Soup’s on! Make Easy, Nutritious Winter Soups in 30 Minutes or Less

Healthy Recipes Saturday, February 8, 2014 Written by

There’s nothing quite as comforting and satisfying as a bowl of hot soup on a cold winter night. But the idea of making soup from scratch – all the chopping, sautéing and simmering – can be too time-consuming for a weeknight meal.

Luckily, there are plenty of delicious, warming winter soups that can be quickly whipped up after work. Unlike canned soups – most of which are packed with sodium – these recipes are both wholesome and hearty. Each serves four and has plenty of vegetables and protein for an easy one-pot dinner.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Pecorino

This soup is proof that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.  A few simple ingredients—cauliflower, chicken stock and garlic—are miraculously transformed into a wonderfully complex and delicious soup. This is also the perfect recipe for those New Year’s weight loss resolutions, as it tastes like a rich cream-based soup, yet is very low in calories.

  • 1 large head of roasted cauliflower (see Notes of Delicious for instructions)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese

Preparation: Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cauliflower and sauté 3 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Add the stock and simmer for 5 minutes to meld flavors. Remove from heat and puree with a stick blender or regular blender (see note on blending hot soup). Add more stock as necessary to reach desired consistency, and then adjust for salt.  Ladle soup into warmed bowls and top with cheese and a grind of black pepper.

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup with Lime and Mint
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Unlike the typical curried squash soup, this soup gets its spice from ginger, cinnamon, coriander and cardamom – a warming combination that is well balanced by creamy, protein-packed Greek yogurt, and hints of lime and mint.

To make this on a weeknight, buy pre-cut butternut squash, available at your local Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

  • 4 cups peeled butternut or other winter squash, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated to make approximately 1 tablespoon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 limes, sliced

Preparation: In a soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the squash, onion, ginger, spices and half the mint and cook, stirring frequently, for about five minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, until the flavors have melded. Puree the soup using a stick blender, or in a regular blender. Serve with a dollop of yogurt, a squeeze of lime, and the remaining fresh mint.

Note on blending hot soup: If pureeing soup in a regular blender, be careful to fill it only halfway full and process in batches with a kitchen towel over the lid, as hot soup can easily splatter out of the top.

Lemony Chicken, Kale and Farro Soup
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Inspired by the traditional Greek Avgolemono soup, this chicken and lemon soup packs a wallop of protein, fiber and vitamins with the addition of farro and kale. It’s a meal that takes chicken and rice to the next level.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup each chopped carrot, celery and onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup par-cooked farro (can also substitute a quick brown & wild rice blend)
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 package frozen kale, or 1 bunch fresh kale, de-stemmed and sliced into ribbons
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:  Heat oil in a large soup pan. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic and chicken and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and the chicken is browned. Add stock, kale and farro and bring to a low simmer. Cook 10 minutes until farro and chicken are cooked. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, dill and wild rice. Adjust seasoning, adding more salt and a good grind of pepper as needed.

Quick Minestrone with Tortellini
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Most Minestrone takes several hours to cook, in order to let the flavors meld. This soup is a streamlined version for weeknights, made with fresh tortellini for a quick yet satisfying meal. Garbanzo beans add fiber, and lots of vegetables make this a healthy one-pot dinner.

  • 1/2 cup each chopped carrot, celery and onion
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 15 ounce can cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 28 ounce can peeled whole tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 1 9-ounce package of fresh, all-natural cheese tortellini
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)
  • Aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling (optional)

Preparation: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, the chickpeas, and then the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you add them to the pot. Add a pinch of salt (depending on how salty your stock is, adjust more or less to taste). Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes to let the flavors meld. Add the tortellini, and cook over a simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until just done. Add the spinach and cook 1 to 2 more minutes until wilted. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Serve garnished with a few drops of the aged balsamic and sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese.