In honor of National Soup Month, here are seven incredible recipes that will warm you up this January without jeopardizing your New Year’s health resolutions. Whether you prefer traditional hearty stews, soups with seasonal veggies or even something with a Cajun kick, we’ve got something for everyone. And five out of the seven recipes are vegetarian-friendly in addition to being delicious and nutritious. Perfect for Meatless Mondays!
Mouthwatering Minestrone Soup
Italian for “the big soup”? minestrone combines a plethora of vegetables — whatever’s in season — with pasta or rice. This one uses zucchini, carrots, chickpeas/kidney beans, tomatoes and pasta of your choice. Healthy and vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, this minestrone is perfect for the cold winter months — or any time of year, really.
Creamy Chestnut Soup with Porcini Mushrooms and Sauteed Root Vegetables
Chestnuts are good for more than just roasting by an open fire. That said, they’re a bit on the pricey side. To slash the cost of the soup’s ingredients a bit, reduce the amount of chestnuts and add more mushrooms. And you may think the crème fraiche is optional — it is not! (I mean, it is, but you’re seriously missing out if you don’t top the soup with a little dollop. So yummy!)
Easy Tortellini Soup With Spinach and Tomatoes
This tasty tortellini soup combines our two favorite qualities in a recipe: inexpensive and simple. The ingredients include canned and frozen veggies, which we know aren’t as tasty as fresh produce, but when you’re desperately waiting for your paycheck and need to eat on the cheap, this healthy, delicious and vegetarian-friendly tortellini soup recipe is there for you.
Paula Deen’s Old-Time Beef Stew
I bet you never thought Paula Deen’s name would pop up on a list of healthy recipes. We didn’t either. However, this amazing beef stew recipe actually manages to stay low in fat and fairly low-calorie. Be prepared for a long cooking time, but the preparation is relatively simple, and you just need to leave it simmering for an hour or two. We recommend cooking this on Sunday and storing in the fridge. After facing winter’s wrath on the commute from work during the week, you can come home to a flavorful stew that just needs to be heated up.
Lentil and Escarole Soup
Before we go any further, let me answer the question we know you’re all thinking: What the hell is escarole? It’s a type of endive that has broad, pale green leaves and is less bitter than most other endives.
Now that we’ve gotten that cleared up, introducing lentil and escarole soup, courtesy of the New York Times. Whether you’re a carnivore, vegetarian or vegan, we guarantee you’ll love this soup. And so will your body — lentils contain nearly 90% of the daily recommendation of folate, which, according to Livestrong.com, helps produce new cells and is essential to iron production in the body. They also contain the same protein benefits as meat — minus the fat, calories and cholesterol. Escarole is high in vitamin A and a good source of iron and potassium.
Sausage and Chicken Gumbo
While New Orleans is a food-lover’s paradise, it’s not exactly known for its healthy cuisine. This gumbo is an exception. It uses turkey kielbasa instead of Italian sausage, plus fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth. It’s also foolproof for amateur cooks since it doesn’t involve cooking a roux (another reason it’s healthier than most gumbos).
The Best Butternut Squash Soup We’ve Ever Had
We’ve had a lot of butternut squash soups in our lifetime, but as far as home-cooked recipes go, this one tops them all. Cooks Illustrated’s recipe manages to create the tastiest butternut squash soup we’ve ever had without using even the tiniest bit of cream or milk. We didn’t know low-calorie, low-fat, nutritious and vegetarian- and vegan-friendly could taste this good.