Five Easy Recipes for Comforting, Healthy Soups and Stews
By Shannon Crocker MSC RD PHEc
Soups and stews are the ultimate comfort food—ideal, simple meals to enjoy as the cooler weather arrives. Got leftover turkey? Add it in a hearty stew or a delicious fall soup. Adding turkey to any dish boosts the protein factor, making your meal not only nutritious, but also tasty and satisfying.
Here are five easy weeknight-meal recipes that will warm you up from the inside out.
Ginger-Spiked Mini Turkey Meatballs Soup
With fragrant ginger, bright-green onion and tangy lime, this homemade soup is a nutrition-packed hit. Mini turkey meatballs are a fun addition, and thanks to turkey’s lean protein, this soup will keep you energized for longer. Don’t be scared off by the long list of ingredients: this soup can be made in a snap.
Time-saving tip: Cook a double batch of these mini meatballs and freeze them, so you’ve got some ready for the next time you crave this soup. Trust me, you’ll want to make it again (and again)!
Quick and Hearty Turkey Barley Soup
This recipe is fantastic for my favourite time-saving kitchen strategy: cook once, eat twice. You can make it ahead, then reheat half for a weeknight meal and freeze the other half for a quick weeknight dinner or weekend lunch. Using frozen veggies is a sustainable choice when local fresh produce is off-season.
Nourishing note: Barley is a wallet-friendly Canadian-grown grain that is rich in gut-healthy, friendly fibre. The fibre helps to satisfy your appetite, along with the protein from the ground turkey.
The warm spices in this meal—chili powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice—pair perfectly with turkey. Use turkey thighs (dark meat) for an extra nutrient boost. Dark turkey meat has even more zinc and selenium (two nutrients we need for a strong immune system) than white turkey meat.
Serve this hearty stew over brown rice or barley for whole-grain goodness. And whole grains provide more heart-healthy nutrients compared to refined grains (e.g., white rice, white pasta).
Make-ahead tip: Cook a batch of barley or brown rice at the start of the week and then refrigerate it, so you’ve got it on hand to add to meals like grain-based salads or this turkey stew.
This super-tasty soup is ready in fewer than 30 minutes, so it’s great for on-the-go weeknights. To make it even more nutritious, double the amount of beans and bump up the veggie quotient with a few big handfuls of baby spinach (it cooks down a lot). Need some nutrient-rich carbs? Add some diced sweet potatoes.
Nourishing note: Canned veggies, like tomatoes, corn, and beans, are budget-friendly foods and can be just as nutritious as fresh. I like to rinse canned corn and beans to remove some of the salt (unless you’re already using salt-free versions).
African-Inspired Turkey and Peanut Stew
Jam-packed with nourishing ingredients such as turkey, sweet potato, spinach, and chickpeas, this is an incredibly flavourful African-inspired stew. It’s cooked in one pot and comes together quickly. And extras are fabulous as a packed lunch.
Time-saving tip: Chop your red pepper and sweet potato and prepare your onion, garlic and ginger the night before and then store them in the fridge, so you’ve got some of your ingredients ready to go when it’s time to make dinner.
Happy soup and stew season!