Something that both scientists and grandmothers can agree on. From helping you lose weight to warming you up from the inside out to boosting your immunity, soup is a winter staple that you shouldn’t be without.
#1 Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Soup
NUTRITION (per serving) 170 cal, 8 g pro, 23 g carb, 5 g fiber, 4.5 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 222 mg sodium
FIGHT THE FLU NATURALLY
Give your infection-fighting white blood cells a boost with selenium from mushrooms and vitamin A from spinach. (And toss any extras into these 5 quick and delicious mushroom recipes.)
Potatoes pack blood-pressure-lowering potassium and B vitamins that help your heart and brain.
PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR 10 MINUTES
1 tsp olive oil
3 slices bacon
8 oz mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2 leeks, white and pale green parts, cleaned and sliced
1/2 c dry white wine
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
2 c frozen peas
8 oz baby spinach
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 c 2% plain Greek-style yogurt
Lemon zest, for garnish
1. HEAT oil in large pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Crumble and set aside.
2. REMOVE all but 1 Tbsp bacon fat from pot. Return to heat and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
3. ADD potato and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil. Simmer until potato is very tender, about 15 minutes. Add peas and spinach and simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.
4. PUREE soup in blender, working in batches, until smooth. Return to pot and bring to a simmer. Add more water if too thick. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Makes 7 1/2 cups.) Ladle into bowls. Dollop evenly with yogurt and sprinkle with reserved bacon. Garnish with lemon zest and additional pepper.
#2 Immune-Boosting Soup
Your immune system needs a lot of minerals to function properly and the typical Western diet does not always hit the mark. Keep in mind that boiling can destroy half of the vitamins found in vegetables, so cook soup over a low heat.
Simmer these ingredients for 30 minutes to 1 hour: cabbage, carrots, fresh ginger, onion, oregano, shiitake mushrooms (if dried, they must be soaked first), the seaweed of your choice, and any type of squash in chicken or vegetable stock.
Cabbage can increase your body’s ability to fight infection, ginger supports healthy digestion, and seaweed cleanses the body. Shiitake mushrooms contain coumarin, polysaccharides and sterols, as well as vitamins and minerals that increase your immune function; the remaining ingredients promote general health and wellbeing. Eat this soup every other day to build a strong and healthy immune system.
#3 Wenshan Steampot Chicken Broth
1 whole chicken (about 3 pounds), cut into 2-inch pieces
4 long pieces dried Chinese yam slices (also known as dioscorea, shan yao, or huai shan), broken in half
2 tablespoons dried goji berries
4 teaspoons dried ginseng (whole pieces or slices)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1. In a 5- to 6-quart pot over medium-high heat, add the chicken, yam, goji berries, ginseng and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a bare simmer and cook for 2 hours.
2. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt until completely dissolved. Taste the broth, and add more salt, if necessary. Strain the soup through a cheese cloth-lined strainer and serve just the broth with some of the goji berries, yam slices, and ginseng floating in it. For a heartier soup, shred some of the chicken into the broth.
If using a traditional Yunnan steampot: Halve all the ingredients. Put the chicken, goji berries, yam, ginseng and three cups of water into the steampot and set it over a medium pot ½ full of water. Bring the water in the lower pot to a boil over high heat, turn the heat to low and allow the ingredients in the steampot to cook slowly for 2 hours. Check the water in the lower pot during cooking and add more if necessary.
Tibetan Bone Broth
This fragrant chicken broth comes from Yunnan province, in southwestern China. It is traditionally made in a red clay Yunnan steam pot, a cooking vessel that acts like a double boiler, cooking ingredients slowly with indirect heat, but also has a built-in funnel to let steam into the ingredients. The soup can also be made with a regular pot as long as you keep the heat low so that the soup simmers slowly. Goji berries, ginseng, and dried Chinese yam can be found online or at Asian supermarkets.
