Celebrating Super Soups

Liz Weiss

Liz Weiss, MS, RDN
Co-founder of MealMakeoverMoms.com, co-host of Cooking with the Moms radio, and host of Meal Makeovers on YouTube

January is National Soup Month! During the cold winter months, there is nothing more comforting than a nourishing bowl of steaming homemade soup. Making soup is an easy, inexpensive way to create a healthy meal in a hurry, particularly when you rely on canned ingredients. Low-sodium canned broths/stocks can provide the canvass for an endless variety of delicious creations that incorporate canned seafood, vegetables, beans and more.

Soup recipes are easy to come by, so I like to experiment using different ingredients from my pantry. One of my favorites is Peanut Butter & Chickpea Soup, which combines canned tomato sauce, chickpeas and vegetable broth with peanut butter and farro for a delicious, vegetarian soup filled with fiber and protein. Give it a try, or peruse any cooking magazine, search online recipe sites or watch your favorite chef on TV or YouTube (including my new channel, Meal Makeovers) for inspiration. You can also tune into Cooking with the Moms radio where I dish about hearty winter soups on a recent episode.

Looking to cut corners on time but not nutrition? Follow these simple swaps to easily convert a recipe that relies on fresh or dried ingredients to one that takes advantage of the time-savings afforded by canned ingredients:

  • ½ cup dried beans (before cooking) = a 15 ounce can of beans
  • 1 lb of whole, fresh tomatoes = a 14.5-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • A 3 lb fresh pumpkin = a 15-ounce can of pumpkin
  • 8 lbs of clams in the shell = two 10-ounce cans of baby clams + 6 cups of bottled clam juice

The great thing about making homemade soup is that it allows for lots of improvisation! Start with a basic broth or stock and add as little or as many vegetables, beans and other proteins as you like. Season to taste and perhaps finish with a grating of fresh cheese, herbs, and/or light sour cream and you’ve got yourself a meal.