The time has officially changed and winter is upon us. If you’re anything like me, it’s time to batten down the hatches, light the fire and pray for Spring’s early arrival. Needless to say, I am not a winter person, not even a little bit.
There is the one thing that makes winter enjoyable and that’s soup. However, it can be hard to enjoy ladles full of your favorite warmer-upper when you’re trying to avoid some primary soup ingredients like heavy cream, milk or sour cream. Luckily for you, I have come up with several ways to enjoy hearty Paleo soups on a cold winter night without indulging in products that will wreck your gut health or clean eating agenda.
The beauty of soups, especially for those of us who rely heavily on meal prepping to maintain healthy eating patterns, is that they’re easy to cook in large quantities and can even be frozen and used later if you have an excess.
The secret to most hearty soups is a creamy base, which can present a problem for those trying to follow a clean-eating or Paleo diet plan. With a little bit of research, a lot of innovation, and as always, an extra helping of veggies, I can get you through the winter.
Jambalaya Over Caulirice
- 2 to 3 peppers – the more colors, the merrier!
- 1/2 pound of okra
- 1 head of riced cauliflower
- 1 container of chicken broth
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes
- Your choice of Andouille sausage (we use chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s instead to tamper down the spice)
- 1 pound of chicken breast
- 1 pound of shrimp
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3 tablespoon of your favorite Cajun seasoning (more or less depending on your preference for spice)
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
Combine all ingredients except your cauli-rice in a slow cooker for 4-6 hours. Once the house smells nice and delicious and the chicken, sausage and shrimp have soaked up all that delicious Cajun flavoring, boil your “rice” in a stock pot for five to ten minutes or until it’s soft. Serve the jambalaya with a ladle over a bed of rice.
If you’re feeling frisky, there’s also the option to mix it all in the crockpot together!
Less Healthy: Light and dark kidney beans and black beans always make a hearty addition to this New Orleans-inspired entrée.
More Healthy: Eliminate the sausage if you’re worried about processed meat or make sure to get it from a local butcher. For those of you who are really ambitious, you can also make it yourself.
Broccoli, Ham and Potato Soup
- 1 to 2 heads of broccoli
- 1 to 2 ham steaks – watch your ingredients! Although we usually try to stay away from super processed meat, sometimes a hearty ham steak is just too good to pass up. This is also a recipe that my mother passed down to me, so sometimes exceptions must be made in order to recreate childhood visions of me dancing in excitement when I came home and saw the green soup simmering on the stove. We still try to find the healthiest option for ham steak though, meaning the least processed version.
- 3 to 6 white potatoes
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- 1 cup of water (more or less depending on how “thick” you want the soup to be)
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1/2 tablespoon of pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot on the stove and let it cook for thirty minutes on medium heat. Then, reduce heat and let it simmer and thicken for up to two hours.
Less Healthy: This soup is delicious with a fresh heel of bread to dip in it
More Healthy: Replace ham steak with a healthier meat alternative like chunks of chicken or turkey and use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. You can also always rice up a head of cauliflower and add it to this soup for an extra layer of texture.
Trashcan Veggie Soup
This is a soup I usually make towards the end of my grocery cycle. I usually keep things like coconut milk, chicken broth and diced tomatoes on hand, so it’s easy to throw this soup together when I’m running out of ideas of things to cook
- 1 to 2 pounds of ground beef
- 2 to 3 peppers – the more colors the better!
- 1 white onion
- 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 to 2 cups of chicken broth (Depending on how “thick” you want the soup to be)
- 1 pound of okra
- 1 to 3 large carrots
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes
- 1 to 3 stalks of celery
- 1 to 3 large white or sweet potatoes
- 1 can of tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of pepper
Brown your meat in a skillet and then drain it. Combine the meat in a stockpot with all of the other ingredients and let it cook on medium heat for thirty minutes. Then, let it simmer and thicken for as long as you would like.
More Healthy: The beauty of this soup is that you can literally add any vegetables you have laying around the house or in your crisper. Broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, spinach, Brussels sprouts, corn, cabbage, tomatoes – anything that you want to use before it goes bad, hence the name “Trashcan Veggie Soup.” Yeah, you can thank me later!
You can also use ground chicken or ground turkey if you are trying to cut back on red meat or don’t happen to have any lying around.
Another fun thing about soups is that you really can’t go wrong. Did you add too much coconut milk and now you’re singing about pina coladas and getting caught in the rain? That’s okay, because if you add more chicken broth it’ll balance it right out. Soups are literally foolproof. So you can instead focus your time on cursing the snow and ice and scrambling down to the garage in your pajamas at 7 a.m. to crank your car before it’s time to leave for work.