Soups are probably due more credit than they receive. They're warming when the weather's cold and can be comforting if you're fighting a cold.
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They're also a great way to reduce food waste: You can create a pot of soup starring all the veggies sitting in your fridge or make your own vegetable broth by using the scraps we typically toss (think: carrot tops, potato skins, beet greens).
Soups can also be incredibly healthy for our overall diets and waistlines. Sipping on a soup before a meal can help us eat less overall but still feel just as satisfied, according to an older April 2007 study published in Appetite. Those who had soup before lunch took in significantly fewer calories overall (even with soup and lunch combined) compared to those who just ate lunch.
What's more, people who drink soup regularly were observed to weigh less, have smaller waists and eat fewer calories on average than those who skipped the soup, an April 2014 paper published in the British Journal of Nutrition found. Soup lovers also appear to have better diets overall, taking in more protein, fiber and several vitamins and minerals, as well as less overall fat.
Try these six simple soup recipes you can throw together in a cinch.
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1. Garlicky Italian White Bean, Spinach and Pasta Soup
The major components in this soup are vegetable broth, pasta, cannellini beans and baby spinach. The recipe calls for fresh spinach but frozen works well, too.
While the warmth of this soup can comfort you, the spinach might also help with your mood. Leafy greens like spinach top the list for containing nutrients linked to better mental health, according to a September 2018 paper published in the World Journal of Psychiatry.
Get the Garlicky Italian White Bean, Spinach and Pasta Soup recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Vegan Mexican Tortilla Soup
This is a vegan version of the beloved spicy Mexican tortilla soup — but if you have chicken breast on hand, you could easily swap that in for the shelled edamame. The hearty red kidney beans in this soup help up the fiber, which is something most of us (like, nine out of 10) could benefit from.
Research shows 90 percent of Americans fall short of their fiber needs every day. Women should get 25 grams per day and men, 38 grams, according to the National Institutes of Health. Good news: This soup provides 14 grams per serving.
Get the Vegan Mexican Tortilla Soup recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Roasted Butternut Blendie Soup
This is blended soup features butternut squash, which is great to keep on hand because it can be stored for up to two to three months, according to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
And blended soups may be the real MVP when it comes to keeping you feeling full, according to a clinical trial published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in October 2012. Researchers compared the effects of a solid meal versus a chunky soup versus a smooth soup (like this Roasted Butternut Blendie Soup) on gastric emptying and appetite. Turns out, thicker blended soups take the longest to empty and provide the greatest feelings of satiety.
Get the Roasted Butternut Blendie Soup recipe and nutrition info here.
4. White Bean and Veggie Soup
This is one of those vegetable soups where anything goes. It calls for celery, mushrooms, carrots, frozen peas and canned white beans but you can really use any combo of veggies and beans you have on hand — in your freezer, pantry or fridge.
Walnuts are a surprising add-in, but they give more heft to the soup, along with a dose of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and some protein. And get this: People who ate 1.5 ounces of walnuts each day saw significant positive changes in their guts, a February 2018 clinical trial published in Nutrients found.
Get the White Bean and Veggie Soup recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Cream of Mushroom Soup
You typically want to steer clear of any soup with the words "cream of" in the name because it's usually an indication that it's filled with well, cream. And that means extra saturated fat and calories.
This recipe, however, is free of all of that. The creaminess comes from the white beans after they've met the immersion blender (you can also use a high-powered blender), which helps to create a velvety texture without all of the fat and calories.
Get the Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Cauliflower Soup
One of the best attributes of this recipe is its simplicity. It comes together with cauliflower, EVOO, garlic, onion and stock — that's it. The recipe calls for raw cauliflower but you can use frozen florets instead.
We're taught to eat the rainbow but that definitely includes the color white. Don't skip out on foods like cauliflower, onions, garlic and potatoes. Cauliflower contains a phytochemical called sulforaphane that's been shown to help protect our brain from aging, according to a June 2019 study published in Brain Circulation.
Get the Cauliflower Soup recipe and nutrition info here.
- Appetite: "Soup preloads in a variety of forms reduce meal energy intake"
- British Journal of Nutrition: "Soup consumption is associated with a lower dietary energy density and a better diet quality in US adults"
- World Journal of Psychiatry: "Antidepressant foods: An evidence-based nutrient profiling system for depression"
- National Institutes of Health: "Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Total Water and Macronutrients"
- Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: "What is the proper way to harvest and store winter squash?"
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Soups increase satiety through delayed gastric emptying yet increased glycaemic response"
- Nutrients: "A Walnut-Enriched Diet Affects Gut Microbiome in Healthy Caucasian Subjects: A Randomized, Controlled Trial"
- Brain Circulation: "The neuroprotective mechanisms and effects of sulforaphane"