#4 RED LENTIL SOUP
1 medium ham hock
1 litre water
450g swede, peeled and cut into 6cm chunks
2 medium carrots, grated
225g red lentils, washed
Cover the ham hock with water in a large soup pan and boil for one hour. Add the swede, carrot and lentils and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the ham pieces and the swede. Keep them warm to eat as a main course, or put them in the refrigerator to use for another meal.
Let the soup cool slightly, then pour it into a blender and liquidise for about one minute, adding some more water if it is too thick. Reheat thoroughly before serving.
Helps with weight loss
• Lentils and other pulses are excellent for those wanting to lose weight because they are low in fat and cholesterol-free. Even better they have a low glycaemic index meaning they take longer to digest.
• According to Amina Govindji in her book Great Healthy Food, whole pulses - rather than mashed up ones such as hummus - can take several hours to digest because the body has to digest the skin and pulp. This process helps keep blood levels stable, allowing us to feel fuller for longer.
• Swedes are also low in calories making it an ideal food for people who are trying to lose weight. The good news is no matter how bulky your soup is, vegetables contain less than 100 calories per portion and are a slow release of energy. This helps to keep you full until your evening meal.
#5 Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup with Mozzarella Toasts
2 lb sm tomatoes (such as Campari) or plum tomatoes, halved
1 med onion, cut into eighths
1 head garlic (unpeeled), separated
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 c vegetable broth, heated
1/4 c chopped fresh basil + leaves for garnish
4 thin slices baguette, toasted
2 bocconcini (small balls of fresh mozzarella), sliced
1. HEAT oven to 375°F. Arrange tomatoes cut side up with onion in large shallow baking pan coated with olive oil spray. Coat vegetables with olive oil spray and season with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Wrap garlic in small piece of foil and place in a corner of pan.
2. ROAST in upper third of oven until tomato and onion are wilted and golden brown and garlic is very soft, about 55 minutes. Keep oven on.
3. REMOVE garlic from foil. Squeeze out of skin into food processor. Add tomatoes, onion, and tomato paste. Pulse until almost smooth.
4. TRANSFER to large saucepan and stir in 1 1/2 cups of the broth. Bring to a simmer, adding some of the remaining 1/2 cup broth to thin soup if necessary. Stir in chopped basil. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. (Makes 4 cups.)
5. TOP toasts with cheese. Bake on sheet pan until cheese begins to melt, 4 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls, top each with a cheese toast, and garnish with basil.
NUTRITION (per serving) 170 cal, 8 g pro, 28 g carb, 5 g fiber, 4 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 570 mg sodium
FEEL BETTER FASTER
The tomatoes in a serving of this soup provide nearly half of your daily vitamin C, a nutrient that may shorten a cold's duration.
BEAT WINTER BUGS
Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, revs your immune system and may help fight infection.
#6 VEGETABLE BROTH WITH POACHED EGG
1.5 litres or 55fl oz vegetable
2 large carrots, trimmed and
peeled if not organic, finely diced
1 small turnip, finely diced
1 large handful of whole fresh
herbs, such as sage, thyme,
rosemary, and bay leaves
4 organic eggs
8 whole sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
In a large saucepan, bring the stock to simmering point. Add the vegetables and herbs, and boil briskly until reduced by about
a quarter - usually fifteen minutes.
Strain out the herbs and vegetables, then pour the broth back into the pan.
Place the eggs - still in their shells - in the simmering stock for about twenty seconds (this holds the egg whites together). Crack the eggs and poach carefully in the stock until just set - about four minutes.
Serve the soup with the eggs floating on top and garnish
with the parsley leaves. You can make this soup several hours before serving.
Prepare to the stage at which the eggs have poached, remove them, and place in cold water in the fridge. When ready to serve, put them into the simmering stock for one minute and they'll warm up instantly.
• Eggs, the ultimate symbol of fertility, are an excellent source of zinc - one the most important minerals for female (as well as male) fertility. Yet according to a 1995 National Food Survey, nine out of 10 people are grossly deficient in this essential mineral.
• Eggs also contain vitamin B12 - a nutrient that helps to repair muscles, balance sex hormones, keep the nerves in good condition and release energy in the body, which will help keep your sexual appetite going for longer!