Healthy Winter and Spring Soup Recipes by Top Chefs

by Charles Platkin, PhD

Hearty Minestrone with Quinoa

Health Recipe 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 cans (15 ounces each) 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
½ 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 and sprinkle with the torn or whole basil leaves. (If making the soup ahead, stir in the basil before refrigerating or freezing.)

Nutritional information (per 2-cup serving): 335 calories; 13 g protein; 10 g fat (1 g saturated); 11 g fiber;144 mg calcium; 31mg vitamin C; 50 g carbohydrates; 650 mg sodium.

Nutritional information (per 1-cup serving): 167 calories; 7 g protein; 5 g fat (0.5g saturated); 5.5 g fiber; 72 mg calcium; 16 mg vitamin C; 25 g carbohydrates; 325 mg sodium.

The Easiest Zero Fat Carrot Soup on the Planet

recipe 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.

Nutritional information (per 1-cup serving): 45 calories; 0 g fat; 5 g carbohydrates; 0.37 g protein; 76.33 mg sodium.

New England Clam Chowder

Healthy Recipe by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., author of Blood Pressure Down: the 10-step plan to lower your blood pressure in 4 weeks — without prescription drugs (Crown/Three Rivers 2013)

Serves 10 cups


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour *
1/2 head cauliflower (to make about 2 cups of puree)
2 cups 1% milk
2 (10-ounce) cans baby clams in water
3/4 pound red potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Smoked paprika, to garnish for a smoky flavor

*Use garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour to make this soup gluten-free


In a large pot, combine the olive oil, garlic and onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute.

Chop and steam the cauliflower, then puree in a blender until smooth. Add the puree to the pot and stir in 1 cup of water, the milk, clams, potatoes, 2 sprigs of the thyme and the bay leaves.

Bring the soup to a boil, stir, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and the soup thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with smoked paprika and the remaining thyme.

Nutritional information (per 1-cup serving): 114 calories; 2 g fat; 13 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 8 g protein; 390 mg sodium.

French Onion and Apple Soup

Healthy Recipe by Editors of Cooking Light and Janet Helm, authors of Cooking Light The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook (Oxmoor House 2012 )

Serves 10


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°.

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° for 8 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.

Nutritional information (per 1-cup serving): 254 calories; 11 g fat; 11.1 g protein; 29.2 g carbs; 4.1 g fiber; 426 mg sodium; 278 mg calcium.

Bok Choy–Noodle Soup

Healthy Recipe by editors at Weight Watchers, authors of Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook (Wiley 2012)

Serves 6


4 ounces cellophane noodles
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth or 3 1/2 cups basic chicken stock
1 (12-ounce) package low-fat extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 pound baby bok choy, coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch watercress, trimmed
2 scallions, thinly sliced on diagonal
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon Asian (dark) sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Put noodles in a large bowl and add enough hot water to cover; let stand until softened,
about 10 minutes; drain. With kitchen scissors, cut noodles into 3-inch lengths.

Pour broth into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add tofu, bok choy and watercress; simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add noodles, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper; cook until heated through, about 2 minutes longer.

Nutritional information (per 1-cup serving): 123 calories; 2 g fat (0 g saturated, 0 g trans); 0 mg cholesterol; 617 mg sodium; 20 g carbohydrates; 1 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 7 g protein; 67 mg calcium.

Roasted Garlic, Fennel, + Corn Chowder

Healthy Recipe by Jessica Goldman Foung, author of Sodium Girl’s Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook (Wiley 2013)

Serves 2


1 whole head garlic
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 cups water
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives


Preheat the oven to 375°F.
To roast the garlic, slice off the top of the bulb so that the garlic flesh is exposed.
Put the whole bulb into a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Place the foil packet in a baking pan and place it in the oven. Roast until the garlic is soft, about 40 minutes. Remove the garlic from the oven and, when cool to the touch, separate the cloves from the head. Place them on a cutting board and, smacking your palm on the flat side of a knife, smash them to squeeze out the softened pulp. Discard the flaky outer skin and set the roasted garlic paste aside.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil to a large stockpot and warm over medium heat. Add the fennel and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the corn and cook, stirring, until it begins to soften as well, about 5 minutes. Add the white pepper, roasted garlic paste and water. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Take the pot off the heat and allow the soup to cool for 15 minutes. Using your immersion blender or a standing blender, puree until the consistency is smooth and creamy. At this point, you can add an extra step of running the soup through a sieve if you want it to be supremely silky. Otherwise, pour the pureed liquid directly back into the pot. Heat the soup until it is gently simmering and then cook to the desired thickness, 10 to 12 minutes more.

Just before serving, mix in the heavy cream. Remove the pot from the heat and ladle the steaming soup into bowls or mugs; top with chives.

Nutritional information (per serving): 239.3 calories; 8.8 g fat; 40.5 g carbohydrates; 6.5 g fiber; 6.3 g protein; 57 mg sodium.

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