Soup Season is Here…Try These Hearty, Healthy and Tasty Vegetarian Soup Recipes to Warm You Up From The Inside

Dressed Chili or Soup with Condiments

Well, according to the thermostat it is soup season again! My husband has a funny idea about soups: he thinks they should be reserved for days when it is cold outside. This week it is cold outside! Unlike my husband, I enjoy soup year round regardless of the temperature. I have always loved making my own soups or adapting and experimenting with existing recipes. Aside from the health benefits of homemade and vegetarian soups, there is something decidedly comforting about a pot of soup on the stove.

Yesterday I was in the mood for something spicy so I made a pot of chili. This recipe (below) combines black beans, sweet potatoes and chili powder with dark chocolate, coffee and cinnamon to create an earthy, sweet, spicy and filling meal that made the house smell great! I intend to freeze the leftovers for what I hear are many cold days ahead…. It would make a great burrito filling as well.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili

This sweet, spicy, earthy and hearty chili is good for you and will warm you up!
Prep Time15 mins
Active Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Soups and Stews
Yield: 8

Materials

  • 3 large sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder I used Hershey's Special Dark 100% Cacao
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 15 oz cans black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes no salt added, undrained
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)

Instructions

  • Add olive oil to Dutch oven and sauté sweet potatoes and onion until crisp tender. Add the chili powder, garlic, cumin, cayenne, cocoa and cinnamon and cook one minute longer. Stir in the black beans, diced tomatoes, coffee, honey, salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30-35 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
  • Serve with preferred garnishes. Enjoy!
  • Optional garnishes include: dairy or vegan sour cream,plain greek yogurt, plain soy yogurt, chopped green onions, avocado. To make carnivore friendly simply add cooked chicken, beef or pork per preference at the point of service.
  • Nutrition Facts: 1 cup of chili with 1 tbsp of cheese provides: 252 calories, 4 grams fat, 39 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams fiber, 9 total sugars, 11 grams protein, 369 mg sodium

Be sure to take a look at some of my other soup recipes too, such as Summer Vegetable Soup, Autumn Harvest Soup, and Quinoa Black Bean Pumpkin Soup.

 

In case you are not in the mood for chili—but homemade soup still sounds good—I have rounded up some links to a variety of tasty vegetarian soup recipes!

A yummy and nutritious vegetable broth to use by itself or as the base of your homemade soup would be the Magic Mineral Broth.

What to look for in a canned or boxed soup?

As much as I enjoy making soup from scratch, I do live in the real world with my real family. Sometimes in our real world life gets in the way…. at least at my house. Healthy leftover frozen chili will come in handy on one of these days I am sure. But if your freezer is bare it is possible to find a healthy and tasty alternative in the soup aisle at the grocery store. Many canned soups are high in sodium and contain more artificial ingredients than real food. I DO like the “taste of taste” but think that it is best achieved with real food ingredients. You might think that products containing real foods are likely to cost more but a quick trip to my grocery store Harris Teeter revealed that prices are pretty similar.

Pacific Foods Soups are available at stores like Whole Foods and Earth Fare as well as increasing number of neighborhood grocers. They offer several tasty options including broths that could be a time saver for a homemade soup. The prices compare nicely to Campbell’s brands and similar but have higher quality ingredients. Of course, there are several quality and less than quality brands available but for comparison at my market, I chose to compare Pacific and Campbell’s offerings.

Pacific Soup offerings were available from 12-23 cents per ounce on the day I visited.

Pacific Organic Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup 17oz box.

Pacific Foods Vegetable Lentil and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

 

Campbell’s condensed, “Chunky”, and Slow Kettle soups vary in cost from 11-26 cents per ounce . For a comparison of ingredients, take a look at Campbell’s Vegetarian Vegetable:

Campbells Vegetarian Vegetable Soup

 

For my money, the Pacific soup ingredients sound more appetizing and sound like the ingredients you might out in the cart to make your own soup. They sound like real food!

There are several healthy and tasty options available as a stand-alone soup or as the start of something tasty!

Regardless of the brand you prefer, keep an eye out for lower sodium soup that contains simple and identifiable ingredients as well as lots of nutrient and fiber-rich veggies.

 

FYI

“Sodium-free” indicates that a product contains less than 5 milligrams (mg) sodium per serving.

“Very low-sodium” indicates that a product contains 35 mg sodium or less per serving.

“Low-sodium” indicates that a product contains 140 mg sodium or less per serving.

“Reduced sodium” or “less sodium” indicates that a product contains at least 25% less sodium than the standard version. Note: Some “reduced sodium” products are still very high in sodium, so you’ll need to check the actual sodium content on the Nutrition Facts Panel to see if it fits into your low-sodium diet. For example, “reduced sodium” canned soups, though considerably lower in salt than regular canned soups, can still contain almost 500 milligrams sodium per 1-cup serving.

“Light in sodium” indicates that the product contains at least 50% less sodium than the standard version. Note: Some “light in sodium” products are still very high in sodium, so you’ll need to check the actual sodium content on the Nutrition Facts Panel to see if it fits into your low-sodium diet. For example, “light” or “lite” soy sauce, though considerably lower in salt than regular soy sauce, still contains 500-600 mg sodium per tablespoon.

“Unsalted” or “no salt added” indicates that no sodium (salt) is added to the product during processing, but the product still contains the sodium that naturally occurs in the product’s ingredients.

If a product is labeled as “healthy”, it must contain no more than 480 mg sodium for an individual food item (like a snack food), or no more than 600 mg for a meal or main dish (like a frozen dinner).

Put on a pot of chili or soup and stay warm! It’s soup season after all….

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I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Greensboro, North Carolina. I help people overcome nutrition obstacles and help them meet their nutrition and wellness goals.

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Hi, I’m Mona. I have been living with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) for over ten years. As a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) I help others with MS to navigate the nutrition superhighway and make sustainable progress toward their unique wellness goals.

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