Soup’s On

Soup, the perfect antidote to winter. Don't miss these tasty healthy recipes your family will love!

The holidays are over, and that long, gray stretch of winter lies before us: two months of rain, cold, and the occasional threat of snow. While this time of the year can be a little depressing for many of us, there is a cure: soup. 

If winter has an upside, it’s the excuse to eat soup for any and every meal. I’m an avid soup maker from October through March and an avid soup abstainer the rest of the year. The best part about making soup is that it can come together in so many ways by using whatever you have on hand, what’s in season, and what’s left over from last night’s meal. I almost never make the same soup twice because I opportunistically throw in whatever is around. 

Soup is also a great way to cut back on your meat consumption and amp up your greens and winter root and squash intake. It might be easier for you to think about eating a large head of kale once it’s swimming around in a spicy, brothy Zuppa Toscano. Or maybe butternut squash is more appealing when blended with cream and curry into a thick, rich bowl of soup. And you can really stretch a pound of sausage, a few cups of chicken, or some chopped ham when making soup. 

Another fun way to incorporate soup into these long winter months is to have a “Souper Party.” You invite guests over and ask them to bring one ingredient they have on hand that would be good in soup—some frozen veggies, meat, stock, rice, beans, pasta—whatever! Then throw the ingredients together into one or more soups and eat up. 

Don’t let these gray days get you down. Cheer up with a bowl of soup and sip away until it’s warm again! 

Spicy Zuppa Toscano

This is a low-cal, low-dairy version of an Italian favorite. For dairy lovers, substitute the almond milk and Greek yogurt with heavy cream.

1 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb. spicy Italian sausage
1 large head of kale, stems removed and chopped 
3-4 medium sized potatoes of any variety OR one can of Canellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups of chicken broth
3 cups almond milk
1 cup Greek yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste

• In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until soft. 

• Add the sausage and cook until crumbled and browned. Add in the kale and potatoes (or beans) and stir to combine well. Season with salt and pepper. 

• Stir in the chicken broth, deglazing the bottom of the pan. 

• In a small bowl combine the milk and yogurt with a whisk until smooth, then add to the soup. 

• Heat to a boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes and kale are tender. 

Curried Lentil Soup

1T. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 medium carrots, diced small
1 t. curry powder (or more to taste)
1/2 t. dried thyme
dash of coriander (optional)
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 cup of balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 14-oz. can of stewed tomatoes with their juice
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup of beef broth
1 1/2 cups of cooked dried lentils (or canned, rinsed, and drained)
parsley for garnish (optional)

• Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft. Add the carrots, curry, thyme, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper and sauté for several minutes until the carrots begin to soften. Deglaze the pot with the vinegar, and simmer until vinegar is reduced by half.

• Take a pair of kitchen shears and cut the tomatoes inside the can until they are bite-sized. Add the tomatoes with their juice to the pot, bring to a simmer, then add broths and bring back to simmer. Cook at a simmer until the carrots are almost tender, 20-25 minutes. 

• Add in the lentil, gently stirring in. Bring the soup back to a simmer until lentils are heated through. Serve with parsley as garnish. 

Rachel Burns

Rachel Burns is the owner at The Content Chop Shop, a small shop providing content marketing services to small businesses, designers and nonprofits. She is also the co-owner of Burn Both Ends, which develops and presents educational opportunities and resources for small businesses looking to grow. She is a local to Hampton Roads and a vocal spokesperson for all its myriad advantages, her favorites of which is the Atlantic Ocean. She has been published in The Virginian Pilot, Tidewater Women, and AltDaily, among others. She lives in the Hickory section of Chesapeake with her husband, two pugs and several feral cats.

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