There’s something almost magical about cozying up to a bowl of warm soup on a cold day. Watching the swirl of steam rise, spoon poised to take the first dip that will bring the liquid to your lips, pausing briefly to let it cool for a few seconds before you open your mouth for a taste. You close your eyes to fully take in the flavor and texture, almost in disbelief that something so simple can be so satisfying.

Soup is to winter what salad is to summer. It almost signifies the season and most kitchen connoisseurs have their favorite recipe that makes its appearance as soon as a heavy winter coat is pulled from storage.

Much of the appeal of soup, from a practical standpoint, is that it’s typically a one-pot wonder so there’s less mess to clean up. Additionally, it’s easy to make a scrumptious soup that’s brimming with vegetables and super healthy.

The ingredients for soup are budget friendly so you can feed a crowd. Finally, most soups can be frozen; just divide it up into smaller, freezer ready containers and the chef can enjoy a few nights off.

Moroccan Butternut Squash and Chickpea Soup

Squash, chickpeas, spinach and rice come to life in this exotic, flavorful soup.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 1 14.5-oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½-cup onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp, ground ginger
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 5-oz. package fresh baby spinach
  • 1 15-oz. can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice

Instructions

Combine the butternut squash, diced tomatoes, onion, garlic, stock, curry, cumin, paprika, ginger, and cayenne in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 18 to 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Stir in the spinach, chickpeas, and rice and heat.

Adapted from Forks Over Knives.

Black Bean Soup

This soup is loaded with vegetables and no one will know!

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • ½ cup prepared salsa
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsps. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • ½ Tbsp. chipotle powder
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz. can whole kernel corn
  • 1 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsps. lime juice

Instructions

Saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic with a splash of vegetable broth in a large pot for 5 minutes. Season with chili powder, cumin and chipotle and cook for 1 minute. Stir in vegetable broth, beans and salsa and bring to a boil. Let cool a bit and pour half the soup into a food processor or blender and process until moderately smooth. Pour the processed mixture back into the pot, add the corn and heat for a few minutes, stirring well to combine all of the ingredients. Remove from heat and add the lime juice. Serve with avocado slices and tortilla strips.

Creamy Corn Chowder

This soup calls for coconut milk rather than cream for its creamy texture.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 Tbsps. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 cups corn kernels
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk

Instructions

Heat butter in a large pot over low heat and add the onion. Cook for 8-10 minutes and then add the flour. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Pour in the broth and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the peppers, corn and coconut milk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir frequently.

Quinoa Chili

The quinoa adds to the heartiness of this soup.

Instructions

  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 14.5-oz. cans no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5-oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5-oz can kidney red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 Tbsps. chili powder
  • 2 tsps. ground cumin

Ingredients

Combine quinoa and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the water is absorbed. Heat a splash of water in a large saucepan and saute onion and garlic until soft. Stir in tomatoes, beans, corn, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add quinoa and simmer for a few minutes.

Leslie Harrison of Tyler, Texas, is a Food for Life nutrition and cooking instructor. 

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