Smashing soups

By: Alison Dunn Feb 23, 2011

Why crack open a can when you can make delicious and nutritious soup from scratch?

One of the best – and most delicious – ways to get a huge helping of vegetables and nutrients is with soup. But if your idea of making soup is cracking open a can, beware: many varieties of soup have a ton of excess sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure.

Still, many people are afraid of making homemade soup, thinking they need to boil chicken bones for hours to make homemade stock and watch a pot boiling for hours. The truth is there are many quick, easy, nutritious and delicious soup ideas out there. Here are three great recipes you can make in a hurry and still reap all the health benefits of a healthy, balanced meal.

Spicy sweet potato soup

For a delicious, healthy and hearty soup, look no further than this spicy specialty from Sue Abell, a Can-Fit-Pro certified personal trainer and creator of the Tread Powerfully fitness concept. Adding a can of chick peas gives it a nice protein boost, and any leftovers freeze easily to be enjoyed another day.


  • 1 large finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 1 tsp each: curry powder, cumin, ground ginger
  • ½ tsp each: cayenne pepper, garlic salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 chopped apples (leave the skin on)
  • 3 peeled and chopped large sweet potatoes
  • 1 medium peeled and sectioned orange
  • 4 cups broth (veggie, beef or chicken)
  • 1½ cups chick peas


Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large soup pot and add the onion, green beans, curry powder, cumin, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, coriander, parsley and ginger, cooking until soft.
Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes and then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until veggies are soft.
Puree with a hand blender or in portions in a regular blender. Season with sea salt if needed and add a little more water or broth if you like a thinner soup.

Homemade tomato soup

Fitness and Pilates instructor Lisa Wayland swears by this delicious homemade tomato soup. Not only will your kids love it, you’ll love that it doesn’t have the added sodium of many canned varieties of tomato soup. Add a fistful of crusty Italian bread to dip and watch it disappear!


  • 5 lbs fresh (in season) tomatoes or canned whole Roma tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp organic honey
  • Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon


If using fresh tomatoes (if using canned tomatoes, jump to step 4):

1. Wash tomatoes, remove stems.
2. Bring about 6-8 cups of water to boil in a large saucepan. Place whole tomatoes in boiling water long enough to loosen outer skin.
3. Once loose, remove tomatoes from boiling water and drop in a bowl of ice water. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, loosen the skins with your hands or a pairing knife. Quarter the tomatoes and remove the core.
4. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Place all tomatoes in the pot. Add 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Add fresh basil, cover the pot and let the tomatoes simmer for 30 minutes or until soft, stirring often, and then remove from heat.
5. Using a hand blender, blend the mixture until it forms a puree.
6. Keep the puree in the saucepan and bring back to a simmer. Stir in honey and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
7. For a boost of nutrition, add some spinach leaves to the bottom of the bowl before ladling in the soup; by the time you eat the soup the spinach will be warm, wilted and delicious.

Sweet potato and pear soup

Family physician Dr. Lisa Vincent loves servings up this healthy and delicious soup recipe to her family. Adding a dollop of low-fat yogurt at the end not only helps cool the soup down, but also makes it creamy and delicious.


  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 sweet potatoes chopped
  • 3 pears chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Pinch salt/pepper
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Low fat sour cream or plain low fat yogurt


Place broth, sweet potatoes, pears and onion in large pot. Add cumin. Heat to boiling then simmer until vegetables are soft (approx. 30 min). Puree using a hand blender.  Add the juice of one lime, salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, add maple syrup. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

A journalist with more than 10 years experience, Alison’s work has appeared in a number of top Canadian publications, including glow, Oxygen, Canadian Running and more. She is the former editor of a number of well-respected Canadian and American trade journals and recipient of a Kenneth R. Wilson Gold Award of Excellence in feature article writing. She is a part-time faculty member at Sheridan College’s journalism department, as well as an avid runner and fitness enthusiast.