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Heart-Healthy Soups to Keep Body and Soul in Tune

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A home-cooked bowl of heart-healthy soup is a wonderful thing. It fills you up without overstuffing you. It’s typically low in fat and high in fiber. And because the broth stays in, soup preserves the vitamins and minerals that can disappear when you boil or steam food on its own.

Plus, it smells and tastes fantastic—not only on the day you make it, but every time you heat it up again.

Try the delicious ideas below, or seek out the healthy soups that sound good to you. And because cooking is more fun with some sweet tunes, we’ve included a few music suggestions to accompany you.

Amazon Bean Soup with Winter Squash and Greens

This North American twist on a Brazilian soup is a medley of colors and flavors, low in fat and cholesterol. It’s gluten-free, but rich in fiber and protein. A perfect soup to prepare while unwinding with a playlist of your favorite sambas.

Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

The leeks and nutmeg in this soup bring the bright, sweet flavors of the butternut squash and carrot beautifully into focus. Fresh tarragon may not always be easy to come by, but don’t let the want of one garnish stop you from enjoying this low-fat, low-sodium soup whenever the mood strikes. Prepare while listening to some combo of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and/or Young to remind you that lacking one or two great ingredients doesn’t always mean calling off the party.

Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

Duration: 50 min.

Yield: 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups peeled, diced butternut squash (about 1 small squash)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots (4 medium carrots)
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup regular or fat-free half-and-half or light cream
  • Fresh tarragon leaves (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat melt butter or margarine. Add squash, carrots, and leeks or onion to pan. Cook , covered, for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes or until vegetables are very tender.
  2. Place one-third of the squash mixture in a food processor bowl or blender container. Cover; process or blend until almost smooth. Repeat with remaining mixture. Return mixture to saucepan. Add white pepper and nutmeg. Bring just to boiling. Add half-and-half or light cream; heat through. Ladle into soup bowls. If desired, garnish with fresh tarragon.

Chicken and Quinoa Soup

This high-protein, low-fat soup is inspired by Cajun cooking, so adjust the heat to your palate by adding less (or more) of the Cajun seasoning. The chicken and the spice make it a great soup for those battling cold and sinus symptoms, too. Bonus points (and bonus sweat) for dancing to a little Clifton Chenier while stirring up this spicy soup.

Chicken and Quinoa Soup

Duration: 35 min.

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cups roughly chopped carrots
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, plus more for topping
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 quart fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (white meat only), skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots and Cajun seasoning and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly soft, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in the quinoa, then add the chicken broth, 3 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Partially cover and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until the quinoa starts to soften, about 12 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook, uncovered, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and stir to warm through. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with the sour cream and Cajun seasoning to taste.

Leek and Pea Soup

This low-fat, high-protein leek and pea soup is great hot or cold, which means you can enjoy it in any season, but its bright green color and flavor are especially welcome when the weather is gray and cold. Speaking of green, we suggest creating your own green-themed mix to listen to while preparing this soup. Does Green Day pair well with The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society? Only one way to find out.

Leek and Pea Soup

Duration: 25 min.

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, inside leaves rinsed thoroughly to remove sand, and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, if desired
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions:

  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, add leeks and cook for about three minutes. Add peas and cook for two minutes. Remove from heat and drain leeks and peas in a colander with very small holes.
  2. Add leeks and peas and all other ingredients to a blender and, with the top on tightly and a kitchen towel placed between your hand and the top of the blender, push down lightly on the top of the blender (to avoid the hot contents from exploding out) and whizz until smooth.
  3. Serve warm with crostini on the side, or pour into a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature on the counter. Cover with aluminum foil and chill in the refrigerator for two hours before serving.

Lemony Lentil Soup

Lemon and lentils give this nutrient- and fiber-rich soup its oomph. Kale and garlic give it an extra-healthy kick. While we’re tempted to team this lemony soup with author Lemony Snicket’s band, The Gothic Archies, the truth is, this soup has more of a Supremes sort of flavor.

Lemony Lentil Soup

Duration: 45 min.

Yield: 12 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 16 oz green lentils
  • 12 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 cups kale leaves
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a 6-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until softened and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add the carrot, celery and garlic and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 12 cups of the broth, the lentils, basil, thyme and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the kale, and cook until the lentils are tender, 30 to 35 minutes, adding more broth if necessary.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Serve.

When it comes to soup and music, we find it’s best to follow your heart.

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