25 Healthy Soup Recipes to Balance Holiday Indulgences

A spoonful of yum.

By Sacha Strebe
Winter green soup (cruciferous vegetables soup)

Ahh, it’s that time of year again. I don’t know about you, but the cold weather, post-holiday months are definitely my favorite time of year. Who doesn’t love a turned-up collar over a chunky knit sweater with thick socks and a beanie? There’s nothing quite like the feeling of the crisp, cool air stinging your cheeks when the rest of your body is wrapped up in warm layers. I live for it. My favorite pastime? Cooking up healthy soup recipes that make me feel cozy and warm.

As an Aussie girl, I grew up spending the holidays in summer which meant hanging out at the beach all day or in the pool to relieve yourself from the sticky humidity. The menu consisted of fruit (mangoes, cherries, and lychees) and anything you could throw on a BBQ because the heat would usually quash your appetite.

So, now that I live in the US and the seasons have flipped, you can imagine how much I look forward to holiday comfort food. Delicious flavors aside, there is something so heartwarming about the sentimental mood it puts you in post-indulgence. But, since it’s still all so new to me, I can tend to get carried away (sound familiar?). So, when that happens, I turn to some of my favorite healthy soup recipes to balance it all out.

Ahead, I share some of my go-to healthy soup recipes from across the web that make the winter season taste as good as it feels. And be sure to post a comment below with your favorite recipe or link to one that I missed—I’m always on the hunt for new soups to make at home!

Coconut Sweet Potato Lentil Soup With Rice_healthy soup recipes

Coconut Sweet Potato Lentil Soup With Rice from Half Baked Harvest

Why We Love It: If there’s a soup that can satiate a desperately empty stomach and satisfy all your cravings for comfort food, it’s this. The best recipes can be made in one pot, combine all my favorite healthy foods (lentils, spinach, sweet potatoes), and take less than 60 minutes of mostly hands-off time. This soup does all of that to perfection, relying on aromatics and plenty of spice for all of its bright and beautiful flavor.

Hero Ingredient: I love the golden glow and warming scent of curry powder. A tablespoon of the spice makes sure it comes through in this soup.

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Immunity-Boosting Turmeric Vegetable Soup_healthy soup recipes

Immunity-Boosting Turmeric Vegetable Soup from The Roasted Root

Why We Love It: Come winter, I’m on the hunt for seasonal dishes that help me get all the good stuff. I’m talking about veggies, functional foods, and immune-boosting spices that can help me stay healthy through the colder months. This soup? Check, check, and check. You can thank coconut milk for every creamy spoonful and a vibrant medley of vegetables (carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, and zucchini) for all the antioxidants you could ever dream up.

Hero Ingredient: Cold and flu season is no match for anti-inflammatory turmeric.

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Instant Pot Creamy Pumpkin Soup_healthy soup recipes

Instant Pot Creamy Pumpkin Soup from Fed + Fit

Why We Love It: Sweet pumpkin recipes (pie, custard, cake) taste best during the small window between late September and early December. But savory pumpkin recipes? I can happily eat all the beta-carotene-colored dishes on any day that requires a sweater. All that to say is, this creamy pumpkin soup needs to become a mainstay in your easy and healthy soup repertoire. The mix of coconut milk, pumpkin purée, and a few key spices make it velvety, thick, and full of flavor.

Hero Ingredient: Sage goes well with just about any winter squash. But when you pair it with sweet pumpkin, its earthy and peppery bite creates something truly special.

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Green Curry Noodle Soup_healthy soup recipes

Green Curry Noodle Soup from Spoon Fork Bacon

Why We Love It: Green curry > any other curry. Bold words, I know, and while I graciously welcome any curry to the table, there’s something about green curry that has me swooning over this soup. Maybe it’s the bright and herby brilliance of the basil and cilantro, or perhaps all the unexpected heat from the fresh green chiles. Whatever it is, I can’t get enough.

Hero Ingredient: Lemongrass offers up plenty of nuanced flavor and fragrant floral notes that make this soup the ultimate healthy comfort food meal.

