Protein- and fiber-filled soup recipes to bulk—and warm—you up.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD 1 / 11
There’s nothing better than warming up with a bowl of soup when the cooler weather comes in. Many store-bought soups, however, carry a hefty calorie tag with many unhealthy ingredients like heavy cream. But, you can make a soup that is filled with amazingly healthy ingredients that can help bulk you up, while keeping you lean and trim. With ingredients like whole grains, legumes, lean protein, and vegetables, these 10 soups have it all! Eat them on their own or pair with a sandwich or green salad. And take note of easy ways to reduce the sodium in some of the recipes below.
Vegetables, spices, and quinoa make this delicious soup a powerhouse. Quinoa is a unique grain (technically a seed), because it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs. It also provides many nutrients like thiamin, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, selenium, iron, and zinc. What more can you ask for in a grain?
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 onion, peeled and diced 3 stalks celery, diced, 2 carrots, diced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 small jalapeno, minced 1 teaspoon dried ground cumin 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano ¾ teaspoon yellow curry 1 large yellow potato, diced 4 cups low-sodium broth, chicken or vegetable 5 cups water 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained 1 zucchini, diced ½ lime, juiced Salt and pepper
Instructions: 1. Heat oil in soup pot. 2. Add onion, celery, and carrots, Cook 15 minutes until softened, but not browned. Add garlic and jalapeno, cook 1 minute. Stir in cumin, oregano and curry, cook 1 minute. Add potato, water, broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes until vegetables are just cooked through and quinoa uncurls. Add zucchini and cook 5 minutes. 3. Just before serving, stir in lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
It’s time to whip out your slow cooker (or go out and buy one!). These babies are super easy to use with minimal work and clean up. Toss all your ingredients in the slow cooker, press the on button, and go to work. When you come home, you have a delicious, high protein meal waiting for you. What could be better?
Skill level: Beginner Serves: 8 Start to Finish: 40 minutes, plus up to 8 hours in crockpot Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 25 minutes
Ingredients: 1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, shredded 1 can (28-oz.) diced tomatoes 1 can (4-oz.) chopped green chiles, drained 1 cup frozen corn, thawed or 1 cup quinoa, cooked 1 can (15-oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed 1 white onion, diced 1 bell pepper, diced 1 jalapeño pepper, diced and deseeded (keep seeds for more heat!) 2 cloves garlic, minced 3 cups low sodium chicken broth 1½ teaspoons ground cumin 1½ teaspoons chili powder ¼ teaspoons salt ¼ teaspoons black pepper Additional Optional Toppings: Avocado, Mexican cheese, tortilla strips
Instructions: 1. Place chicken breasts in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Flip chicken breasts and add enough water to cover them. Simmer for another 7-10 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken from pan and place on plate or cutting board. Once cooled, use two forks to shred the chicken breasts. 2. Place shredded chicken and all other ingredients together in crockpot. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours, stirring occasionally. 3. To make fresh tortilla strips, slice corn tortillas into thin strips. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place on baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle ground paprika on top and bake until crispy (about 10 minutes). Let cool and place on top of soup with a pinch of Mexican cheese and a few slices of fresh avocado if desired.
This feel-good soup gets its creaminess and boost of protein from whey protein powder and almond milk. Sweet potatoes and carrots also provide a tremendous amount of the antioxidant beta-carotene, which helps with bone, skin, and eye health.
Ingredients: 2 large sweet potatoes Olive oil Salt and pepper 3 medium carrots ½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (you can use regular) Cracked pepper, to taste 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon olive oil 5 tablespoons unflavored whey protein (optional, but makes it creamy) 2 cups unsweetened, plain almond milk Sour cream for garnish (optional)
Instructions: 1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 2. Scrub your sweet potatoes, rub a little olive oil on the outside, poke several holes in each one with a knife, and wrap in foil. Bake for 55-70 minutes (test every 5 minutes, if the knife goes through easily they're done). 3. Meanwhile, wash and peel the carrots, dice into pieces. Place into a small bowl and cover halfway with water. Steam in the microwave for 5-6 minutes, until tender. 4. Let the potatoes and the carrots cool to room temperature before blending. 5. In a blender (I used my Nutribullet), combine the sweet potatoes (without the peel), carrots, salt, cracked pepper, garlic powder, olive oil, whey protein and almond milk. Puree until smooth (I used the soup mode on my Nutribullet). 6. Top with sour cream, if desired.
This Asian-inspired soup is another one to toss right into the crock pot. You need just 10 minutes to prep, and the machine does all the work in the next four hours. Pair with fish and sautéed greens and you’ve got protein-packed meal.
Vegetable soup is healthy on its own. To jack up the protein and fiber, add beans and then it’s even better for you. If you’re worried about the sodium choose low sodium versions of broth and beans. If you can’t find a low sodium version of the beans, rinsing them can reduce the sodium by 40-percent.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons butter 3 carrots, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 1 onion, chopped 2 red skin potatoes, chopped 2 parsnips, chopped 2 quarter vegetable broth 1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste 1 dried bay leaf ½ teaspoon dried thyme 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 small bunch lacinato kale, chopped 1 (15-oz.) can great Northern beans, drained and rinsed 1 tablespoon dried parsley Salt and ground black pepper to taste Shredded parmesan cheese for serving
Instructions: 1. In a large stock pot, melt the butter. 2. Add 1 of the chopped carrots, 1 stalk chopped celery, and the onion. Stir and cook for 5-7 minutes or until onion is translucent. 3. Add the rest of the carrots and celery, potatoes, and parsnips. Stir to coat in butter. Let cook for 5 minutes. 4. Add the broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and continue to stir every 5 minutes or so. Simmer soup for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. 5. Stir in garlic, kale, beans, and parsley. Season with salt and black pepper. Simmer another 5-7 minutes. 6. Serve hot with shredded parmesan cheese.
