Amazing Meals From 1 Can of Soup

February 9th, 2015

Soup is the salad of winter — you can pack in a ton of veggies and it’s a vehicle for an endless array of flavors and texture. Plus, it can be a complete, balanced meal in a single bowl if you do it right!

We seldom use a soup “as is” straight from the package for two reasons. One, we need more food to make it a complete meal. Two, we need more textures and flavors to make it satisfying. This isn’t to say that there aren’t some rockin’ soups out there that are crazy delicious straight from the package, but with a few additions and a little doctoring, they go from being a good meal to a great (nutritionally balanced) one.

Our favorite dinnertime soup starts with a base of a plain veggie soup, like tomato, broccoli, red pepper and tomato, carrot or butternut squash. Then we create a meal-worthy stew by adding various simple components. Here’s our guide to creating a meal-in-a-bowl soup in under 15 minutes.

Add one from each group below to create a delicious, satisfying, fast lunch or dinner. Or, if you already have a can of soup with one of the components (like lentil soup, which already has the protein) you can add just the missing ingredients!


Canned or home-cooked beans (black, kidney, white, lentils), shredded pre-cooked chicken, cubed extra firm tofu (sauteed or uncooked), edamame, canned salmon, crab or tuna, pre-cooked chicken sausage, ground cooked turkey breast.

Healthy high-fiber carbs

Whole grains or starchy veggies like corn, peas, butternut squash, cooked quinoa, barley, whole wheat pasta, brown rice or any other favorite whole grain.


Baby spinach, sautéed mushrooms or onions, bell peppers, Swiss chard, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, frozen mixed veggies, (or any veggies you love!)

Fun extras

Avocado, Parmesan cheese, plain Greek yogurt, sunflower seeds, chopped peanuts (or any nuts), hemp seeds, salsa.

Extra delicious tip

Stir in a little bit (a tablespoon or two) of vinegar (we love balsamic for its rich body) right at the end of heating. It adds another dimension of flavor that takes the soup to a whole new level!

Recipe idea: Italian white bean and kale soup

Start with 2 cups of roasted red pepper and tomato soup as the base. While heating over medium heat, add 1/2 cup white beans, 2 cups chopped kale, dried oregano, garlic powder, and black pepper to taste. Heat for 7-8 minutes or until the kale is soft and cooked. Top with 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Photo credit: jules via Flickr

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Stephanie Clarke RD and Willow Jarosh RDStephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh are registered dietitians and the duo behind C&J Nutrition, a NYC-based nutrition consulting, communications, and workplace wellness company. These nutritionists share nutrition information in fun and practical ways that work with busy lifestyles. They're media spokespeople, featured in numerous health and lifestyle magazines, TV and web shows, and professional journals, and are contributing nutrition experts at SELF magazine. In addition to blogging for the Huffington Post, C&J Nutrition are the bloggers behind Bumble Bee Foods' Bee Delicious blog and are directors of nutrition at Healthy Kids Concepts. The duo delivers healthy eating inspiration on Instagram, providing a glimpse into what they eat each day and offers daily healthy eating tips via Facebook. Stephanie and Willow both love to cook, travel, and get outdoors. When they're not planning their next business adventure, you’ll probably find Stephanie showing her new daughter the DC sights or playing in her flag football league and Willow will likely be meandering around the Central Park reservoir or searching Manhattan for the least crowded tennis courts.

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