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Roasted Cauliflower Coconut Soup_healthy soup recipes

Roasted Cauliflower Coconut Soup from A Healthy Life for Me

Why We Love It: I first fell hard for roasted cauliflower in college. I’d pile my plate high with an abundance of the crispy and caramelized veggie and dig in with excitement. This recipe makes the most of cauliflower’s deliciousness (not to mention its many nutritional benefits). Result? A soup that I could eat for three meals a day, every day.

Hero Ingredient: I love all the spices stirred into this soup, but the coriander stands out. It’s sweet, citrusy, and bright, offering a light and fresh finish.

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Winter Green Soup_healthy soup recipes

Winter Green Soup from Sugar Salted

Why We Love It: I make it my daily mission to get multiple cups of greens on the daily. I’m down for a green smoothie any day of the week and somehow can’t get sick of salads (probably because there are infinite ways to make ‘em.) But honestly, when dinner comes around, it can be hard to keep the momentum going. Enter: this soup. Filled with all the cruciferous veggies I can’t get enough of, it’s nutrient-packed without tasting like a watered-down meal.

Hero Ingredient: The secret to this soup’s creaminess? Cashews. They’re one of my favorite nuts to snack on, but something truly special happens when they get blended into a pot of this perfect soup. 

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Tomato Soup with Cheese, Olive, Onion and Rosemary Toasties_healthy soup recipes

Tomato Soup with Cheese, Olive, Onion and Rosemary Toasties from Stuck in the Kitchen

Why We Love It: When it comes to comfort food, some folks are all about the carbs. And while I’ll happily and hungrily dig into a bowl of pasta any day, this rich and creamy tomato soup satisfies all my cravings. Bonus: With so much flavor packed in, it’s just as delicious if you choose to pull back on the cheese and cream.

Hero Ingredient: All the best recipes start by sautéing onions until they’re superbly soft.

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Easy Minestrone Soup_healthy soup recipes

Easy Minestrone Soup from Foodie Crush

Why We Love It: Holy deliciousness! This is perhaps the furthest thing from the canned minestrone that’s stored wayyyy in the back of your pantry (you know, the one that’s for emergency use only). It’s loaded with all the good and good-for-you stuff: carrots, celery, leeks, onions, tomatoes, peas, beans—the list goes on. And if you want to make it vegetarian, feel free to omit the bacon.

Hero Ingredient: Stirring a few rinds of Parmesan cheese into the broth lends a rich flavor to this relatively-virtuous soup.

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Big Green Immunity-Boosting Vegetable Soup_healthy soup recipes

Big Green Immunity-Boosting Vegetable Soup

Why We Love It: If you’re ever at a loss for what to eat for lunch during the work week (like I am every single weekday), here’s your answer. Make a big pot of this on Sunday evening for dinner, and you’ll have vibrant and high-vibe soup ready to eat every day of the week. Trust me, you’ll never get sick of it. In fact, with this on the menu, lunch is bound to be the best part of your WFH day.

Hero Ingredient: I love the bright peppery bite ginger brings to anything it touches.

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Creamy Vegan White Bean Kale Soup_healthy soup recipes

Creamy Vegan White Bean Kale Soup from The First Mess

Why We Love It: Sure, some people might think I’m going overboard including two cauliflower soup recipes in this roundup, but hear me out. This recipe leans on the beautiful culinary magic that happens when you roast a whole head of garlic in the oven. The depth of flavor is unparalleled, and it gives this soup a complex sweetness that blends beautifully with the beans, cauliflower, and rosemary.

Hero Ingredient: While it’s hard to beat caramelized onions (see above), I do love swapping in fennel for a refreshing, anise-flavored bite.

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Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Soup with Rosemary_healthy soup recipes

Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Soup with Rosemary

Why We Love It: Sure, some people might think I’m going overboard including two cauliflower soup recipes in this roundup, but hear me out. This recipe leans on the beautiful culinary magic that happens when you roast a whole head of garlic in the oven. The depth of flavor is unparalleled, and it gives this soup a complex sweetness that blends beautifully with the beans, cauliflower, and rosemary.

Hero Ingredient: While it’s hard to beat caramelized onions (see above), I do love swapping in fennel for a refreshing, anise-flavored bite.

