Here are healthy winter and spring soup recipes by top chefs.
Hearty minestrone with quinoa
By Liz Vaccariello, author of “The Digest Diet Cookbook” (Readers Digest 2012).
Makes 10 cups.
2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced 1-inch wide
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and thickly sliced
8 ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/3 cup no-salt-added tomato paste
2 15-ounce cans no-salt-added white beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup fresh basil leaves, half thinly sliced, half torn or left whole
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
In a large nonstick saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the yellow squash and green beans and cook, stirring frequently, until the squash starts to soften, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste, white beans, broth, sliced basil and salt, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the green beans are tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium pot of boiling water, cook the quinoa until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
To serve, stir the quinoa into the soup and sprinkle with the torn or whole basil leaves. (If making the soup ahead, stir in the basil before refrigerating or freezing.)
Per 2-cup serving: 335 calories; 13 g protein;10 g fat (1 g saturated);11 g fiber; 50 g carbohydrates; and 650 mg sodium.
The easiest zero-fat carrot soup on the planet
By Dr. Ellen Bass and Sophia Khan, authors of “Students Go Gourmet” (Dailey Swan Publishing 2011).
Makes 12 cups.
2 16-ounce bags baby carrots
1 yellow onion, sliced
8 cups water
2 tablespoons garlic paste
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons honey
Place all ingredients except the honey in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until the carrots are soft. Turn off the heat and add the honey. Use a blender or immersion blender to puree the soup.
Per 1-cup serving: 45 calories; 0 g fat; 5 g carbohydrates; 0.37 g protein; and 76.33 mg sodium.
French onion and apple soup
By Editors of Cooking Light and Janet Helm, authors of “Cooking Light: The Food Lover's Healthy Habits Cookbook” (Oxmoor House, 2012 ).
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
15 cups sliced yellow onion (about 4 pounds)
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apple, peeled, quartered and cut into julienne strips
1/2 cup Madeira wine or dry sherry
6 cups lower-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
10 1/2 -ounce slices sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups (8 ounces) grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese Thyme leaves (optional)
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Continue cooking 50 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add pepper, thyme sprigs, bay leaves and apple; cook 3 minutes or until apple softens. Add wine; cook 2 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
Add broth and cider; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Discard bay leaves; stir in vinegar.
Preheat broiler. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan; broil 2 minutes or until toasted, turning after 1 minute.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Ladle 1 cup soup into each of 10 ovenproof soup bowls. Divide croutons evenly among bowls, and top each serving with about 3 tablespoons cheese. Place bowls on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 500 degrees for 8 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.
Per 1-cup serving: 254 calories; 11 g fat; 11.1 g protein; 29.2 g carbs; 4.1 g fiber; 426 mg sodium; and 278 mg calcium.
Charles Stuart Platkin is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of www.DietDetective.com.