When the temperatures drop and the days get shorter, nothing hits the spot like a bowl of warm soup. Store-bought varieties are convenient, but they can be shockingly salty.
These lighter bowls cut back on the sodium and fat in many traditional soup recipes. Whether you're partial to chicken noodle, French onion, or split pea, we have a healthy soup recipe for you.
Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup
The ultimate comfort soup, chicken noodle may not cure that cold, but some research suggests it might counter inflammation. Either way, the hot liquid can loosen congestion and keep you hydrated. One study even suggested that "Grandma's penicillin" might help lower high blood pressure.
Ingredients: chicken, poultry seasoning, thyme, celery, egg noodles, carrot, green onions, parsley, chicken-flavored bouillon granules, pepper, bay leaf
Calories: 204 per 1 cup
Try this recipe: Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup
Photo: Jenna Weber
Split Pea Soup
Ingredients: green split peas, vegetable broth, yellow onions, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, carrots, eggs
Try this recipe: Split Pea Soup
Photo: Jenna Weber
Broccoli, Cheddar, and Potato Soup
Jenna Weber also developed this take on classic broccoli and cheese soup. Adding potato provides some energizing carbs and bulks up your bowl. Opt for low-sodium broth and low-fat milk and cheese (and skip the bacon) to further lighten this recipe.
Ingredients: butter, broccoli, russet potato, garlic, cayenne, dry mustard, salt, cheddar cheese, flour, milk, vegetable or chicken broth, bacon (optional)
Try this recipe: Broccoli, Cheddar, and Potato Soup
Photo: Yunhee Kim
Light French Onion Soup
Traditional French onion soup is often made with fatty, salty beef broth. This low-sodium version cuts back on butter but is still full of flavor thanks to a dash of soy sauce and onions, which also pack a hearty dose of vitamin C.
Ingredients: butter, olive oil, Spanish onions, salt, sugar, flour, dry sherry, reduced-sodium chicken stock, black pepper, reduced-sodium soy sauce, French baguette, Gruyère cheese
Calories: 307 per 1 3/4 cups soup and 2 toasts
Try this recipe: Light French Onion Soup
Black Bean Soup
Beans are a great source of fiber and protein, and bacon, lime juice, jalapeño peppers, and cilantro kick up the flavor. Opt for fat-free sour cream to cut back even more on fat and calories.
Ingredients: dried black beans, bacon, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, jalapeño pepper, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, salt, black pepper, sour cream
Calories: 215 per 1 cup
Try this recipe: Black Bean Soup
Just one cup of this hearty soup packs a whopping 29 grams of protein. Serve with your own homemade chips by cutting four corn tortillas into 1/4-inch strips and baking at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Ingredients: olive oil, chicken breast, onion, green bell pepper, garlic, cumin, chili powder, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, cilantro, tortilla chips, Mexican blend cheese, lime wedges
Calories: 296 per 1 cup
Try this recipe: Tortilla Soup
Golden Potato-Cauliflower Soup
Many traditional potato-soup recipes call for bacon and ham. This version ditches that added fat for fiber-rich cauliflower, which is packed with B-vitamin nutrients that may boost memory. For an additional healthy twist, try making this starchy soup with sweet potatoes. They add a boost of beta-carotene and vitamin A.
Ingredients: cumin, olive oil, French or Italian bread, shallots, celery, cauliflower, gold potato, chicken broth, salt, red pepper, lemon juice, chives (optional)
Calories: 171 per 1 1/2 cups
Try this recipe: Golden Potato-Cauliflower Soup
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup With Cheddar Croûte
Turn a basic box of tomato soup into a fast and fabulous meal by dressing it up with a cheesy toast topper and fresh basil, which is thought to be beneficial for problem skin and easing stress.
Ingredients: boxed tomato or tomato-herb soup, rye bread, cheddar cheese, sour cream, basil, black pepper
Calories: 173 per 1 cup soup and 1 cheese toast
Try this recipe: Creamy Tomato Basil Soup With Cheddar Croûte
This Vietnamese beef-noodle soup is low in fat and packed with iron, which keeps you energized and focused.
Ingredients: canola oil, ginger, onion, beef broth, star anise, cinnamon stick, fish sauce, sugar, black pepper, flank steak, dried flat rice noodles (banh pho), scallions, fresh mint, mung bean sprout, dried Thai chile
Calories: 339 per 1 cup broth plus garnishes
Try this recipe: Pho
Photo: Getty Images
Gingery Lentil Soup
This steamy bowl can easily be made vegetarian by swapping vegetable broth for chicken broth. Lentils are packed with protein and fiber, and also contain double the iron in other legumes. Ginger can help soothe sore muscles and may even calm problem skin.
Ingredients: olive oil, carrots, onion, ginger, garlic, curry powder, salt, pepper, chicken broth, water, lentils, tomatoes
Calories: 253 per 1 1/2 cups
Try this recipe: Gingery Lentil Soup
Photo: Getty Images
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Fall's best flavors come together in this low-calorie soup that's rich in antioxidants. Impress guests by serving it at your next celebration in roasted mini-pumpkin bowls.
Ingredients: butter, onion, garlic, Braeburn apple, butternut squash, sage, salt, pepper, nutmeg, chicken broth, evaporated milk, crème fraîche
Calories: 103 per 1/2 cup
Try this recipe: Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Photo: John Kernick
Not all soup has to be served hot! This refreshingly light summer soup packs several servings of antioxidant-rich veggies and some seriously savory flavors.
Ingredients: baguette slices, olive oil, garlic, water, red-wine vinegar, salt, pepper, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, red onion, lemon, Italian parsley
Calories: 102 per 1/2 cup
Try this recipe: Andalusian-Style Gazpacho