When the thought of a crispy, chilled salad makes you shiver, reach for one of these healthy soup recipes instead. Not only are soups the ultimate comfort food for chilly nights, but they’ll keep you on track with clean eating.
The best soups start with homemade stock; it’s surprisingly easy to whip up a homemade meal if you keep stock and vegetables in the freezer. Whenever I have excess or discarded veggies and herbs, like celery leaves, parsley stems or the end of an onion or carrot, I add them to a big freezer bag. Then, when the bag is full, I just throw the contents in a pot of water with salt, peppercorns, a bay leaf, and bones from a rotisserie chicken to make homemade broth. Yum!
Bring to a simmer, and after an hour or so, discard the veggies and bones and strain. Return to the pot and simmer until it reduces and the flavour is to your taste. If you’re using bones, skim the fat that rises to the surface. You can use your stock right away or freeze it.
Here are some of my favourite winter soup recipes that are ready in a pinch.
1. Chicken Noodle
You can’t deny the healing powers of a classic chicken noodle soup. This chicken noodle soup recipe from Fitness Magazine is about as easy as it gets. It combines a mirepoix (French cooking term for the “holy trinity” of carrots, celery and onion), low-sodium chicken broth, some dried herbs with egg noodles and pre-cooked chicken. You’ll be tucking into the magic of chicken noodle soup in less than 30 minutes. Get the recipe.
2. Beef Barley
On those bitter, cold nights, you need something hearty, and this soup works as a meal. Browning steak in the bottom of a Dutch oven will impart a good depth of flavor in the finished soup. Additionally, quick-cooking barley means you won’t be standing at the stove forever, and barley is a great source of fibre and chock full of vitamins and minerals. Tomato paste and a touch of vinegar gives this beef barley soup a little something extra. Get the recipe.
3. Creamy Potato
How can this decadent, creamy soup possible be light? By using potato and cauliflower, you’ll achieve a silky, creamy texture that tastes just like butter and cream. The recipe still uses a bit of cheese but swaps full-fat products for 2% milk and fat-free sour cream. All of the flavour, without any of the unwanted calories. Get the recipe
4. Broccoli Cheese
When the weather gets cool, we crave ooey, gooey, cheesey goodness, and this bowl of broccoli cheddar soup has that in spades. A moderate helping of cheese and a judicious amount of half and half pairs perfectly with broccoli florets. Get the recipe.
5. Lentil Soup
This hearty, delicious lentil soup is so tasty, you won’t believe how healthy and low-cal it is! Lentils provide fibre and fill you up all day, while veggies like carrot, celery, spinach and tomato make this soup extra nutritious. Bonus? It’s vegan to boot. Get the recipe.
6. Wonton Soup
Wonton soups are one of those delightful little dishes that warm the soul. Most are low-fat and low in calories, and you’ll get extra satisfaction from the delicious dumplings, which pack plenty of protein and lots of flavour. Get the recipe.