Diet Detective’s Fall Soups 2012

by Charles Platkin, PhD

Diet Detective’s Fall Soups 2012

15-Minute Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

Healthy recipe from Marlene Koch, RD, Eat More of What You Love, Running Press, 2012

Makes 6 servings


2 teaspoons canola oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, diced
2 cups roasted red peppers (about two 15-ounce jars)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 (14-ounce) cans, or 3½ cups, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon paprika (smoked, if possible)
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup nonfat half-and-half
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Light sour cream (optional)


Heat the oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot and sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until the shallot is softened. Add the peppers, tomato paste, broth, sugar, paprika, cayenne and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the half-and-half and cornstarch. Set aside.

Transfer the soup to a blender, or use an immersion blender, and puree until smooth while slowly adding the half-and-half mixture. If using a blender, return the pureed soup to the pot and bring to a low simmer for 1 to 2 minutes until thickened and warm. Serve garnished with sour cream, if desired.

Note: To make your own roasted red peppers, slice the sides off the peppers, removing the core and seeds. Lay the pepper slices skin side up on a baking sheet and broil until the skin is completely blackened, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the pepper slices in a sealed bag. Let sit 15 minutes, then remove the peppers from the bag and rub off the loosened skin.

Nutritional Information: (Serving size: 1 cup) 85 calories; 2 g total fat (0g saturated); 12 g carbs (4 g sugars); 2 g fiber; 4 g protein; 0 mg cholesterol; 390 mg sodium.

Pumpkin and Chile Soup

Healthy recipe from Christine Denney, food service director at The Oaks at Ojai spa and author of from the Heart Cookbook: (see:

Makes 10 servings


1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped Pasilla chile
1/2 cup chopped Anaheim chile
2 cloves garlic (2 teaspoons), minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon lime juice
Toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)


In a medium soup pot, heat the olive oil briefly. Then add the onion and all of the chiles. When they begin to soften, add the garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent (do not brown).

Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, and simmer the mixture until the chiles are soft. Stir in the pumpkin puree, warm, and then blend with an immersion blender or transfer the mixture in batches to a blender; blend until creamy. Return to the pot, warm, and serve in warmed bowls or soup cups.

The yogurt, maple syrup and lime juice can be stirred together as a topping for the soup ­approximately 1 teaspoon for each serving. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds if you have them!

Nutritional Information: (Serving size: ½ cup) 53 calories; 1.8 g fat; 0 g cholesterol; 149 mg sodium; 9.2 g carbs; 2.9 g fiber; 2.4 g protein.

Velvety Sweet Potato Soup

Healthy recipe from Jackie Newgent, RD, 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes, Wiley, 2012

Makes 7 cups or 7 servings


1 large sweet potato, unpeeled, scrubbed, finely diced
1 medium white or yellow onion, finely diced
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added Great Northern or butter beans, drained
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
1 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 8 teaspoon ground cayenne, or to taste
2 teaspoons unsalted butter (optional)
Fresh rosemary or sage, for garnish (optional)


Combine all the ingredients except the butter and optional garnish in a large saucepan or stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the potato and onion are fully softened, about 25 minutes.

Blend until smooth using an immersion blender. (Alternatively, puree in a blender in batches using the hot fill line as a guide, and return to the saucepan over low heat.) Adjust the seasoning and stir in the butter (if using).

Ladle into individual bowls and serve. If desired, garnish with fresh rosemary or sage.

Nutritional Information: (Serving size: 1 cup) 100 calories; 0.5 g total fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 570 mg sodium; 20 g carbs (5 g sugars); 6 g fiber; 3 g protein.

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Healthy recipe from Charles Platkin, Ph.D., M.P.H., author of Diet Detective’s Diet Starter Kit, Diversion Books, 2011 and editor of

Makes 20 servings


6 large carrots
4 parsnips
2 turnips
8 cloves garlic
4 large onions
10 large stalks celery
4 leeks
1 bunch broccoli
1 bunch Italian parsley
1 bunch fresh dill
2 whole chicken breasts with skin and bones
2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
2 cups fat-free, low-sodium, no-MSG chicken broth
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons onion powder
3 tablespoons pepper
3 tablespoons salt


Wash and clean all vegetables and herbs. Peel and cut off the tops and bottoms of the carrots, parsnips and turnips. Peal the garlic and onions (or use already peeled garlic). Cut all the vegetables into 3 or 4 pieces. Wash the chicken breasts.

Fill a 12-quart, lidded cooking pot with all the ingredients (except the salt and pepper), then fill the pot with water (leaving a bit of room so it doesn’t overflow during boiling).   Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer. After about 2 hours, carefully remove the chicken breasts. Place the breasts on a large plate and remove and discard the skin and bones. Return the chicken to the pot and continue simmering.

After 1 more hour of simmering, turn off the heat and let the soup sit, covered, for 2 to 3 hours. Add pepper and salt to taste.

Nutritional Information: (Serving size: 2 cups) 129 calories; 1 g fat; 20 g carbs; 834 mg sodium; 5 g fiber; 11 g protein.

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