Soup might sound like an odd thing to celebrate, but January is National Soup Month – which seems fitting for these chilly winter days. Soup is a wonderful way to incorporate lots of delicious vegetables, grains, and legumes into your diet. Leftover soup is also an easy meal to grab for lunches or a weeknight dinner. Here are two healthy and delicious soups to try this January.
Chicken & Rice Soup
This delicious soup is great any time, and it’s gentle enough on the tummy to serve if your family has a stomach bug.
- 6 ¼ cups low sodium chicken stock
- 2 small carrots, sliced thinly
- 1 celery stalk, finely diced
- 1 baby leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (or, ½ of a regular sized leek, or three green onions if leeks cannot be found)
- 4 oz fresh or frozen peas (defrost if frozen)
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 5 ½ oz cooked chicken, sliced
- 1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Put the stock in a large saucepan and add the carrots, celery, and leek. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the peas, rice, and chicken and continue cooking for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the chopped tarragon and parsley, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.
- Ladle into bowls and serve. Garnish with fresh parsley if you wanna get fancy!
Serves 4 – (Nutrition facts calculated with ¼ tsp salt and ½ tsp ground black pepper)
Beef & Vegetable Soup with Barley
This delicious and hearty soup is both delicious and filling, and the leftovers make a great lunch!
- 1/3 cup pearl barley (if you are sensitive to gluten, substitute with an equal amount of quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, or farro, cooked to package directions)
- 5 cups low sodium beef stock
- 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
- 8 oz lean sirloin or porterhouse steak
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 leek, shredded
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Place the pearl barley in a large saucepan. Pour over stock and add the Italian herbs. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer gently over low heat for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, trim any fat from the beef and cut into thin strips.
- Skim away any foam that has risen to the top of the stock with a ladle.
- Add the beef, carrot, leek , onion, and celery to the pan. Bring back to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 1 hour or until the vegetables and barley are just tender.
- Skim away any remaining foam. You can also blot the surface of the soup with paper towels to remove any fat that came from the beef.
- Ladle soup into bowls and serve with chopped parsley if desired.
Serves 4 – (Nutrition facts calculated with pearl barley, ¼ tsp salt, and ½ tsp ground black pepper)
Nutrition facts about the ingredients:
Carrots are a great source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1 (important for blood clotting and heart health), potassium, and antioxidants. They have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and support eye health.
Celery is a source of antioxidants, vitamin C, beta carotene, and is an anti-inflammatory. Celery is also 95% water and low on the glycemic index.
Leeks are high in manganese, which may promote thyroid health and reduce PMS symptoms. They also provide vitamin A, vitamin K1. Leeks are an allium, a family of vegetables that also includes garlic and onions. Eating alliums on a regular basis has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Peas are actually not a vegetable, but a legume, which means they’re related to chickpeas, lentils, beans and peanuts. Pease are another great source of vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Peas are also a good source of plant-based protein.
Tarragon is an herb that is related to sunflowers. Tarragon is low calorie, but high in flavor, making it a wonderful ingredient in many dishes. It also provides manganese, iron, and potassium for your body. Tarragon may also help the body regulate glucose better, and reduce insulin resistance in diabetic people. This has not been confirmed through human studies, but has been observed in animal studies.
Parsley is another herb, and was historically used in the Mediterranean region to treat chronic illnesses and ailments, and to freshen the breath. Parley is high in folate, vitamin A, Vitamin C and very high in Vitamin K – ½ cup of fresh chopped parsley provides 547% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin K.
Barley is a cereal grain that has a mild, nutty flavor and a chewy texture. Its high in fiber, so it’s filling and good for your digestive system. It also has a low glycemic index, so it’s a great choice for diabetics and those with blood sugar issues. However, Barley is not a gluten-free grain, and those with a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease should avoid it.