A woman cannot live on chili alone: what are some hearty low-carb soups and stews?
January 4, 2012 11:35 AM   Subscribe

What are tasty, low-carb soups and stews that keep and re-heat well?

I'm working on bringing lunch to work this winter, and while I love chili and chicken tortilla soup, I really need to expand my choices.

My goals are:
- can be made ahead and reheated, so no delicate soups

- low(er) carb, not bean-centric (I'm not trying to go totally primal/paleo, but I'm looking for something other than primarily bean/lentil soups. Beans as an ingredient among others is ok)

- contain a decent amount of protein/fat so that they keep me full til dinner.

[I've seen this post, but the options are mostly lighter and/or don't keep well]
posted by mercredi to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 156 users marked this as a favorite
We roast a chicken with one onion and two carrots. We eat the breasts. We then make soup with the pan drippings and leftover veg and a blender or hand blender. This process is labour intensive, or at least long, but it results in 2 - 3L if very thick, super tasty chicken soup.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:38 AM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Anything with (almost any kind of) cabbage is more delicious on the second day.
posted by Namlit at 11:44 AM on January 4, 2012

Stuffed Pepper Soup is a favorite for us:

1 pound ground beef
2 green peppers, diced
1 onion, diced
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
2-4 cups chicken stock
bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
garnish with shredded mozarella if you feel like it

Brown the beef, and drain it on papertowels to remove additional fat
Throw everything into a stock pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30-45 minutes until the peppers have reached your desired texture. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish if desired.
posted by fyrebelley at 11:49 AM on January 4, 2012 [9 favorites]

Anything beefy and winey is better reheated the second day; stands up better than chicken IMO. I'm thinking specifically of boeuf bourguignon (I like Bourdain's recipe) and braised short ribs, like this provençal recipe from Serious Eats..
posted by supercres at 11:56 AM on January 4, 2012

Albondigas--just skip the cooked rice in the meatballs.
posted by lotus-eater at 12:01 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am a vegetarian so that may immediately turn you away from the recipe I’ll share below, but, my boyfriend is NOT a vegetarian and he LOVES this homemade soup! Not difficult to make and extremely tasty, and low in calories; store in a Tupperware in the freezer for up to 6 months and it’s still good after you reheat it! Here you go:

Carrot Ginger Soup

3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced
4 cups chopped and peeled carrots (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups orange juice
dash nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
*you can add potato, butternut squash, sweet potato, or anything else to “beef” it up a bit.

In a large pot, saute onions and ginger in olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
Add carrots and vegetable broth (or chicken if you prefer) and reduce heat to low/medium. Simmer for about 40 minutes, or until carrots are soft.
Add orange juice and stir well.
Use food processor/magic bullet type gadget to puree soup as desired - I prefer it fairly smooth but with some bits and pieces of carrot remaining.
Put back in pot and add nutmeg, salt and pepper, stirring well.
Serve with spoonful of yogurt, sour cream or even cheese - all are great!
Enjoy hot or cold - good to eat during any season. Also tasty with croutons on top or pita chips on the side. :-)
posted by kkp245 at 12:01 PM on January 4, 2012 [6 favorites]

Our basic coconut-and-stuff spicy soup-stew is as follows:

- A can or two of coconut milk - the good stuff (not the sweetened kind, mind you!)
- an onion or two, chopped
- some garlic, chopped
- a serrano pepper or more if you like it spicier, chopped into rounds, with or without seeds
- par-roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash, cut into chunks, and/or roasted cauliflower
- big bundle of greens (kale or collards hold up best), chiffonaded into manageable pieces
- cooked shredded chicken or
- firm white fish, raw (it will cook in the soup/stew)
- salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions and garlic and pepper(s); add the coconut milk, let simmer

Then add the greens; simmer until the greens are nearing your level of doneness

Add the chunks or sweet potato/squash/cauliflower, then your fish/chicken if you're adding those, and heat everything gently

Add a squeeze of lime when you serve. It holds up well in tupperware and heats readily in a microwave, and is still tasty after three days (which is as long as it lasts around here).
posted by rtha at 12:15 PM on January 4, 2012 [11 favorites]

Kalyn's Kitchen is a good source of low-carb recipes.
posted by neushoorn at 12:28 PM on January 4, 2012

Chicken Taco Stew has beans but also corn and tomatoes. Its surprisingly tasty for how simple it is and reheats very well imho. You can adjust the spiciness to your preferred level.
posted by HMSSM at 12:49 PM on January 4, 2012

Best answer: Carbonnade a la flamande is an amazing winter-style stew, though it can be a bit expensive due to the Belgian beer (and you shouldn't skimp on the beef, either). You can make a massive pot with just one bottle of beer, though, and it freezes wonderfully. It's nothing but beef and onions, filling as hell and twice as good.

Green chile stew is always fantastic, and while it traditionally contains potatoes there's no reason you can't omit them, as this recipe does (just so you know, pork is the only true green chile stew meat... but I won't tell if you prefer chicken or beef!) When I make this I like to chuck in some cabbage and cubed zucchini squash close to the end, to make up for the lack of potatoes -- once these are tender, it's time to serve it.

Chicken paprikash isn't technically a soup or a stew, but I like it best that way, with extra stock/sour cream so the chicken and onion pieces swim in the rich red sauce. It's especially good served with steamed cauliflower or the like, so you can use it to mop up the sauce at the end.

A good vindaloo is a great way to cook up a big piece of pork. Make a quick raita to spoon on top. See also: rogan josh.

