8 healthy winter soups

Besides being comforting and soul-soothing, soup has many practical virtues: It can often be made ahead of time and frozen, making later preparation quick and easy. Soups are perfect for using lots and lots of vegetables, and don’t need more than a modest amount of meat or fish. Their high water content helps keep you full on fewer calories, a bonus if you’re watching your weight.


Golden Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash and carrots provide the wealth of beta-carotene (one serving has over 140 percent of the recommended daily intake) in this beautiful orange-gold soup. Orange juice intensifies the color and adds folate, a B vitamin. This soup is also a good source of calcium and fiber.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2½ teaspoons vegetable oil, such as olive or canola oil
  • ¾ pound carrots, thinly sliced
  • ¾ pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ¼ cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1½ cups fat-free milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream

Directions

  1. In a large nonstick saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and squash, and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to color, about five minutes.
  2. Add the water, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer the vegetables and any liquid remaining in the pan to a food processor. Add the orange juice concentrate and process to a smooth puree.
  4. Return the puree to the saucepan. Add the milk, salt and cayenne, and simmer over low heat until heated through. Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream.

Nutrition per serving: 172 calories, 4.2g total fat (1.2g saturated), 6mg cholesterol, 6g dietary fiber, 30g carbohydrate, 6g protein, 377mg sodium.

Good source of: beta carotene, calcium, fiber, folate, potassium, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C.


Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Split pea soup often is made with a ham hock or smoked sausage, but this vegetarian version gets its meaty flavor from super-savory dried porcini mushrooms and a little liquid smoke (the bottled essence of wood smoke). Like other legume-based soups, it’s a great source of dietary fiber, with a robust 18 grams per serving. To reduce the sodium, cut the amount of salt in half.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package (¼ ounce) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as olive or canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups (1 pound) split peas
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 6 cups water

Directions

  1. In a small heatproof bowl, combine the dried mushrooms and the boiling water, and let stand for 20 minutes or until softened. Reserving the soaking liquid, scoop out the dried mushrooms. Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter or a paper towel-lined sieve.
  2. In a nonstick Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the onion is golden brown and tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots and cook until tender, about seven minutes. Stir in the split peas, tomato paste, salt, pepper, sage, mushrooms, and their soaking liquid. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the split peas are tender, about 45 minutes.
  4. Working in batches, transfer the split peas to a food processor and process until smooth. (Or, if you have a hand blender, puree the soup in the pan.) Return to the saucepan and heat gently over very low heat.

Nutrition per serving: 274 calories, 3.2g total fat (0.4g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 18g dietary fiber, 46g carbohydrate, 17g protein, 666mg sodium.

Good source of: beta carotene, fiber, folate, lutein, thiamin, potassium.


Cabbage, Chickpea and Pasta Soup

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can substitute a more unusual cooking green such as collards, beet greens, or turnip for the cabbage in this soup, a variant of minestrone (literally “big soup” in Italian). It will taste slightly different, but still delicious.

Serving suggestion: For even more flavor, top the soup with a teaspoonful of grated Parmesan or pesto sauce. To reduce the sodium content, use low-sodium broth, tomatoes, and chickpeas.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 5 cloves garlic,minced
  • 6 cups (about 1 pound) shredded Savoy or green cabbage
  • 2 cups chicken broth, homemade or canned
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup small pasta shapes, such as ditalini or elbow macaroni

Directions

    1. In a nonstick Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes.
    2. Add the garlic and cabbage, stirring to coat. Cover and cook until the cabbage has wilted, about 5 minutes.
    3. Add the broth, water, stewed tomatoes, chickpeas, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
    4. Add the pasta, cover, and cook until the cabbage is tender and the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon lemon zest.

Nutrition per serving: calories 266 • total fat 5g (saturated 1g) • cholesterol 0mg • dietary fiber 12g • carbohydrate 44g • protein 12g • sodium 670mg • Good source of: beta carotene, fiber, folate, magnesium, potassium, selenium, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E


Mushroom-Barley Soup

The barley may soak up all the liquid if you don’t serve this earthy soup right away. If that happens, just thin it with some water or eat the dish like a stew.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes, chopped with their juice
  • ¾ cup pearl barley
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 4½ cups water
  • ½ cup small pasta shells
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a nonstick Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 7 minutes.
  2. Stir in the mushrooms and cook 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, barley, liquid smoke, salt, sage, and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 35 minutes.
  3. Stir in the pasta, cover, and cook until the barley and pasta are tender, about 10 minutes. Serve the soup sprinkled with the Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition per serving: calories 313 • total fat 7g (saturated 3g) • cholesterol 10mg • dietary fiber 9g • carbohydrate 50g • protein 15g • sodium 475mg.

