Making a big batch of a hearty soup or stew is one of my favorite things to do when the weather is cold and nasty. There is a NorEaster moving through NJ and staying in the warm house, with comfy clothes makes it the perfect time to be in the kitchen chopping veggies. The great thing about soup and stews is the leftovers. I don't know about you but I find the longer a soup or stew sits, the better the flavors.
Making soups and stews can be very healthy. You can make vegetarian options for a meatless Monday meal or a rich stew using a cheap cut of meat that becomes silky soft after cooking for hours. A crock pot is my favorite kitchen gadget for this type of dish. You can simply combine all the ingredients and let it cook away for hours, all on its own.
Key organic ingredients to use in soups and stews are potatoes, beans, spinach, kale, carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes and I love using broccoli in almost everything. Towards the end of cooking you can add in rice, quinoa, farro or pasta for further nutrition and heartiness. Organic ingredients add more nutrition to any dish since they are higher in nutrients compared to conventionally grown foods. Plus, they are free of pesticides that can interrupt your body's natural defense systems.
To make the broth, there are multiple combinations. You can buy organic chicken, vegetable or beef stock. There are also multiple bone broth options available. What is the difference between bone broth and stocks? The difference is in the ingredients used and the length of time it is cooked. According to Bon Appetit, stock is cooked 2 to 4 hours while bone broth is cooked from 6 to 18 hours depending on the type of broth being made. Also, bone broth will be naturally thicker since the collagen in the bones breaks down into the broth.
I found some really great soup and stew recipes to share with you. A combination of vegetarian and meat-based recipes that I am sure will please your entire family. If you would like to receive healthy living information and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.
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Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup from A Sweet Pea Chef. This soup is all about the chicken, tomatoes and spices. It is really easy to put together and cooks on low for 5 to 6 hours. I would use canned organic chopped tomatoes when fresh tomatoes are not available or you are just feeling lazy. The recipe calls for a combination of white meat and dark meat, but I prefer dark meat for soups. I find the higher fat content is perfect for soups. Click here for the recipe.
Healthy Italian Wedding Soup from Girl and the Kitchen. This soup is made with chicken meatballs and uses kale for extra nutrition. If you don't like kale, spinach is a perfect addition. You can substitute organic frozen spinach if fresh spinach is not available or too expensive. This is a crowd favorite and the little meatballs are so cute! Click here for the recipe.
Healthy Turkey Stew from Show Me the Yummy. I find turkey to be a great substitute for chicken. It often is less expensive than chicken and is just as healthy. This recipe combines mushrooms, potatoes, celery and carrots with the turkey. It cooks on low in the crock pot for 6-8 hours. Click here for the recipe.
Healthy Crock Pot Beef Stew from Well Plated. How can I write a blog post about soups and stew without including a classic beef stew? Here it is! The one change I would have is to leave out the peas. I don't like them! That is also the most awesome part of making a soup or stew, if you don't care for an ingredient leave it out or substitute something you do like. I would use chopped spinach instead. Click here for the recipe.
Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Stew from Gimme Some Oven. Stews are usually made when the weather is cold. What type of vegetables are in season in cold weather? Root vegetables. Not only is this a great vegetarian option for meatless Monday but it takes advantage of vegetables in season. Click here for the recipe.
Italian Sausage Soup from The Gunny Sack. This is a very different type of soup. The soup combines sausage with veggies and pasta. Making it very hearty and perfect for dinner. It uses half and half so if you have dairy issues, coconut milk is the best non-dairy option to try. Serve with a salad and crusty bread. Click here for the recipe.
I hope I inspired you to make soup and stews more often. They are a great way to provide a nutritious lunch or dinner.
PS: If you make try any of the recipes I shared, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heatherleehurst and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your version of the recipes.