Soups to warm your soul

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 7, 2011

By Emily Wilder
For The Salisbury Post
When the weather turns cold, the evenings are short, and the fresh produce wanes, it can be quite boring in the kitchen. Before you reach for a can of condensed soup to solve the dinner dilemma, consider that canned soups typically contain high levels of sodium, and according to recent news reports, Bisphenol A, or BPA. This chemical compound is used to make protective liners in metal cans and has been linked to a variety of health concerns.
A bowl of homemade soup, on the other hand, is full of whole grains, vegetables, healthy proteins, and nourishing vitamins retained in the broth. Most of the following recipes are one-pot soups, which means quick and easy clean up, and you can easily substitute ingredients for whatever is on hand. Make extra for leftovers, or freeze individual servings for those nights when you only have time for the microwave.
Leek, Potato and Corn Chowder
4 C. diced Yukon gold potatoes
3 C. chopped leeks
5 ears of corn, de-cobbed (or 2 C. frozen)
4 diced celery stalks
64 ounces liquid (broth or water)
2 C. plain soy milk
[0xbd] C. grated cheese (cheddar or muenster)
1-2 tsp. garlic powder, Mrs. Dash original table blend
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Heat oil in a large soup pot, add leek and celery and saute 1-2 minutes. Add spices, liquid and potatoes, bring to boil for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat and add corn, simmer 10-15 minutes. Add soy milk and cheese and stir well. Continue simmering for 10 minutes until ready to serve.
Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup with Green Onions and Sesame
— Adapted from
1-pound skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into thin strips
3 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. seasoned rice vinegar
4 C. chopped Napa cabbage (1 head)
6 green onions, thinly sliced
8 C. low-salt chicken broth
1 14-ounce package fresh soba noodles or similar
[0xbc] c chopped fresh cilantro
Stir chicken, soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon oil in medium bowl to blend. Let stand 20 minutes or refrigerate up to 2 hours. Whisk garlic, sugar, vinegar in small bowl. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and green onions and sauté until cabbage is tender, about 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to boil. Add chicken with marinade and garlic mixture. Reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Cook noodles in large pot of boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Add to soup in pot. Stir in half of cilantro. Season soup with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro.
Festive Black Bean Soup
1 each small green, yellow, red bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
32 oz vegetable broth
6 oz lager style beer
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans black beans, rinsed
1 T extra virgin olive oil
toppings: avocado, cheddar cheese, sour cream
Heat oil in large pot, add peppers, onion, carrots, and garlic. Saute 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to boil, cook 5 minutes. Reduce heat, add lager, tomatoes, and beans. Simmer 15-20 minutes on low heat. Serve with topping of choice.
Tuscan White Bean Soup
3 cans white beans
1 zucchini, chopped
32 ounces vegetable stock
[0xbd] C. yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. each of rosemary, pepper, garlic powder
fresh grated Parmesan for topping
In a large soup pot, heat oil until warm. Add onion and garlic and saute 1-2 minutes. Add stock and bring to boil. Add 2 cans of beans, tomato, and spices, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, food processor, or regular blender, loosely chop up the soup. Leave some lumps. Return to heat and add third can of beans, diced zucchini, and vinegar to taste. Simmer on a low boil for 10 minutes. Serve topped with grated Parmesan.
Barley and Lentil Stew with Swiss Chard
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 [0xbd] C. chopped onions
1 [0xbd] C. chopped peeled carrots
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 [0xbd] tsp. ground cumin
10 C. (or more) low-salt chicken or vegetable broth
2/3? C. pearl barley
1 can diced tomatoes in juice
2/3? C. dried lentils
4 C. (packed) coarsely chopped Swiss chard (about 1/2 large bunch)
2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
Heat oil in heavy large nonreactive pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté until onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Mix in cumin; stir 30 seconds. Add 10 cups broth and barley; bring to boil. Reduce heat; partially cover and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with juice and lentils; cover and simmer until barley and lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Add chard to soup; cover and simmer until chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in dill. Season soup with salt and pepper. Thin with more broth, if desired.
No-cream Creamy Broccoli Soup
4 C. broccoli, chopped
1 medium baking potato, peeled and diced
3 carrots, chopped
[0xbd] C. sweet onion, chopped
3-4 fresh garlic cloves, minced
32 ounces low sodium vegetable broth
1 C. water
1 [0xbd] C. brown rice, cooked
[0xbd] C. soy milk
[0xbd] C. sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tbs. Mrs. Dash table blend (or similar no-salt seasoning)
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Heat oil in large soup pot and saute onion, garlic and carrots 1-2 minutes. Do not let garlic burn. Add broth and spices and bring to a boil. Add potato and cook, covered, 8-10 minutes until tender. Reduce heat to medium-low, add water, rice, and broccoli and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and using immersion blender, food processor, or blender (let it cool first if using blender!), puree until desired consistency. Return to low heat and add soy milk and cheese. Stir well until warmed throughout. Serve topped with bread crumbs, chopped tomatoes, or grated Parmesan cheese.
Bean, Kale and Sweet Potato Soup
1 small sweet onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 bunch of kale, torn from stalks
2 cans garbanzo beans (chick peas)
32 ounces low sodium organic vegetable broth
12 ounces water
olive oil for sauté
1-2 tsp. rosemary, garlic powder, cumin, pepper
Heat oil in large stock pot. Sauté garlic and onion 1 minute. Add sweet potatoes and spices. Continue to cook 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Add broth and bring to boil for 2 minutes, reduce heat to low, add garbanzo beans and simmer 10 more minutes. Add spinach and cook 2-3 minutes until spinach is wilted.
Slow-Cooked Shredded Chicken and Vegetable Stew
24 ounces (or more) no-salt-added canned tomato sauce
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
3 chicken breasts, boiled, cooled and shredded
1 [0xbd] C. baking potatoes, cut in [0xbd]” cubes
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. chicken boullion granules
1 C. frozen corn
1 C. frozen lima beans
In a slow cooker on medium heat, combine tomato and Worcestershire sauces. Add pre-cooked shredded chicken. In a plastic bag, combine potatoes, onion, flour, seasoning, and granules and shake well to coat. Add potato mix and frozen vegetables to cooker. Slow cook on medium-high heat for 4 hours, adding extra water and tomato sauce as needed for desired taste. Stew will be thick and soft when ready. Serve with crackers.
Check out Emily Wilder’s Green Kitchen blog at