6 Protein Packed Soups

Have some extra time on your hands? Start prepping these soups and freeze them for the next unseasonably cold day. They'll be a welcome change in your summer diet.

bowl of soup

Soups are versatile, easy to prepare, and are a great food to start making now and then freeze until colder weather arrives. These are some of our favorite recipes because they supply muscle-building protein and many other nutrients that active women need, and most of them double as entrées and side dishes.

Veggie Stoup

If your diet is short on vegetables, whip up a batch of this “stoup,” whose satisfying consistency falls somewhere between soup and stew. The vegetables, including beans, pack in the potassium, a mineral that experts say we fall short on. Potassium is especially important for normal muscle contraction, communication between nerve cells, and normal fluid balance, among other functions. One serving of veggie stoup provides nearly 25% of your daily potassium needs and supplies about a third of your fiber requirements, too. The fiber that occurs naturally in foods may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type-2 diabetes. Fiber also provides feelings of fullness, which may help with weight control.

Makes 6 servings


• 2 tbsp olive oil

• 1/2 cup diced carrots

• 3 stalks celery, diced

• 2 medium onions, peeled and diced

• 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

• 4 cups chopped zucchini

• 1 cup eggplant, peeled and chopped

• 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth or stock

• 28 oz can no-salt-added whole tomatoes, undrained

• 10 oz package fresh spinach, washed, with stems removed, chopped

• 16 oz can cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed

• 2 tsp dried parsley

• 1 tsp dried thyme

• 1 tsp dried rosemary

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1/ In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium- high heat. add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Cook vegetable mixture until the onions are translucent.

2/ Add zucchini and eggplant and cook for five to seven minutes.

3/ Add broth and continue to cook for another five minutes.

4/ Add tomatoes (and their juice), spinach, and beans. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Season with the parsley, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper, if desired.


• Calories: 190

• Protein: 9g

• Carbs: 29g

• Fat: 5g

• Fiber: 8g

Turkey Chili

● Chili is a go-to meal when you’re tight on time. This dish is ready in about 20 minutes, so it makes perfect weeknight fare. It’s simple and nearly a meal in itself, thanks to all the protein, fiber, and vegetables it packs. Beans are responsible for much of the fiber, protein, and iron, necessary to keep energy levels high. Canned beans offer convenience, but choose reduced-sodium varieties and rinse them to keep sodium content low. Feel free to turn up the heat with diced jalapeño, more cumin, dried oregano, or all of the above. You can also swap in lean ground beef for the turkey, or go meatless by using a third can of beans.

Makes 6 servings


• 3 tbsp olive or canola oil, divided

• 1 lb ground 100% turkey breast, meat only

• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and diced

• 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

• 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped

• 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

• 16 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

• 28 oz diced tomatoes, undrained

• 1/2 tsp ground cumin


1/ Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey to the pan. Brown the meat, breaking it up into very small pieces as it cooks.

2/ Remove meat from the pan, and season with salt and ground black pepper, if desired; reserve.

3/ Return pan to the stove. Add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil to pan and heat over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, and pepper and cook until soft.

4/ Add meat back to the pan, and stir in beans, tomatoes, and cumin. Heat to boiling, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

PER SERVING                 

• Calories: 267

• Protein: 27g

• Carbs: 29g

• Fat: 6g

• Fiber: 9g

Salmon Chowder

● On average, adults eat about 3½ ounces of seafood a week, a far cry from the usda’s suggested minimum of eight ounces weekly to help protect against the risk of heart disease. This chowder helps you include more heart-healthy omega-3 fats, which also play a role in soothing inflamed muscles and joints. Salmon also harbors high levels of vitamin d. in addition to possibly improving immunity and guarding against breast and ovarian cancers, vitamin d helps calcium keep bones strong. Makes 6 servings


• 2 tbsp trans-fat-free tub margarine

• ¼ cup diced celery

• 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped

• 4 cloves garlic, minced

• 3 medium red bliss potatoes, skin on, diced

• 1 cup 2% reduced-fat evaporated milk

• 6 oz cooked skinless, boneless salmon or canned salmon

• 1 tbsp dried dillweed

• Salt and pepper, to taste


1/ Melt margarine in a medium saucepan.