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Creamy Leak and Potato Soup_healthy soup recipes

Creamy Leek and Potato Soup from Life as a Strawberry

Why We Love It: You know a soup’s going to be good if “creamy” is included in the title—and this recipe is definitely deserving of its name. While it’s 100% vegetarian as-is, you can also sub in any alternative milk you’d like (I’d recommend coconut milk for even more creaminess) if you’re looking to make it vegan.

Hero Ingredient: A few sprigs of thyme is the perfect match for a potato-packed soup. 

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Creamy Asparagus and Pea Soup_healthy soup recipes

Creamy Asparagus and Pea Soup from Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: If I can keep my sink from filling up with a pile of plates, bowls, and pots, that’s always a win. The secret to making that happen? One-pot recipes, of course. This recipe is a breeze to make from start to finish, and is truly the smoothest, silkiest soup I’ve ever had the pleasure of cooking on my stove top. 

Hero Ingredient: While asparagus may bring to mind distinctly spring flavors, know that the veggie will be right at home in your winter cooking arsenal. Along with the peas, the asparagus gives your soup a deep, bright green color that’ll remind you of all the must-have nutrients you’re getting by eating this five nights a week (or more).

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Vegan Khao Soi Soup_healthy soup recipes

Vegan Khao Soi Soup from Lazy Kat Kitchen

Why We Love It: Maybe it’s the New Englander in me, but do you ever come back from a winter day outdoors and all you crave is a soup that’ll warm you all the way through? Whether you’re enjoying it for lunch or dinner (or maybe even breakfast), this soup is guaranteed to make you feel like your best winter self.

Hero Ingredient: Hot. Red. Chillies. Trust me.

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Creamy Squash, Pear & Ginger Soup_healthy soup recipes

Creamy Squash, Pear & Ginger Soup from Food by Mars

Why We Love It: While I’m always impressed by a soup that can pack all my favorite veggies into one single pot, I’m truly floored when a recipe can seamlessly add fruit to the mix. It’s sweet, it’s a little bit spicy, and truly, this recipe is soup at its finest.

Hero Ingredient: While this recipe gives you the option of choosing between grated ginger or ginger juice for that spicy little kick, I’d recommend opting for the latter. Grated ginger is good in a pinch, but ginger juice concentrates all the hot and sweet flavor the spice can bring.

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Black Bean Tortilla Soup_healthy soup recipes

Black Bean Tortilla Soup from Flourishing Foodie

Why We Love It: Nothing beats a good black bean soup. When they’re at their best, black bean soups are hearty, filling, and full of spicy and satisfying flavor. They’re like a lightened-up version of your favorite chili (you know, the one that’s famous for winning all the chili cook-offs). Black bean soup has it all: crunchy and crispy tortilla strips, the subtle sour flavor of lime, and chili powder’s delicious heat. Be warned: This soup does not disappoint.

Hero Ingredient: While I think just about every ingredient could be considered a standout, it’s the chili flakes that give this soup just the right amount of heat.

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Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup_healthy soup recipes

Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup

Why We Love It: PSA: There are countless creative ways for vegetarians and vegans to get their protein—and they don’t have to be in the form of a powder or bar. Lentils are one of my go-to’s when my body’s asking for a little more protein. With 18 grams of protein in a single cup (not to mention all the iron, fiber, magnesium, and calcium you’ll be getting), lentils are a plant-based eater’s best friend.

Hero Ingredient: I love love love finishing dishes off with some citrusy zest. This soup calls for both the zest and juice of an orange, giving a little sweetness that sends this recipe over the top.

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Brothy Garlic Soup with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Poached Eggs_healthy soup recipes

Brothy Garlic Soup with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Poached Eggs from Salt & Wind

Why We Love It: Everything changed the moment I started adding poached eggs to my soups. If you ever fall prey to the “soup isn’t a meal” cliché, take this trick to heart. Not only does the poached egg boost your broth with a bit of protein, but it adds a rich, hearty flavor that’s hard to beat.

Hero Ingredient: Sliced avocado in your soup? Game-changer.

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Turmeric Chicken Soup_healthy soup recipes

Turmeric Chicken Soup

Why We Love It: There’s chicken soup, and then there’s this immunity-boosting, show-stopping Turmeric Chicken Soup. It has all the comfort of your classic chicken noodle but steps things up with a few herbs and spices that give it major flavor. It’s warming, nourishing, and the leftovers last for days. In other words, meet the perfect soup.