I made Japanese curry the other day, and I'm still eating the leftovers -- lest the name fool you, this is basically a different take on beef stew. It's traditionally made with potatoes and served over rice, but you can do whatever you want with it: I put lots of beef, cabbage, and carrots in mine, and then ate it as a stand-alone stew. As a bonus, this is one of those dishes where starting from a readymade curry base is actually quite authentic -- you can find Golden Curry, Vermont Curry, or similar brands at Japanese markets (or the International Foods section in the supermarket).

All of these are low carb and reheat well, to the point where they're better as leftovers.
posted by vorfeed at 1:22 PM on January 4, 2012 [23 favorites]

Spanish Chilindron Stew is awesome (I make mine with smoked paprika instead of the sweet and hot varieties and use beef instead of venison.)

Borscht (so many varieties: white, red, made with chicken, made with beef, etc...)

Bamia a middle eastern lamb and okra stew (I had some for lunch today! delicious!)

Butter chicken is good the next day - if you can prevent yourself from eating it all at once!)
posted by vespabelle at 2:19 PM on January 4, 2012

Cabbage Soup! Ridiculously easy, totally delicious, very filling, and reheats beautifully.

6 cups water
1 pound ground beef
1/2 head (or more) cabbage, coarsely shredded
1 large onion, chopped
3 T sugar
2 T Worcestershire
1-1/2 T salt
pepper (to taste)
dash allspice
1 bay leaf
2 6-oz cans tomato paste

Combine all ingredients except for the tomato paste in a pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for one hour. Add tomato paste and simmer for 15 more minutes.
posted by DrGail at 2:34 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like to make a greens, sausage and bean soup a few times a year. The beauty of this is that it's really simple and versatile. This is the recipe if you want it to have a Portugese flavor:

Two cans of kidney beans (less if you want)
A chopped onion
4 cloves of garlic, minced
A pound of chourico sausage
A bunch of hardy greens (kale, chard, collard), chopped fine
4 cups of broth

Heat the oil and sautee the onions until translucent and push to the side. Slice or chop the sausage and cook till browned. Rinse beans until they lose the metallic taste and add to the pot, along with the broth. Scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pot. Add greens by the handful, allowing a batch to wilt slightly before you add the next bunch. Cover the pot and simmer for about an hour.

You can use different ingredients and spices to make the soup have a different flavor. For a more Italian flavor, I'll use Italian sausage, cannelini beans and oregano. For something French, I'll use lentils and herbs de provence. You get the idea.
posted by lunasol at 2:49 PM on January 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

I frequently make Giada's Pasta e Fagioli. It's tasty and keeps for about a week. I don't have a cheese cloth, so I just use a coffee filter where it calls for one.

I also like her Italian Wedding Soup.
posted by jeffamaphone at 3:21 PM on January 4, 2012

I just made this Paleo-style pork/onion/garlic/apple slow-cooked stew for dinner tonight. It was awesome, but I can't speak to how well it reheats, as my wife and I ate all of it...

(Next time, I'm going to try doubling it up, just to get some to throw in the fridge for lunches...)
posted by genehack at 6:00 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is a great and simple chicken soup. It does have barley in it, but if you really want to cut back on carbs, I'm sure you could omit it:

- 6 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1 Whole chicken breast (with bone)
- 3 celery sticks chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup barley
- parmesan cheese

Boil 6 cups of water in large pot. Add bay leaf, tomato sauce and bouillon cube. Stir. Add carrots, celery, barley and chicken. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 hour on low boil. Remove and clean the meat off the chicken. Cut chicken into small pieces, and add back to soup. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Sprinkle cheese on top before eating.
posted by deansfurniture5 at 8:25 PM on January 4, 2012

Pumpkin-Sausage Soup is delicious, filling, easy, and low-carb. If you're going to freeze it, I wouldn't add the cream to the whole batch, just add a splash to each bowl just before serving.
posted by bink at 10:26 PM on January 4, 2012

Response by poster: These are all great answers, thanks! I'm definitely happy to take on more complex recipes for Sunday afternoon cooking as a trade-off for tasty lunch all week.
posted by mercredi at 8:16 AM on January 5, 2012

Here are a few of my favorites:

Italian sausage and cabbage stew (I've made this without the beans and it's great all the same)
Cream of chicken soup (I use chicken stock instead of bouillon granules; the xanthan gum is a thickening agent -- you can use a roux if you'd prefer though it won't be as low carb).
My favorite simple mushroom soup from Anthony Bourdain

Experiment! The other day i made a wonderful stew from the stuff in my fridge, with no recipe -- andouille sausage, chicken stock, carrots, turnips, roasted tomatoes. I flavored it with juniper berries, rosemary and mustard. It was delicious and hearty and heated up well for my lunch the next day. Almost anything can be a soup.
posted by peacheater at 2:53 PM on January 5, 2012

Sopa Tarasca is amazing. I often also make a soup by thinly slicing one red onion and one red cabbage, sauteing with salt and pepper, and sometimes adding chicken or beef for protein, sometimes not. Easy and satisfying.
posted by judith at 10:58 AM on January 7, 2012

Just a note to say that we made vorfeed's chicken paprikash and highly recommend it. We made a big pot last week and froze it in smaller portions BEFORE adding the sour cream. When we were ready to eat it, I just threw a pack in a pot and heated it on the stove, added the sour cream, and served it. It really was fabulous.
posted by arcticwoman at 5:19 PM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just a note to say that we made vorfeed's chicken paprikash and highly recommend it.

Hey, glad you liked it!

If you're going to make this more than once, I recommend getting good-quality paprika -- I got some from Penzey's, and it was a massive flavor upgrade compared to the supermarket stuff. None of the other ingredients need to be at all fancy, but good paprika makes a big difference.
posted by vorfeed at 5:38 PM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

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