Jan - Feb 2012

Hearty Soups and Stews for Less!

By Annessa Chumbley, RD LDN


It’s that time of year where a big pot of soup can be simmering on the stove all day long, calling your name and waiting patiently for your company. Soups are hearty, filling, and a great way to get in healthy vegetables and protein. They are also an awesome way to stretch out that protein dollar to feed the entire table of family and friends. Meat tends to be the most expensive item in the grocery - so it’s nice to find ways to save - especially when we’re feeding a crowd!


TVP Taco Soup uses the protein power of textured vegetable protein instead of beef. What is textured vegetable protein? It’s defatted, dehydrated soy flour - that comes dry, looking much like granola. It is a food that takes on the flavor of whatever it is in, because it has the power to absorb the flavors around it. This makes it easy to digest - which is good for those of us who have difficulty digesting ground beef. The added bonus is that textured vegetable protein is inexpensive! TVP Taco Soup is zesty, hearty, and no one will know they aren’t eating beef...so keep the secret to yourself!


Our second soup of the season is Creamy Tuscan Bean Soup. Did you know that to make a creamy soup you don’t need to use heavy whipping cream? Just use beans...and say no to other high-fat options. In this soup you simply puree some of the beans themselves, and then add them back to the soup, resulting in a high-fiber, high-protein velvety creaminess. Each spoonful is rich in antioxidants...and will keep you warm and healthy for pennies!

TVP Taco Soup

Serves: 18 - 20 (1/2 cup portions), 8 – 10 (1 cup portions)


1 medium sweet onion, chopped

1 can Mexican stewed tomatoes

1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 can petite diced tomatoes

14 oz. chicken broth

2 cans pinto beans, drained

1 can kidney beans, drained

1 packet Ranch seasoning

½ packet taco seasoning

8 oz. frozen corn kernels

1 cup textured vegetable protein

Method of Preparation

In a medium-sized Dutch oven (large pot) sprayed with cooking spray, sauté onion over medium heat until translucent. Add next nine ingredients. Let soup sit over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a simmer. Turn heat to low, add textured vegetable protein, cooking 5 more minutes. Serve steamy. If soup gets too thick, add extra chicken broth to thin out. Top with fresh cilantro if desired!

Nutritional Facts per 1/2 cup

Calories: 90, total fat: 1 grams, carbohydrate: 15 grams, fiber: 3.5 grams, protein: 5 grams.

Creamy Tuscan Bean Soup

Serves: about 16 (1/2 cup portions), 8 (1 cup portions)


1 onion, chopped

3 ribs celery, chopped

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 (16 ounce) cans white kidney beans (Cannellini beans), drained

2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

½ bag fresh spinach leaves (about 2 ½ oz.)

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Method of Preparation

Spray a large pot with non-stick cooking spray. Add onion, celery, and salt, cooking on medium-high heat for 5 to 8 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic, and cook for one minute, continually stirring. Stir in beans, chicken broth, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer for 10 minutes. With a ladle, remove 1 ½ cups of the bean and vegetable mixture from soup, and place in blender. Blend this mixture at a low speed, until smooth, (remove the center piece of the blender lid to allow steam to escape). Once blended, pour mixture back into pot and stir together. Bring to a simmer, occasionally stirring. Stir in spinach and cook 1 minute or until spinach is wilted. Stir in lemon juice and serve piping hot!

Nutritional Facts per ½ cup

Calories: 50, total fat: .5 grams, carbohydrates: 9 grams, fiber: 2 grams, protein: 4 grams