Monday, December 1, 2014

Simple Soups for Healthy Holidays

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can often be difficult to want to spend the time to meal plan and cook. With stresses and flu season, we know this is a time of year when it’s very important to feed ourselves and our loved ones wholesome, quality foods. Between shopping, parties, family obligations, normal life and increased pressures, fast-food options may be increasingly tempting and good intentions for eating healthfully can go out the window. But with just a few ingredients and minimal prep time, you can have a healthy, home-cooked soup. Warm and comforting on a cool winter day, soups can easily be turned into a meal by serving them with a loaf of crusty, whole-grain bread and a salad.

Don’t want to make a big mess in the kitchen? You don’t need much equipment to make these soups:
  • a cutting board 
  • a good chef’s knife (or whatever knife you like to chop with 
  • a pot with a lid, preferably a heavy pot, such as enameled cast iron 
  • a hand-held immersion blender, which is the easiest and safest way to blend hot ingredients for smooth soups
Making these one-pot recipes means that clean-up is quick and easy, too.

These soup recipes are simple, hearty, comforting, delicious, inexpensive, and easy to put your own spin on. You could make your own stock by saving your vegetable trimmings, which can be collected and frozen to be used at a later date. Or for a quick, ready-made option, use bouillon or boxed vegetable broth. Because most of these soups are blended smooth, the veggies that need to be prepped can be coarsely chopped into roughly 1-inch cubes to get these soups going fast. Don’t want to peel the vegetables? Scrub them clean and leave the peels on for a more rustic soup, which works great with most root vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, as well as thin-skinned winter squash, like kabocha, delicata, maybe even butternut.

Each recipe is enough for a family, to be reheated and enjoyed throughout the week, or frozen in individual servings to eat later. These recipes are also gluten-free and offer options so that they can be made dairy-free.

Want a little bit more advanced version? These recipes include ideas for different variations to mix things up to suit your tastes. Fancy them up with suggested garnishes. Holiday Bonus: soup poured into shot glasses and garnished with a pinch of microgreens are a great party appetizer!

Winter Squash Soup

Leek & Potato Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

Tomato Soup

Vegan Chili

...or find even more soups here!

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