Finding Comfort in Soups

Soup’s popularity is sky high during the colder months when our bodies are craving warmth. And what could be wrong with that? It provides nutrients and health benefits for those under the weather. Unfortunately soup also often provides a high amount of calories and fat, not to mention a ridiculous amount of sodium. Those eating canned soup have also been found to have high levels of BPA (Bisphenol A) in their system, according to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health. People who were eating soup regularly had more than 1,000 percent increase in urinary BPA levels. And as we have learned, BPA has a multitude of unhealthy side effects.

If soup is a weak spot, like for so many of us, there are options to make it work for you. Making your own soup at home will give you complete control of what goes into it.

And what should go into said soup? Try potatoes—they are outstanding for texture, flavor, and nutrition. According to Real Mom Ambassador for the United States Potato Board and registered dietitian Tara Gidus, these are a few other reasons to choose potatoes:

>>Potatoes can add color to soup—use red and purple potatoes instead of pasta noodles.

>>Potatoes are one of the top nutritional powerhouses in the supermarket, providing significantly better nutritional value per dollar than most other raw vegetables.

>>Potatoes give you that thick and creamy texture you crave without all the butter and heavy whipping cream, which adds unnecessary calories and fat to your soup.

>>Potatoes (and soups) are satiating! Fiber-packed potatoes help you feel full longer. Maintain a healthy weight and heart with potatoes as they are naturally fat-, cholesterol-, and sodium-free.

>>Potatoes have twice the potassium of a banana, and provide nearly half your daily value of vitamin C—all for just 110 calories in a medium-sized (5.3 ounce) skin-on potato.

>>Potatoes are a blank canvas for flavor. With seven colorful potato types (yellows, whites, Russets, petites, fingerlings, purples, and reds) there’s a new potato for every type of soup!

Potatoes are not the only ingredients that make soup great. Play around with some recipes to find the most delicious (and healthy) combos. Tara provides some excellent potato-based recipes to make sure you are receiving the nutrients you need.

 

Southwestern Chicken & Potato Soup

Makes: 4 servings / TIME: 30 MINUTES

Ingredients:

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth

1 package (16 to 20 ounces) refrigerated pre-cut cubed potatoes

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 package (6 ounces) fully-cooked grilled chicken strips, each cut in half

1 can (11 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained

1 cup roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips or frozen bell pepper strips

1 can (4 ounces) diced green chiles, undrained

Place potatoes in a pan and cover with chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and bring to a simmer. Add remaining ingredients. Cook for 15 more minutes. Serve. Recipe and image provided by Tara Gidus.

 

Sausage, Kale, and Bean Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 ounces Cajun smoked sausage, chopped

3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

6 cups coarsely chopped kale (about 8 ounces)

1 (16 ounce) can navy beans, drained and rinsed

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add smoked sausage to pan; cook two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken broth and diced tomatoes; bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the kale. Reduce heat and simmer four minutes or until the kale is tender. Stir in beans, and cook one minute or until soup is thoroughly heated. Recipe provided by myrecipes.com.

 

Butternut Squash Soup

Makes 6 cups / Time 1 hour

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash (about 5-6 cups), peeled and cubed (1-inch cubes)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 large onion, chopped (1 cup)

1 apple, peeled and chopped

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon A. Vogel Herbamare Original

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put the squash in a large pot and cover about two-thirds of the way with water (about two cups). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-low heat and sauté the chopped onion and apple until the onion is soft and translucent, about 12-15 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, and turmeric, and cook for another two minutes. Transfer the onion-apple mix to the pot with the squash. Add the Herbamare and simmer until the squash is soft. Purée the soup in a blender or food processor until very smooth. If the soup is too thick, add some water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm. Recipe provided by Culinary Creativity by Dawn Allen.

 

Quick and Healthy Chunky Potato Minestrone Soup

Serves 4 / Time: 90 minutes

Ingredients:

3 cups stock or reduced-sodium broth

1/2 lb white potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 small carrots, peeled and chopped

2 cups prepared pasta sauce

1/2 can white beans

1/2 teaspoon thyme or Italian seasoning

Sea salt or garlic salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Chop vegetables while broth is heating, then add to saucepan with pasta sauce and beans. Return to a boil: reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then purée until smooth, or until soup is desired consistency. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook for five minutes more. Recipe provided by Tara Gidus.