Insider’s Viewpoint: Winter, Soup & Your Health

Does the winter season have your intake of vegetables down? Don’t let it— especially during cold and flu season. This is prime time for the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in vegetables and fruit to strut their stuff.

Obtaining compounds like vitamin C, magnesium and antioxidants such as quercetin from the foods you eat are a must for building a strong immune system. Luckily, these disease fighters are readily found in foods such as spinach, tomatoes, cranberry beans, garbanzo beans and onions— so there is no need to purchase separate supplements.

What’s that? You don’t have time to eat vegetables? Let your Dutch oven earn its keep! Using these large pots to make soup and stews is a perfect way to prepare vegetables. Truthfully, what better way can you envision working toward daily vegetable food group goals than throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pot and smelling the flavors meld together on your stove top?

As a dietitian, I know there is one group of vegetables commonly overlooked by shoppers— legumes (aka: beans and lentils). The wonderful thing about legumes is not only do they provide fiber and protein; they do so with little to no fat.

Not sure how to cook with legumes, especially dried beans? Let this easy-to-make, delicious soup recipe from the US Dry Bean Council show you how. It incorporates different flavors, textures and plant-based ingredients for a delectable treat. Grab yourself a bowl and get ready for an incredible tasting (and nourishing!) warm up.


Moroccan Tomato Soup
Serves: 6 (2-cup servings)


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 (14.5 ounces) cans no salt added diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 4 cups water or no salt added chicken stock
  • ¼ cup fresh dill
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 4 ½ cups cranberry beans or garbanzo beans, already cooked without salt
  • 5 ounces prewashed baby spinach
  • fat free sour cream or plain yogurt (optional)


  1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent.
  2. Add salt, cayenne pepper, paprika and cumin. Sauté 1 minute.
  3. Add honey, cinnamon, tomatoes (with juice), water (or chicken stock), dill, parsley, Balsamic vinegar and beans. Stir well.
  4. Simmer 45 minutes. (If thicker soup is desired, use potato masher to mash some of beans after soup has simmered 30 minutes.)
  5. Stir in spinach and heat just until wilted, 2-3 minutes.
  6. Top with fat-free sour cream or plain yogurt, if desired.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: Calories: 325, Total Fat: 6g , Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 237mg, Total Carbohydrates: 54g, Fiber: 16g, Protein: 15g

Carrie Taylor, RDN, LDN
Lead Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for the Living Well Eating Smart Program
Big Y Foods, Inc.

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