Super Soups

Soup is the ultimate lunch and comfort food–and perfect for fall (or any season)! A hearty mix of vegetables, meat, broth and seasonings provide a warm, satisfying meal. It’s easy to take with you for lunch, or have as a dinner, a snack, brunch, or anytime you want a wholesome meal that is filling, healthy, and portable. However, not all soups are the same! Many of the commercial soups, while tasty, are full of sodium and preservatives that make them less than ideal for pregnant women or their families. The best soups are homemade where sodium and other ingredients can be controlled with taste maximized.

An Easy Way to Make Soup

Fortunately, soup is one of the easiest things to make. In fact, all soups can be boiled down (get it?) to the same elements starting with a “base” and then different variations can be made from the simple base recipe. You can make soups in small batches, and they don’t take long. This recipe can be doubled and tripled so there can be plenty left over for additional meals of snacks or frozen for several weeks to use later.

Once you master the base soup recipe, you can experiment with different flavor combinations of meats, vegetables, pastas, rice, or grains. Or try out my other soup recipes like Pumpkin Soup, Black Bean Soup, Fall Soup or this Protein-Packed Soup. Pair these soups with toasted bread or pita pieces, unsalted crackers, or top them with different flavors like a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin or sesame seeds, croutons, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or pesto, or a light shaving of cheese. The combinations, and possibilities, are endless!

Basic Soup Recipe 

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 8 cups water or stock (chicken, vegetable or beef)
  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot of Dutch oven over medium high heat.
  2. Sauté vegetables until onions are soft and translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the seasonings.
  3. Add in water or stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer covered for 20 to 30 minutes until vegetables have softened.

Lentil Soup

Makes 4 servings

  • Basic Soup Recipe (above) but add to the sautéed vegetables:
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups dried lentils (green, red, or yellow)
  • 1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 cups water or stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Optional: 1 cup roughly chopped Swiss chard, escarole or spinach
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  1. Bring Basic Soup Recipe broth (above) to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer over medium heat 60 to 90 minutes until lentils soften.
  3. If using, add chard, escarole or spinach and vinegar immediately before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken & Pasta Soup

Makes 4 servings

  • Basic Soup Recipe (above) but add to the sautéed vegetables:
  • 5 cups water or stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1-pound boneless chicken breast, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces or shredded
  • 1 12-ounce package of elbow-shaped pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 bunch kale, shredded
  1. Follow Basic Soup Recipe (above) but add to the sautéed vegetables the water or broth, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes.
  2. Add chicken, pasta and kale and simmer an additional 10-12 minutes until kale is softened.

Vegetable Soup

Makes 4 servings

  • Basic Soup Recipe plus:
  • 5 cups water or broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes in their liquid
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup frozen green beans
  • 1 cup frozen yellow corn
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Add water or broth, tomatoes, potatoes, and bay leaf to sautéed vegetables. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the green beans and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Add peas, corn and parsley and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper before serving. Garnish with additional parsley when serving.

Featured photo by Becca Tapert 

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