3 Comforting Fall Soups

Charles MaraiaCharles MaraiaApril Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine

We know chicken soup is good for the soul, but on a crisp fall day, a bowl of decadently creamy soup can be the perfect dish. So is it possible to indulge without sacrificing your skinny jeans? Totally.

If you already have a favorite creamy soup recipe, Jennifer Iserloh, aka "The Skinny Chef," author of the newly released recipe collection, 50 Shades of Kale, offers these tips for cutting back on the fat and calories -- without sacrificing the flavor:

Swap full-fat for low-fat or skim.
Use lower-fat dairy, like low-fat cream cheese, sour cream or yogurt, she says. "If you're dying for real cream, half-and-half is actually fairly low in calories and fat compared to heavy cream!"

Use mashed veggies instead of dairy.
Starchy veggies like sweet potato, white potato and squash work the best, she says. Another fantastic option? White beans!

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Cut back on your sauteing oil.
Even if the recipe calls for more, 1 tablespoon is usually enough to brown a few cups of veggies, she says.

Ready to start cooking? Here are 3 great recipes to try:

1. SELF's delicious Spicy Pumpkin and Split Pea soup
. Totally scrumptious for a cozy fall meal, this soup is packed with vitamin A and fiber, at 228 calories per serving.

2. SELF's Cream of Asparagus soup
is rich and satisfying, and only 93 calories per serving!

3. The Skinny Chef's Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6

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1 medium butternut squash, (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled and cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 spring of rosemary, chopped into three pieces
1 tbsp butter
1 large leek, washed well and chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cups fat-free, reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup sherry or dry white wine
Small bunch of fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup low-fat sour cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix squash with rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and coat with a thin layer of cooking spray. Spread out the squash and coat the top with another thin layer of cooking spray. Bake 45-50 minutes until it is fork tender (This step can be done the night before. Once the squash has cooled, store in the fridge overnight.)

In a large stockpot, heat the butter over medium heat and add the leeks. Continue to saute the leeks, stirring occasionally until they become translucent (about 5-6 minutes). Increase the heat to high and add the squash, broth and sherry or wine. After the mixture comes to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to low and simmer 20-25 minutes until the squash begins to break apart.

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Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Toss in the sage, stirring continuously until the leaves turn dark green and become crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to drain off the excess oil.

When you are ready to serve the soup, puree it with an immersion blender or in a food processor until it has a smooth, creamy consistency. Season soup with additional salt and pepper and ladle into warm soup bowls. Garnish with sage and top with sour cream.

The skinny per serving (without sour cream): 115 calories, 4.4 g fat, 18 g carbs, 0.3 g fiber, 2.1 g protein, 260 mg sodium


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