Now that fall is here, it’s time to warm up some dinner menus with hearty — and healthy — soups. From chowders swimming in vegetables to soups made with lentils, pumpkin and spaghetti squash, healthy options are plentiful.
Charles Platkin is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of DietDetective.com.
Golden lentil soup
Makes 10-12 servings
- 14 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth, or water, plus additional, if needed
- 2 cups dried red lentils
- 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups medium-diced carrots
- 2 cups medium-diced celery
- 2 cups medium-diced onions
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Italian parsley for garnish
1. In a large pot, bring the broth to boil on high heat. Add the lentils and rice; stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer 35-45 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery and onions; saute 10 minutes to soften the vegetables.
3. Add the cooked vegetables to the simmering broth mixture. Add the cumin, salt, seasoned salt, lemon pepper and black pepper; simmer uncovered for an additional 20 minutes. If the soup is too thick, dilute it with more broth or water. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust flavor as needed.
4. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish each with a sprig of Italian parsley.
Note: The soup’s flavor becomes richer if it’s prepared a day in advance, refrigerated, and reheated before serving.
Zov Karamardian, bestselling cookbook author, chef and restaurateur (www.zovs.com)
Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 10: 105 calories, 1 gram fat, 16 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, 8 percent of calories from fat.
Ginger essence chicken soup
Makes 8 servings
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
- 1/2 ounce fresh ginger, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 pound skinless and boneless chicken breast, poached and julienned
- 1/2 pound snow peas, julienned
- 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
- 2 ounces soba noodles cooked al dente
- 1 green onion sliced on the bias
1. Strain the stock if necessary and reduce it by half without adding any additional salt in order to intensify the flavor.
2. Add the ginger and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow the stock to absorb the ginger flavor for about 5 minutes, then remove the ginger. Add the chicken breast, snow peas, carrot and red pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and add the soba noodles. Pour soup into warm bowls. Top with the green onion and serve hot.
Russell Michel, executive chef at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, Ariz.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 143 calories, 3 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, 19 percent of calories from fat.
Hungarian pumpkin soup
Makes 4 servings
- 10 1/2 ounces peeled fresh pumpkin
- 1/2 apple, peeled
- 1 large white potato, peeled
- 1 thick slice onion
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Ground nutmeg to taste
- 1 cube vegetable stock or 1 1/4 cups fresh vegetable soup
- Sliced almonds for garnish
- Thinly sliced brie cheese for garnish
1. Slice the pumpkin, apple and potato into 2-inch strips. Put the sliced ingredients in a large soup pot and add the onion, butter, thyme, black pepper, nutmeg and just enough stock to barely cover the ingredients.
2. Cook until all ingredients are soft, about 20 to 30 minutes, watching and stirring.
3. Mash and/or blend to achieve a creamy consistency. Serve hot topped with sliced almonds and thinly sliced brie cheese
Cecilia Rokusek, Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Master of Science in Nutrition program (http://osteopathic.nova.edu)
Nutritional analysis per serving: 120 calories, 4 grams fat, 16 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, 30 percent of calories from fat.
Wild rice and turkey chowder
Makes 4 servings
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped fine
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces turkey breast, cooked and cut into medium-sized chunks
- 1 cup cooked wild rice
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water for cornstarch slurry
1. Preheat a sauce pot large enough to hold at least 10 cups. Add the carrot, onion and celery to warm pot, and stir until the vegetables are tender.
2. Once the vegetables are tender, add the chicken stock and let it reduce to about 4 cups. Then add the seasonings, the turkey and the rice. Add the skim milk and bring the soup back to a simmer.
3. Mix the cornstarch with the cold water to make a slurry. Add to the soup and bring the soup to a low boil, whisking until it thickens to chowder consistency.
Hilton Head Health’s Healthy Kitchen executive chef Karla Williams
Nutritional analysis per 1-cup serving: 180 calories, less than 1 gram fat, 24 grams carbohydrates, 20 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, 3 percent of calories from fat.
Spaghetti squash apple soup
Makes 4 servings
- 16 ounces chicken stock
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
- 1 spaghetti squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Dash of ground nutmeg
- Dash of ground cloves
- Salt to taste
1. Pour the chicken stock into a large pot and set over high heat. Add the apple and spaghetti squash chunks to the pot and cook until the squash is very tender.
2. Use an immersion blender to puree the squash and apple. (If you don't have an immersion blender, remove the squash and apple pieces from the pot and puree in a blender or food processor, then pour back into the pot.)
3. Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt to taste. Reheat the soup as necessary.
Louise Hendon of Paleo Flourish Magazine (http://paleomagazine.com)
Nutritional analysis per 1-cup serving: 153 calories. 3 grams fat, 15 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 4 grams fiber, 18 percent of calories from fat.
Chunky corn chowder with kale and sweet potato
Corn chowder packed with fabulous flavors and good nutrition, all in one bowl.
Makes 8 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups skim milk
- 2 cups low-sodium, fat-free vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 (16-ounce) package frozen corn
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups chopped kale
1. In large nonstick pot, heat the oil and saute the onion, celery and garlic until tender, 5-7 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
2. Gradually add the milk and broth; bring to a boil, stirring for several minutes or until the mixture thickens. Lower the heat and add the corn and sweet potato, cooking until the potato is tender, 6-8 minutes. Season to taste. Before serving, stir in the kale and cook several minutes.
Holly Clegg, author of “Holly Clegg's trim&TERRIFIC Too Hot in the Kitchen” (www.hollyclegg.com)
Nutritional analysis per serving: 186 calories, 4 grams fat, 34 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 4 grams fiber, 19 percent of calories from fat.