic cloves, chopped

5 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 (15-ounce) can salt-free pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons unsalted pumpkin-seed kernels, toasted

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, carrot and onion; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add 3 cups broth and black pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Place one-third of vegetable mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening to avoid any splashing. Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining vegetable mixture.

Return puréed vegetable mixture to pot; stir in remain ing 2 cups broth and pumpkin. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequent ly. Remove from heat; stir in juice. Top each serving with about 1 teaspoon pumpkin seeds and about 1/2 tea spoon parsley. Serve immediately.

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4 15-oz cans organic black beans, with liquid

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 onion, finely chopped

4 large garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons mild ground chili

1 tablespoon lightly toasted cumin seeds, ground

1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice

2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 1 cup water

2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano

Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

4 ounces goat cheese or queso fresco crumbled

Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together for about a minute until fragrant, and add the ground chili and cumin. Cook, stirring, for two to three minutes, until the mixture begins to stick to the pan. Add the tomatoes and their juice and oregano, and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture is beginning to stick to the pan, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste dissolved in water and the chipotles, and bring back to a simmer. Season with salt to taste and simmer, stirring often, for 15 minutes, until the mixture is thick and fragrant.

Stir the tomato mixture into the beans, and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring often, for 30 to 45 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.

Just before serving, stir in the cilantro. Spoon into bowls, and garnish each bowl with a generous spoonful of goat cheese or queso fresco. Serve with corn tortillas or cornbread.

Note: If you want thicker chili, purée 1 or 2 cups of the beans in a blender, and return the blitzed beans back to the pot.

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1 (4 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces

1 large onion, peeled and halved

3 bay leaves

10 whole black peppercorns

2/3 bunch celery

1 pound whole carrots

3 tablespoons chopped lemon grass

1/4 cup chicken-bouillon powder

1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced

1/3 bunch celery

1 (8 ounce) package dry egg noodles

Place chicken covered with water in large pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, skimming fat as needed, 30 minutes. Place the halved onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, whole celery, whole carrots and lemon grass in the pot and simmer, covered 1 hour. Strain broth and reserve chicken. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and cut meat into bite size pieces.

Return strained stock to pot over high heat, and stir in chicken base, chopped celery and chopped carrots.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender.

Simmer until noodles are cooked, about 10 minutes more. Stir in chicken and heat through.

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1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup chopped celery

1 carrot, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

4 cups fat-free, unsalted chicken broth

2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup chopped spinach

1 can (16 ounces) canned chickpeas or kidney beans,

drained and rinsed

1/2 cup uncooked small shell pasta

1 small zucchini, diced

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots and saute until soft ened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for another minute. Stir in broth, tomatoes, spinach, beans and pasta. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add zucchini. Cover and cook for 5 minutes more.

Remove from heat and stir in the basil. Serve immediately.

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1 1/2 cups green split peas

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup diced carrot

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon minced garlic cloves, divided (about 3 cloves)

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary, divided

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

4 cups water

2 cups vegetable stock or 1 (14 1/2-oz) can vegetable broth

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup low-fat sour cream

Sort and wash peas; cover with water to 2 inches above peas, and set aside. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and bay leaf; sauté 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 2 teaspoons garlic, 1 teaspoon rosemary, paprika, and pepper; cook 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and soy sauce; cook until liquid evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

Drain peas. Add peas, 4 cups water, Vegetable Stock, and salt to onion mixture; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 1 hour, stirring often Discard bay leaf. Place half of soup in blender or food processor; process until smooth. Pour pureéd soup into a bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining soup. Combine 1 teaspoon oil, 1 teaspoon garlic, 2 teaspoons rosemary, and parsley. Stir parsley mixture into soup. Spoon soup into bowls; top each with sour cream.

If you use canned broth instead of vegetable stock, don’t add salt.

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2 teaspoons olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 (14.5-oz) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Basil leaves (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in the broth, salt, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Stir in basil.

Place half of the soup in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a bowl, and repeat procedure with remaining soup. Garnish with basil leaves, if desired.

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1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup chopped carrot (about 3 medium)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 6 ounces)

2 cups chopped peeled butternut squash (about 1 3/4 lbs)

2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

2 cups organic vegetable broth

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

3 cups cups shredded, cooked chicken breast

2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

10 ounces fresh spinach

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup (2 oz) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat; add butter, stirring until melted. Add onion and next 4 ingredients (through garlic); cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Mash 1/4 cup beans with a fork. Add beans, broths, and Italian seasoning to pan; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add black pepper and spinach, stirring occasionally until spinach wilts (about 3 minutes). Ladle about 2 cups soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with 5 teaspoons cheese and 11/2 teaspoons bacon.

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