Good source of: fiber, niacin, selenium.


Sausage and Lentil Soup

Lentils not only are flavorful and high in fiber and folate, but they cook in only 30 minutes, versus a couple of hours for most other legumes. Their peppery flavor makes them a perfect partner for sausage—in this case turkey sausage, which has one-third the saturated fat of the pork version.

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, such as olive or canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 pound lentils
  • 3 cans (14½ ounces each) no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, chopped with their juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 4½ cups water
  • 8 ounces hot Italian-style turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled

Directions

  1. In a nonstick Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 7 minutes.
  2. Stir in the carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the lentils, stewed tomatoes, salt, pepper, allspice, and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Add the sausage and simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Nutrition per serving: 306 calories, 3.5g total fat (0.7g saturated), 20mg cholesterol, 21g dietary fiber, 46g carbohydrate, 23g protein, 512mg sodium.

Good source of: beta carotene, fiber, folate, potassium, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, zinc.


Spicy Fish Chowder

Warm up on a cold night with this hearty cod-based soup, a good source of potassium and B vitamins. If you live near a Hispanic market, you should be able to find batatas, a type of dry-fleshed sweet potato common used in Latin American cuisine. If not, substitute a regular orange-fleshed sweet potato.

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • ¾ pound batata or sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 slices (1 ounce) turkey bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1½ cups low-fat (1%) milk
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless cod steak, cut into 8 chunks

Directions

  1. In a medium pot of boiling water, cook the batata until just tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the turkey bacon, bell peppers, chipotle pepper, garlic, and salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until the bell peppers are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the peppers, stirring to coat. Gradually stir in the milk. Stir in the batata. Bring the mixture to a boil, place the cod on top, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the cod just flakes when tested with a fork, about 5 minutes.

Nutrition per serving: 270 calories, 5.7g total fat (1.5g saturated), 58mg cholesterol, 3g dietary fiber, 27g carbohydrate, 26g protein, 520mg sodium.

Good source of: beta carotene, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C.


Herbed Cream of Tomato Soup

This soup is thickened with the help of a roux, a combination of flour and fat (traditionally butter, but we use heart-healthy olive oil).

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1½ cups tomato-vegetable juice
  • 1 cup evaporated low-fat (2%) milk
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¾ teaspoon tarragon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons reduced-fat sour cream

Directions

  1. In a large nonstick saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the flour and stir well to coat. Gradually stir in the tomato-vegetable juice and evaporated milk and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the basil, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and brown sugar. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to develop the flavors and thicken the soup.
  3. Serve the soup topped with a dollop of the sour cream.

Nutrition per serving: 170 calories, 3g total fat (1g saturated), 8mg cholesterol, 3g dietary fiber, 28g carbohydrate, 8g protein, 870mg sodium.

A good source of: calcium, lycopene, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin C.


Hot and Sour Tofu-Vegetable Soup

This flavorful Asian soup has less than 150 calories per serving. Our version is relatively mildly spiced; if you want to increase the heat, double the black pepper or add a half-teaspoon of red pepper flakes. The tofu and bok choy make this soup a rich source of calcium.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup dried shiitake mushroom slices
  • 2½ cups boiling water
  • 1½ cups chicken broth, homemade or canned
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded bok choy (¼ inch wide)
  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch blended with 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. In a small heatproof bowl, combine the dried mushrooms and boiling water, and let stand for 20 minutes, or until softened. Reserving the soaking liquid, scoop out the dried mushrooms and finely chop. Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter or a paper towel-lined sieve.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the mushroom soaking liquid, broth, vinegar, and soy sauce, and bring to a boil. Stir in the mushrooms, ginger, garlic, pepper, and salt, and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 5 minutes to develop the flavors.
  3. Stir in the bok choy and tofu, and cook until the bok choy is tender, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and sesame oil, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Add the scallions and serve.

Nutrition per serving: 150 calories, 8g total fat (1g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 2g dietary fiber, 11g carbohydrate, 12g protein, 600mg sodium.

A good source of: calcium, selenium.

[Via: berkeleywellness.com]

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