Nutrition Information (per about 1 cup serving) Calories: 382; Total Fat: 6 grams; Saturated Fat: 3.3 grams; Protein: 14.8 grams: Carbohydrates: 72 grams; Sugar: 18 grams; Fiber: 15 grams; Cholesterol: 13 milligrams; Sodium: 975 milligrams
Canned goods can be a huge time saver, and still be perfectly healthy for you. It’s really all about reading the label and choosing the varieties that have no added sodium, or are low sodium. Using a bit of whole wheat pasta helps you meet the USDA’s recommendation to make half your daily grains whole.
Ingredients: 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil 1 cup onion, chopped 2 stalks celery, diced 2 carrots, diced 2 cups mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/3 pound green beans, rinsed, trimmed and cut into 1-to-2 inch pieces (about1 1/2 cups) 1 (15.5-ounce) can low-sodium garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed 1 (15-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes 1 (32-ounce) box of low sodium chicken broth (can sub. vegetable broth) 1/2 cup whole-wheat medium shell pasta 1 teaspoon dried basil ¼ teaspoon garlic powder ¼ teaspoon thyme ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed in the palm of your hand ½ teaspoon whole dried oregano, smashed between the palms of your hands Salt and pepper, to taste 2-3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Instructions: 1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrots. Stir and heat vegetables until softened, about 5 minutes. 2. Add mushrooms, garlic and green beans to the pot. Stir to combine with other vegetables and heat until softened, about 3 minutes. 3. Add remaining ingredients, except for Parmesan cheese. Bring soup to a boil. 4. Lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. 5. Ladle soup into bowls and top with approximately one teaspoon of grated cheese
Yes, chowder can be healthy! To get the creaminess of chowder, only a ½ cup of half-and-half is used. It’s just enough to enhance the mouthfeel without getting out of control on calories and artery-clogging saturated fat. Pureed cauliflower compliments the half-and-half, giving this soup an incredible richness you’ll love.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup shredded carrot 1 celery stalk, chopped 1 onion, chopped 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped finely 1 bell pepper, chopped (use yellow or the soup will have a green tint!) 4 cups low-sodium seafood stock OR 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth 1 (8-ounce) bottle low-sodium clam juice (I like Crown Prince) 1 bay leaf 2 teaspoons garlic powder 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 (10-12 ounce) bag of small shrimp, peeled and deveined 1/2 cup half-and-half
Instructions: 1. Spray a Dutch oven pot (or large pot) with non-stick cooking spray. 2. Place first 10 ingredients in a Dutch oven pot (or large pot). 3. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes then remove from heat. 4. Remove bay leaf. 5. Place 1/2 soup in blender. Blend until smooth. 6. Return blended portion to pot. Return to low heat. 7. Add shrimp and half and half to pot. Stir. 8. Cook 5 minutes at low OR when shrimp is no longer opaque. 9. Remove from heat and serve!
Lentils are an underappreciated legume packed with soluble fiber, shown to help lower cholesterol. They’re also brimming with protein and complex carbs to help keep you satisfied for longer. One cup of cooked lentils also contains 37-percent of your recommended daily amount of iron and is an excellent source of numerous energy boosting B-vitamins.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small onion or ½ large onion, diced 3 carrots, chopped 3 celery, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 1 cup red lentils 4½ cups vegetable broth 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 lemon, zest and juiced ⅓ cup chopped parsley
Instructions: 1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. 2. Add the onion, carrots, celery and a pinch of salt and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. 3. Add the garlic clove, and stir quickly. 4. Add in the lentils, vegetable broth and dried thyme. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. 5. Cover, stirring often until lentils are cooked and thickened. 6. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, zest and parsley.
Nutrition Information (per cup serving) Calories: 275; Total Fat: 5.6 grams; Saturated Fat: 1 gram; Protein: 18.7 grams: Carbohydrates: 37.3 grams; Sugar: 5 grams; Fiber: 16.7 grams
A warming soup doesn’t need to take hours to make. This bowl of tomato deliciousness is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and lycopene. Pair it with a grilled chicken or turkey sandwich, or add leftover grains and cooked chicken to it in order to up the fiber and protein.
Instructions: 1. Combine marinara sauce and stock in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in the top. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. 2. Remove from microwave and stir in heavy cream.
Instructions: 1. Combine all ingredients, except rice noodles, in a large stockpot and stir to incorporate curry paste and other ingredients. Cover with lid and bring soup to a boil over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes, or until heated through, stirring occasionally. 2. While soup is cooking, prepare rice noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles, then add to individual soup bowls and pour soup over the noodles. Top with green onion, serrano pepper, cilantro and sriracha if desired.