Souped up: 6 delicious healthy soup recipes with calorie counts

Healthy soup recipes, two ways. Serve them plain and simple or double the gorgeousness with a bonus boost of flavour and nutrition. They’re calorie counted, too.

Butternut, red pepper and chilli soup

healthy soup recipes
Chris Alack

SERVES 6

900g butternut squash
500g red peppers
50g unsalted butter
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 heaped tsp finely chopped medium-hot red chilli
900ml vegetable stock
sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1. Peel, deseed and roughly chop the squash. Roughly chop the peppers, discarding the core and seeds. Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat, add the squash, peppers, onion, garlic and chilli and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until glossy.

2. Add the stock and plenty of seasoning, pressing the squash and peppers down to submerge them, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until they are tender.

3. Liquidise the soup in batches in a blender with the balsamic vinegar, then pass it through a sieve into a clean pan.

BOOST YOUR BOWL Trim and finely slice or shred 2 spring onions. Combine 100g sour cream with 100g young goat’s cheese in a medium bowl. Season with a squeeze of lemon juice and a little salt. Serve the soup with the goat’s cheese dolloped over, a few slivers of spring onion and 1 tablespoon of salad sprouts per bowl.

SOUP
161 cals per serving
BOOST
97 cals per serving

Beetroot and red onion soup with chard

healthy soup recipes
Chris Alack

SERVES 4
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions, peeled, halved and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
500g beetroot, trimmed, peeled and coarsely grated
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
750ml vegetable stock
sea salt and black pepper
150g young rainbow chard or swiss chard

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and fry the onion for about 7 minutes, adding the garlic a couple of minutes before the end. Add the beetroot and fry for about 3 minutes longer, then add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a minute. Add the stock and some seasoning, bring to the boil, cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes. Purée the soup in batches in a blender until smooth and return to a clean pan.

2. Meanwhile, cut the chard leaves off the stalks, slice the stalks about 1cm thick and thinly slice and chop the leaves. Add all chard to the pan, cover and cook for another 7 minutes.

BOOST YOUR BOWL Rinse 150g tinned chickpeas and pat them dry. Halve 150g cherry tomatoes (or leave them whole if small), toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry in a nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, turning halfway, until coloured and slightly softened. Stir in the chickpeas and gently heat through. Remove from the heat, drizzle over 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and season. Ladle the soup into bowls, spoon the chickpea mixture in the centre and scatter with some chopped coriander and extra chard for decoration if wished.

SOUP
196 cals per serving
BOOST
59 cals per serving

Mushroom super soup

healthy soup recipes
Chris Alack

SERVES 4

15g dried porcini
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
600g chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
3 banana shallots, peeled, halved and sliced
1 celery heart, trimmed and sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
150ml medium sherry
800ml vegetable stock
sea salt and black pepper

1. Cover the porcini with 150ml boiling water in a small bowl and leave to soak for
15 minutes. Drain and chop the soaked porcini and add the soaking liquor to the stock, discarding the last little bit if it is gritty.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, add half the chestnut mushrooms and fry for a few minutes until lightly coloured, stirring frequently. Remove to a bowl and cook the remainder in the same fashion. Heat another tablespoon of oil in a large pan over a medium heat and fry the shallots and celery for 5-8 minutes until relaxed and starting to colour, stirring frequently and adding the garlic 1-2 minutes before the end. Add the sherry and simmer until well reduced and syrupy.

3. Add the chestnut mushrooms and porcini to the pan, with the stock and some seasoning, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Purée the soup in batches in a blender. Return to a clean pan or transfer to a bowl, check the seasoning and rewarm as necessary.

BOOST YOUR BOWL Dice the flesh of 1 avocado and toss with a squeeze of lemon and some salt. Prepare 2 heaped tablespoons of coarsely chopped hazelnuts or cashews. Ladle the soup into bowls and swirl 1 heaped teaspoon of sour cream through each one. Drop a sprinkling of rocket in the centre, with the avocado on top and then a scattering of the nuts.

SOUP
198 cals per serving
BOOST
173 cals per serving

Very green parsley soup with leeks and lemon

healthy soup recipes
Chris Alack

SERVES 6

50g coconut oil
600g (trimmed weight) leeks, sliced
200ml white wine
900ml vegetable stock
sea salt and black pepper
100g flat-leaf parsley (leaves and very fine stalks only)
finely grated zest of 1 lemon plus 1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over a medium-low heat and fry the leeks for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until glossy and softened, without allowing them to colour. Add the wine and simmer until well reduced.

2. Add the stock and some seasoning, bring to the boil, cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes until the leeks are tender. Stir in the parsley, submerging it beneath the liquid and simmer for 1 minute longer. Purée the soup with the lemon zest and juice in batches in a blender until smooth. Return to a clean pan or transfer to a bowl and reheat as necessary.

BOOST YOUR BOWLPrepare 2 hard-boiled medium eggs. Finely chop the whites and press the yolks through a sieve. Prepare 3 tablespoons of finely chopped shallot or red onion. Have ready 2 heaped teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds. Soak and drain 15g dried sea vegetables (for example Clearspring Sea Vegetable Salad) according to the packet. Ladle the soup into bowls, add a few drops of coconut oil and divide the boost elements among them. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

SOUP
148 cals per serving
BOOST
49 cals per serving

Spinach and pistachio soup

healthy soup recipes
Chris Alack

SERVES 4

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 banana shallots, peeled, halved and sliced
1 celery heart, sliced
sea salt and black pepper
100g shelled pistachio nuts
500g spinach leaves
750ml vegetable stock
freshly grated nutmeg

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over a lowish heat, add the shallots and celery, season generously with salt and fry for about 5 minutes until softened and glossy, stirring occasionally. Add the pistachios and fry for 1-2 minutes longer. Add the spinach in two goes, stirring until each one wilts. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes. Whiz this to a creamy soup in a food processor with a little black pepper and nutmeg to taste. Return to the pan and reheat as necessary.

BOOST YOUR BOWL Crumble 80g feta. Core and very thinly slice 1 ripe pear. Ladle the soup into bowls, add some pear and scatter over the feta. Add a drop of oil and squeeze over a little lemon juice. Alternatively you could chop the pear and fry it briefly in the 2 tablespoons of oil before adding to the soup.

SOUP
254 cals per serving
BOOST
77 cals per serving

Cauliflower and dill soup

healthy soup recipes
Chris Alack

SERVES 4

30g unsalted butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
600g trimmed small cauliflower florets (about 1 medium cauliflower)
100ml white wine
sea salt and black or white pepper
1 heaped tbsp finely snipped dill

1. Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium-low heat, add the onion, cauliflower and wine and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it changes from a chalky to a translucent white, without colouring. Add 700ml water, plenty of salt and a little pepper, bring to the boil, cover and cook over a low heat for 15 minutes. Purée in a blender, and return to a clean pan to rewarm as necessary. Stir in the dill and season to taste.

BOOST YOUR BOWL Finely chop 40g walnuts. Ladle the soup into bowls. Dollop a heaped teaspoon of tzatziki on each one and divide the chopped walnuts among them. Dust with sumac and sprinkle over some extra dill.

Annie has a BSc in human nutrition