Hero Ingredient: Turmeric is the functional ingredient that not only gives your immune system a major boost, but also adds beautiful flavor and color to anything it touches. This soup included.

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Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe_healthy soup recipes

Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe from Vikalinka

Why We Love It: Admittedly, the only time I crave turkey is right around the fourth Thursday in November (and even then, to say it I crave it might be a stretch). But this soup completely changed my opinion about turkey. It’s just about as wholesome as a homemade meal can get. With onions, celery, carrots, and couscous to round it out, you can feel good about serving yourself a full bowl of this soup. And if you really can’t do turkey, leftover rotisserie chicken is a perfect substitute.

Hero Ingredient: Ever add a bay leaf to a dish and wonder why? Here’s your answer: Bay leaves will flavor your soup with a beautifully aromatic and herbal bite. 

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Thai Chicken Soup with Butternut Squash & Bok Choy_healthy soup recipes

Thai Chicken Soup with Butternut Squash & Bok Choy

Why We Love It: When winter comes around, all I want is to be as cozy as possible. What does that look like? Turtlenecks on repeat, a mug of tea in my hands at all times, and this Thai Chicken Soup for just about every single meal. Thai flavors are inherently warming, and with the addition of plenty of vibrant veggies, you can get your soup and salad all in one bowl.

Hero Ingredient: Bok choy is hands down, one of my favorite greens. It’s the perfect mix of being hardy, leafy, and crunchy—plus it’ll infuse your soup with a flavor that’s both peppery and sweet.

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Hearty Beef and Gnocchi Soup Recipe_healthy soup recipes

Hearty Beef and Gnocchi Soup Recipe from Saving Room for Dessert

Why We Love It: In my book, gnocchi can do no wrong. It gives a modern twist to the meat and potatoes combo that’s super hearty (hence the name) and makes this soup a fully-satisfying and satiating meal. If you really want to take things to the next level, try making your own homemade gnocchi. It’s way easier than it seems.

Hero Ingredient: A dry red wine brings the perfect amount of acidity to this meat-heavy soup. Be sure to pour yourself a glass while your soup simmers away.

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Vegan Broccoli Soup_healthy soup recipes

Vegan Broccoli Soup from Love & Lemons

Why We Love It: Growing up, broccoli cheese soup was my ride or die restaurant order. I’d satisfy my parents by working a vegetable into my meal and make myself happy by eating cheese in liquid form. While I’m still passionate about the combo, in the spirit of being more intentional about what I eat, I love a recipe that retains all the classic flavors without putting me into a food coma. This soup is so comforting and rich, you’d never guess it’s vegan.

Hero Ingredient: Don’t hold back on the dill. The herb’s bright and sweet flavor is the key to keeping this soup from taking the cheesiness too far (yes, it’s possible!).

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Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup_healthy soup recipes

Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup from Pretty Simple Sweet

Why We Love It: I, like many other folks, have a passionate love for the wonder that is Trader Joe’s. What started the affair? Their creamy, homemade-tasting Red Pepper and Tomato Soup. It’s great in a pinch, but when I have even just a little more time, this recipe is what I’ll make instead. It’s cozy and nostalgic, and just about the best thing to warm you up, inside and out.

Hero Ingredient: The balsamic vinegar is optional, but I wouldn’t recommend skipping it if you’re looking to add a subtle, but distinctive sweetness to your soup.

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Curry Butternut Squash Soup_healthy soup recipes

Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Why We Love It: If you’re really looking to add a little zing to your winter soup night, this is the recipe to make. While I’m all for any soup that includes butternut squash in the ingredients list, the warmth and comfort that a tablespoon of curry powder brings to the pot makes my favorite winter squash all the more addicting.

Hero Ingredient: It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started adding chopped apples to my squash soups, but once I started, I vowed to never omit them again. In this recipe, the Granny Smith apple plays up the sweetness of the squash, and fills your bowl with all the comforting flavor the winter season brings.

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This post was originally published on November 11, 2020 and has since been updated.

Comments (3)

  1. Anne Campbell says:

    Which to choose first? They all look so amazing…. mmm….

  2. Alice says:

    Thank you for including my recipe! xx Alice

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