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Grab a spoon! January is National Soup Month

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

These soups will bowl you over!

Do you think it's a coincidence that National Soup Month is in January, after our major food-eating holidays are over? Probably not!
Woman making soup

There are many benefits to adding soup to your meal menus, one of which is the fact that it's a great dish to warm you during the cold months. Check out a few more:

Quick and easy

Generally, most soup recipes are fairly easy to put together. Doesn't that sound great after all the holiday meal-prep you just went through? Perfect for people with packed schedules, soup can make a hearty meal in no time.

Weight-watching wonder dish

If you're watching your weight and wondering what to eat that isn't the same old, same old, give soup (and we're not talking boring broth) a try! Soup can make you feel full and satisfied, which can help keep hunger (and overeating) at bay. As long as you're careful not to add ingredients that are high in fat and calories, you're heading down the right path. Experiment with herbs and spices to give your soup recipes added interest and flavor.

Nutritional bounty in a bowl

Trying to pack in your daily veggie portions? It might seem like a tough task to fill up with the recommended daily dose of vegetables, but adding them to soup makes it a whole lot easier! Since most vegetables are naturally low in fat, calories and cholesterol and high in fiber (and lots of other good things), adding them to a low-fat soup is a great way to enjoy a satisfying and healthy meal.

Try out some of these soup recipes. They're hearty, warming and delicious, which makes winter a bit easier to handle!

Pasta shell and spinach minestrone soup recipe

This is a take on a traditional, tasty Italian soup and it's loaded with protein from the beans and veggies. Serve this soup with crunchy bread for a tasty meal.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (11.5 ounce) can vegetable juice
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1-1/2 cups loose-pack frozen Italian-blend mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, cut into strips
  • 1 cup uncooked shell pasta
  • Finely shredded Parmesan cheese to garnish

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain well.
  2. Meanwhile add the broth, beans, stewed tomatoes, vegetable juice, tomato paste, sugar and Italian seasoning into a large soup pan and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the frozen mixed vegetables and bring the mixture back to a boil. When the mixture boils, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. To the mixture, add the pasta and spinach. Allow the soup to simmer again.
  5. Serve the soup in individual bowls and garnish with the Parmesan cheese.

Classic French onion soup recipe

Say "oui" to this yummy soup! This restaurant-staple soup recipe is nice served with a green salad and is really easy to make at home.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium-sized yellow onions, sliced
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cans beef broth plus one can water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2-3 tablespoons brandy
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A loaf of crusty, hearty bread cut into cubes
  • 2 cups grated cheese (Swiss, provolone and Gruyere work the best)

Directions:

  1. Use a large skillet and add the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté them for about 10 minutes, or until they're translucent.
  2. In a separate pan, combine the broth and water and bring to a boil.
  3. To the onion mixture, add the flour and nutmeg. Combine well and reduce the heat. Watch carefully so you don't burn the flour.
  4. Next add the wine and brandy to the onion mixture. Boil until the liquid is evaporated.
  5. Add the boiling broth, cover and allow it to simmer for approximately 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Toast the bread cubes and grate your cheese.
  7. Line oven-safe soup bowls with the toasted bread and add the soup. Sprinkle the cheese on top of each bowl. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and brown.

Wild rice and chicken soup recipe

Chicken soup seems to cure just about everything from hunger to a cold! Break out your bowl anytime for this delicious soup recipe.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 (6.2 ounce) package quick-cooking plain long grain and wild rice mix
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (9 ounce) package frozen chopped cooked chicken breast
  • 1 cup finely chopped zucchini
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Madeira wine

Directions:

  1. Cook the rice according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, add the broth and garlic to a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the tomatoes, chicken, zucchini, pepper and fresh thyme. Stir the ingredients well and return the mix to a boil.
  3. Cover the mixture and allow it to cook for a bit longer (about five to seven minutes), and then add the rice to the mixture.
  4. Stir the soup well and add the Madeira wine. Serve immediately.

Corn, cheddar and potato soup recipe

A little on the decadent side, this soup is nice to serve when company comes for dinner. Use either fresh or frozen corn as part of this creamy, hearty soup recipe.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 2 (11 ounce) cans yellow-and-white whole kernel corn (use fresh corn if available)
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 4 cups low-fat vegetable broth
  • 4 cups potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the olive oil into a soup pot over medium heat. Once simmering, add the onions, corn and celery and sauté over medium heat for three minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, potatoes, green onions and a few pinches of salt and pepper to taste, and then bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup for 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and the half and half and then gently heat the mixture until the cheese has completely melted. Serve hot.

Smooth and creamy tomato soup recipe

Got grilled cheese? This soup recipe is the perfect partner to an easy, yummy sandwich!

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 fresh sprigs basil
  • 4 fresh sprigs parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil for garnish

Directions:

  1. Use a large sauté pan and melt the butter over low heat. Add the onion and cook for five minutes (until soft), stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, basil and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes (until the tomatoes have cooked down and most of the liquid is evaporated).
  2. Increase the heat to medium, add the vegetable stock and bring to boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Remove soup from heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove and throw out the herbs and add the ketchup to the soup and stir.
  4. Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender (in small batches) and puree. If you see tomato seeds, pass the puree through a strainer.
  5. Return the soup to a clean pan and reheat. Add the cream, stir and heat for one to two more minutes (over low heat), until the soup is hot. Season and serve in individual bowls. Add the basil as garnish.

Soup is the perfect meal when you're looking for something easy, filling, warming and yes, delicious! Grab a spoon and sit down with soup!

Watch: How to make soup from leftovers

Turn mealtime odds and ends into a hearty — and tasty — soup.

More SheKnows soups to try

Rustic reduced-fat potato soup
Butternut squash soup with carrots and potatoes
Gluten-free beefy bean soup
Vegetable stock recipe

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