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Savory Soups to Simmer

Warm up a winter’s day with a steaming bowl

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

As the Campbell’s Soup company aptly put it, “Soup is good food.”

Brimming with flavorful vegetables, these recipes offer plenty of nutrition and are both economical and easy. Pair soup with a salad and perhaps some wholegrain bread or crackers and you have a healthful meal to warm up a wintery day.

Carol Barnett, cofounder of the Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute with husband, physician Ted Barnett, operates a monthly 15-day whole-food plant-based jumpstart program. As longtime vegans, the couple has been part of the Rochester Area Vegan Society and promote plant-based eating. She suggested a few veggie-laden soups.

“The evidence of a multitude of studies, establish that you can get all the nutrition you need from whole plant foods, which are full of healthy complex carbs, proteins and fats, as well as fiber, antioxidants and phytochemical found only in plants,” Barnett said. “The only supplement you need to take is vitamin B12, which everyone age 50 and older should do on any diet; and vitamin D in the Rochester climate.

“Homemade soup is one of the healthiest foods you can cook,” she added, “allowing you to include ingredients from the categories of beans, grains, and vegetables for a full and satisfying meal.”


Minestrone Soup from Carol Barnett


(reprinted with permission from The Peaceful Palate by Jennifer Raymond)


1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 28-ounces can of crushed tomatoes

6 cups water

2 carrots, diced

1 stalk celery, sliced

Carol Barnett, cofounder of the Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute.

½ head green or red cabbage, chopped (can substitute kale or other greens)

12 or more green beans, trimmed and sliced (optional)

1 can red or white beans, or equivalent cooked

½ teaspoon each basil and oregano

¼ teaspoon  each salt and pepper or more to taste

2 medium potatoes, scrubbed or peeled, and diced

½ cup ditalini or other small pasta


For this recipe, there is no need to separately sauté the onion and garlic. Simply add everything to the pot. For the beans, you can either use canned beans or cook from scratch. if you are making the dish well before dinner, add the diced potatoes close to the time of serving, about 20-30 minutes before; otherwise, if the potatoes cook too long, they will get mushy. For the same reason, add the pasta very late, about 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot.

Good served with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and garlic or onion powder.


Hearty Minestrone

Slow Cooker Style – Serves 8

Kelly Springer, registered dietitian, master’s-prepared health educator and owner of Kelly’s Choice in Skaneateles

Kelly Springer, registered dietitian, master’s-prepared health educator and owner of Kelly’s Choice in Skaneateles, shared a couple of recipes.

“These two soups are loaded with fiber, rich in protein, and filled to the brim with antioxidants,” Springer said. “Fiber can keep you full longer and is amazing for gut health. We can all use more plant-based proteins. You don’t need to be vegan, but by consuming more plants, you will reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and almost any chronic health condition.”

“This soup is loaded with nutrients and has an ample amount of protein and fiber,” Springer said. “Onions and garlic are natural antivirals. Carrots are loaded with immune-boasting vitamin A. Tomatoes have an incredible amount of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that research shows may improve brain and heart health.

“Most people don’t get nearly as much fiber as they should. A cup of this soup will give you over 30 grams of fiber from the beans and the pasta. Yes, the pasta! This soup uses chickpea pasta, which has 11 grams of fiber per serving as opposed to 2 grams of fiber in ordinary pasta.”

Hearty Minestrone Soup from Kelly Springer


1 large onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 large carrots, diced

3 stalks of celery, sliced

1 zucchini, sliced

2 14-ounce cans of low sodium diced tomatoes

1 14-ounce can of low sodium tomato sauce

1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, rinsed

1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

2 cups water

2 tablespoons pesto

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 ½ cups chickpea rotini


Mix all the ingredients, except the chickpea rotini into a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or low 7 to 8 hours. Add in the chickpea rotini 10 minutes before serving and turn the crockpot to high if you had it set to low. Let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.


Kelly Springer lentil soup

Carrot Lentil Coconut Stew

Slow Cooker – Serves 6

“This soup is so flavorful with health-boosting spices,” Springer said. “Turmeric is one of the most powerful spices on the planet. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and research has found that it may lessen pain, improve memory, and even fight depression. Fenugreek may help stable blood-sugar and lower cholesterol. Lentils contain the highest amount of protein originating from any plant. The amount of protein found in them is up to 35%, which is comparable to red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. Lentils are also filled with fiber.”


2 cups of dry red lentils

1 cup of medium spiced salsa

1 teaspoon of vegetable oil

2 yellow onions, chopped.

3 large carrots, cut in half length-wise and thinly sliced

5 cloves of minced garlic

2 teaspoons of turmeric

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of fenugreek

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of lemon pepper

6 cups of vegetable stock

Korean Chili sauce:

1 can of light coconut milk

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Chopped cilantro and unsweetened shredded coconut for garnish


Rinse lentils and soak overnight in 5 cups of water. In a big soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring them until they are soft. Add the garlic, turmeric, fenugreek, salt and lemon pepper and stir for one minute. Add the salsa and bring to a boil. Stir in the lentils and vegetable stock. Transfer this mixture to a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or low for 8 to 10 hours. Stir in coconut milk and lemon, cook for 15 to 20 minutes on high. Add a couple of squirts of the Korean chili sauce. Mix well. Serve in soup bowls garnished with cilantro and coconut.


Writer Deborah Sergeant offers a family favorite: Tex-Mex vegetable soup. Spicy but not too hot, this soup is delicious served with corn tortilla chips.

Tex-Mex Vegetable Soup

Serves 6


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound 97% lean ground beef (if you use a fattier beef, you may need to drain it after cooking and

before adding vegetables)

½ red onion, minced

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Dash cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon parsley

Tex Mex Soup by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

14-oz. can diced tomatoes with juices

4 cups beef broth

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 large russet potato, peeled and diced

½ cup cooked yellow corn

Salt and pepper to taste

Shredded sharp cheddar cheese.


In large stock pot, add olive oil and cook beef over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook three minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients except corn, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low for 25 minutes. Add corn at the end of the cooking time and to taste, salt and pepper. Garnish each bowl with cheese.