2/ Sauté celery, onion, and garlic until softened.

3/ Add potatoes and milk. Cover and simmer on low, stirring every few minutes or so, until potatoes are tender.

4/ Add salmon and parsley and stir. Serve warm.


• Calories: 226

• Protein: 12g

• Carbs: 26g

• Fat: 9g

• Fiber: 9g

Slow Cooker Middle Eastern Stew

● There’s nothing like having this dish ready to eat at the end of a long day. It’s full of flavor and good for you, too. Ground spices turn this hearty stew into a nutritional powerhouse. Cinnamon provides more antioxidants than fresh blueberries, and ground ginger and cumin contribute cell-protecting qualities. California raisins also lend antioxidant power and provide natural sweetness, fiber, and potassium, with nearly no sodium. Dark chicken meat supplies more iron than white meat, and it costs less, too.

Makes 6 servings


• ¼ cup olive oil

• 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed

• 1 eggplant, peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes

• 3 onions, peeled and thinly sliced

• 4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

• ¼ cup dried apricots, chopped

• ¼ cup California raisins

• 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

• 2 tbsp tomato paste

• 2 tbsp lemon juice

• 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

• 1½ tsp ground cumin

• 1½ tsp ground ginger

• 1½ tsp ground cinnamon

• 1 cup water


1/ in a large, heavy skillet, heat half the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken to the pan and brown on all sides. Do not cook all the way through. Repeat with remaining oil and chicken.

2/ Put browned chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker. Top with eggplant, onions, carrots, garlic, apricots, and raisins.

3/ In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.

4/ Pour mixture into the slow cooker. Cook on high for about five hours.


• Calories: 331

• Protein: 16g

• Carbs: 21g

• Fat: 21g

• Fiber: 5g

Cream of Asparagus Soup

● Asparagus is a treasure trove of vitamin k, which your body needs to bolster bone strength and regulate blood clotting. The carotenoids found in asparagus make for its pretty green hue and double as anti-inflammatory compounds. Asparagus can also claim high levels of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that guards against cell damage from intense exercise and everyday living. Don’t let the name fool you: this is a vegetarian dish. The soup’s creamy consistency is achieved by blending the ingredients, and no cream is required.

Makes 4 servings


• 2 tsp olive oil

• ½ medium onion, chopped

• 3 cups no-salt-added vegetable stock or broth

• 1 bunch (about 1 lb) fresh, raw asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 2-inch pieces (about 3 cups chopped)


1/ In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. add onion and sauté for about two to three minutes.

2/ Add stock and asparagus to pan. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until asparagus are tender.

3/ Remove from heat. Purée until smooth.


• Calories: 74

• Protein: 6g

• Carbs: 7g

• Fat: 3g

• Fiber: 3g

Mushroom and Egg Drop Soup

● They’re pale in comparison, but mushrooms have as many valuable nutrients, including selenium and antioxidants, as brightly colored vegetables. Mushrooms are the only fresh fruit or vegetable with vitamin d. shiitake mushrooms add a meaty flavor and texture to this egg drop soup, but you can use white button mushrooms instead. Eggs provide a protein punch, and fortified varieties, such as eggland’s best, offer twice the d, 10 times the E, and double the omega-3 fats of regular eggs.

Makes 3 servings


• 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

• 1 cup baby spinach, washed

1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1/2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce

• 2 eggs, lightly beaten


1/ Bring broth to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat.

2/ Add green onions, spinach, mushrooms, and soy sauce. Simmer for four to five minutes.

3/ Gradually add eggs in a slow and steady stream, stirring soup with a fork to create shreds or ribbons. Cook until eggs are set, about one minute.

4/ Serve immediately.


• Calories: 91

• Protein: 10g

• Carbs: 4g

• Fat: 5g

• Fiber: 5g

Photography by Moya McAllister