This following is a post from our friend, Susannah Shmurak, of Healthy Green Savvy
You’ve decided to eat more “real” food — good for you! So how do you get real food in the weekly meal plan without spending hours each day in the kitchen? Healthy soup recipes for the win!
For an easy go-to real meal (or two) every week, put some simple, healthy soup recipes in your rotation. What’s for dinner becomes a far easier question to answer when all you have to do is peek in your slow cooker or turn on the heat under a pot!
Six great reasons to expand your soup repertoire:
- They’re satisfying.
- They’re slimming.
- They’re easy-peasy.
- They’re super cheap.
- They’re a great way to get in extra servings of vegetables.
- They can use whatever ingredients you have on hand.
Once you have a few basic templates for healthy soup recipes, you can mix them up depending on what you find in your kitchen. Leftover broccoli? In it goes. A little rice, half a can of chickpeas, some kale leaves, and you can see the back of your fridge again.
Serve with a loaf of whole-grain bread and dinner’s served! You have a nourishing, healthy, inexpensive meal with minimal prep time.
Why make your own soup instead of buying it?
- You’ll save money over canned or boxed
- You won’t be exposed to BPA and other chemicals from can and box linings (the safety of which we don’t yet have much data on)
- You can control sodium and make sure ingredients are of the highest quality
Most people don’t realize how easy it is to make soup until they try it — then they wonder why they’d ever bought canned soup in the first place! If you have access to a good natural foods store, you can buy organic beans from the bulk bins for little more than conventionally-grown. Because soups are such economical meal options, you can actually afford a completely organic dinner.
Time-saving tip: Make enough for two or more nights and either freeze leftovers or serve again a couple nights later. Some of the lentil soups can be served over rice or quinoa to mix things up a little.
I could easily eat soup most days of the week. There are so many wonderful, nourishing, and healthy options. Indian lentil, fresh corn chowder, minestrone, pho, seafood stew… Check out the healthy soup recipes below for some inspiration!
Basic templates for healthy soup recipes
Whether you like to follow recipes or prefer to throw whatever you have on hand in your slow cooker, there’s a soup for you. I have a few templates I turn to for most of our soups, and I’ve also included some wonderful healthy soup recipes for all kinds of soups below. You’re sure to find plenty your family will love. 🙂
Template 1: Lentil or Split Pea
Lentils and split peas cook faster than other beans and require no soaking beforehand, though soaking can help make their nutrients more available and reduce cooking time. (Or if you’re feeling enthusiastic and want to take it a step further, try sprouting. Instructions here.)
Lentils/peas + stock, onion, carrots, and spices = fast, healthy, satisfying dinner.
Check out my super-simple recipe in my free guide to eating healthy on a budget. This soup serves a family of four for just a few dollars and requires very little hands-on time.
Some lentil soup recipes for inspiration:
Template 2: Black or white bean
(Note that you’ll save money by cooking dried beans rather than using canned, but canned works when you’re pressed for time.)
If you’re using dried, soak your beans overnight (best option) or use the quick-soak method. Beans then need to cook for about 1 ½ hours before adding other ingredients.
Some black or white bean soup recipes for inspiration:
Template 3: Tomato-vegetable/minestrone
Start with diced tomatoes and broth, then add corn, broccoli or whatever veggies you find in your freezer, fridge, or pantry. I like to add a variety of cooked beans for protein. (Kidney and chickpeas are a good combination, but you can add any beans you like in whatever proportions you prefer.)
You can throw in pasta or a cooked grain toward the end and turn it into minestrone if you like. Serve topped with parmesan.
Some vegetable-based soup recipes for inspiration:
Template 4: Broth base
Beginning with nothing more than a simple broth, you can add vegetables and noodles or tortellini for a hearty meal. Rices and grains of all sorts work well also. Throw in some white beans for more fiber and protein, or pieces of chicken or sausage if you prefer.
Some broth-based soup recipes for inspiration:
Chicken Detox Soup (A Spicy Perspective)
Creamy Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Tortellini Soup (Cooking Classy)
Healthy Soup Recipes by the Season
There’s no shortage of inspiring healthy soup recipes out in the blogosphere. Here are some seasonally-inspired favorites to check out:
Cauliflower Chowder (Raising Generation Nourished)
Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup (Nature’s Nurture)
Roasted Paleo Pumpkin Soup with Garlic Sage Butter (Livin Lovin Farmin)
Or try some healthy soup recipes from around the world:
Nourishing Thai Noodle Soup (Nourishing Simplicity)
Indian Lentil Soup (The Woks of Life)
Zuppa Toscana (Nourishing Simplicity)
Slow Cooker Thai Coconut Soup (Happy Mothering)
South of the Border Chicken Chowder (Creating Your Life Intentionally)
Zucchini and Miso Faux Pho (This House of Joy)
Italian Sausage Soup (Deductive Seasoning)
Borsch – Classic Russian Beet Soup (Prepare and Nourish)
Soup’s on! What delicious healthy soup recipes will you prepare this week?
Healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive!
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t afford a healthier diet. Some savvy strategies can save you a bundle on the healthiest food for you and your family.