It’s autumn, and the summer heat is finally cooling off. Making healthy soup recipes may be the perfect antidote to autumn and winter hunger pangs.
Soups are easy to make, comforting, and diverse. Although you may be familiar with traditional standbys such as chicken soup, cabbage soup, mushroom soup, cheese soup, French onion soup, and noodle soup, why not indulge yourself with a healthy recipe bursting with new flavors, tastes, and ingredients?
Why Soup Recipes Are The Perfect Healthy Meal
Soup is the perfect comfort food – and the perfect healthy meal. Eating a healthy meal of soup, one with plenty of protein, carbs, and fiber, can be especially satisfying.1,2,3
According to one study, eating a low-calorie soup caused people to consume about 20% fewer calories overall, without feeling less full.4
What To Put In Vegetable Soup
Although you can make a healthy soup with virtually any vegetable, certain veggies lend themselves better to the medium. Common options include butternut squash, sweet potato, leeks, onions, carrots, tomatoes, bell pepper, cabbage, zucchini, and legumes like white beans.5 That said, there are a diverse array of additional options, as you’ll see below.
How To Add More Flavor To Vegetable Soup
To flavor your soup, it’s best to use fresh herbs, spices, and simple flavorings. Salt and pepper, red pepper, herbs, spices, and vegetables such as onions, garlic, and cilantro are all good choices. Avoid highly-processed flavoring ingredients with artificial additives and preservatives.6
Veggie-Packed Soup Recipes
Classic Vegetable Soup
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1.5 cups carrots, chopped (about 3 large carrots)
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 medium-sized white potatoes
- 1 can (15 oz.) stewed tomatoes
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 10 oz. bag frozen lima beans
- 10 oz. bag frozen green beans
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 4 cups water (more if needed)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups raw cabbage, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste7
- In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Chop onion, carrots, and celery, then add to Dutch oven. Saute for 5 minutes or until soft, then add garlic and cook a couple minutes longer.
- Cut potatoes into half-inch cubes and add to Dutch oven along with stewed tomatoes, vegetable broth, frozen vegetables, water, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour. Stir periodically, adding water if necessary.
- Chop cabbage, add to the Dutch oven, and cook for a half hour, adding water if necessary.
Lentils make a very hearty and healthy soup. They’re low in sodium and saturated fat, and they contain lots of iron, potassium, fiber, and antioxidant polyphenols.8
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 medium stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 cups dry lentils
- 1 can (15 oz.) crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ½ tsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 6 ½ cups water9
- In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Throw in the carrots, celery, and onions. Then cook and stir until the onion is soft.
- Stir in garlic, oregano, basil, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add lentils and tomatoes, stirring gently. Then add vegetable broth, water, and lemon juice.
- Cover mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour or until lentils become soft.
Tomato Rice Soup
Another good idea for a hearty, healthy soup is a tomato rice soup.
- ½ cup onions
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 6 cups water (you can substitute vegetable broth or chicken broth)
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ⅔ cup brown rice
- Sautée onions in oil.
- Add water (or broth) and a cup of tomato sauce to a medium pot, then add salt and pepper.
- Combine rice into mixture and cook until rice is ready.
For additional flavor, add a handful of frozen peas and/or cilantro.
Indulgent Soup Recipes
When you really want to splurge on a soup, there are so many incredible options. They include roasted tomato soup, and slow-cooked spicy taco soup.
Roasted Tomato Soup
To make the roasted tomatoes:
- 3 pounds Roma or plum tomatoes, halved
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 Tbsps. olive oil
- Salt and pepper, freshly ground
To make the caramelized onions:
- ½ Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, sliced thin
- Additions to the soup:
- ½ cup packed basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1-2 cups water or vegetarian broth
- Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste10
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Place tomatoes and garlic in the oven, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast for 45 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot, then add onions, stirring occasionally until caramelized and golden (about 20 minutes).
- Cool tomato and garlic mixture, then blend until smooth.
- Add caramelized onion and fresh basil and blend again.
- Transfer to a pot with medium low heat and add oregano, vegetarian broth, and salt and pepper.
- Serve with crusty bread.
For a creamy soup experience, add coconut milk, whole dairy milk, or heavy cream.
Slow-Cooked Spicy Taco Soup
- 1 lb.ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 (15 oz.) can whole kernel corn (in liquid)
- 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans (in liquid)
- 1 (16 oz.) can chili beans (in liquid)
- 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 2 cups water
- 2 (14.5 oz.) cans peeled and diced tomatoes
- 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chile peppers
- 1 (1.25 oz.) package taco seasoning mix11
- Cook the ground beef in a medium skillet on medium heat until it turns brown. Drain and set aside.
- Place the ground beef, onion, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, green chile peppers, and taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker. Mix to blend, and cook on low setting for 8 hours.
For a more smoky flavor, you can add smoked paprika.
How To Freeze Soup
Why freeze soup? Two reasons:
- You’ve made some incredible vegetable soups. Now you’ve got leftovers to eat throughout the week.
- Freezing enables you to meal plan ahead of time. You may be busy at work or preoccupied with life events, but you will always have a meal available.
Follow these five simple steps to freeze soup:
- Cool the soup rapidly by placing the pot in an ice bath. This will ensure that the food quickly cools to a low enough temperature to prevent bacterial contamination. Waiting for it to cool down on the stove, in the fridge or in the freezer, can result in bacterial growth that may lead to foodborne illnesses.12
- Divide the cooled soup into smaller, airtight containers. First, label and date the containers. Use a ladle to scoop soup into each container and seal.
- Thaw the soup overnight in the refrigerator. Don’t leave it out on the counter.13
- Reheat the soup by heating it to a roiling boil. Once again, the goal is to avoid bacterial contamination.
In general, leftover soup will last up to 3 days in the fridge and 1 month in the freezer.14
Not all soups freeze well. Avoid freezing soups that contain milk or cream, because they become grainy and separate when they’re defrosted and reheated. Additionally, soups with pasta may become mushy when thawed and reheated. If you’re planning to freeze your soup from the outset, it is also a good idea to slightly undercook it, so it doesn’t overcook when it’s reheated. This affects recipes like potato soup and sweet potato soup.15
This autumn, get adventurous with your soups. With so many flavors to try out, be bold and healthy with your recipes.