Is it your goal this year to eat healthy and get fit? If the answer is a big YES, you should consider working Asian dishes into your weekly meal plan.
As I mentioned in my last post, 10 Asian cooking tips to help you cook faster, eat better, and lose weight, Asian food has a strong tendency to use low-calorie and wholesome ingredients, flavorful seasonings, and very small amounts of protein to create satisfying and nourishing meals.
Today, I want to introduce ten Asian soup recipes that are hearty, low in calories, and quick to cook. The best part is, you can easily tweak them into one-dish meals using whatever ingredients you have in the fridge. It really eases the burden of coming up with ideas for dinner during a busy week.
10 Asian soup recipes to help you eat healthy and get lean
The soup might sound very plain, but the soup base is super flavorful. In this post, I introduced two methods for creating a rich broth without using stock. The post also includes a tender and moist turkey meatball recipe that you can use to enhance any other Asian soup.
You can throw all kinds of ingredients into this soup: napa cabbage, cabbage, tofu, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, radishes, mustard greens, bok choy, sausage, mung bean noodles, zero-calorie magic noodles, etc.
Calories: 222 cal. per serving
Did you know that you can use this classic soup base with almost any type of veggie and meat? This recipe does not require chicken stock and is very flavorful.
Just add the ingredients of your choice: tomato, tofu (fried or fresh), mushrooms (including wood ear mushrooms), lily flowers, napa cabbage, mustard greens, bok choy, lean cuts of meat (chicken breast, pork tenderloin, etc.), ham, bamboo shoots
Calories: 130 cal. per serving
Can you believe such a scrumptious soup takes just 30 minutes to prep and cook? Add a handful of veggies and a small portion of rice noodles, and you’ll be all set for dinner.
Ingredients of your choice: shrimp, fish, other seafood, blanched broccoli, Chinese broccoli, cabbage, bean sprouts, mustard green, mushrooms, soft (silk) tofu, rice noodles, mung bean noodles, zero-calorie magic noodles
Calories: 250 to 300 cals. per serving (the nutrition facts are not included in the original recipe, I used the data from another nutrition site with a very similar recipe)
The recipe list might look long, but it takes no effort to cook. You can use canned tomato and frozen ginger to cut down on prep time. Both root and green vegetables go well with the soup. You can throw in some protein while simmering the soup, or top it with any leftover meat you might have. If you’re adding plenty of root veggies, you can skip the noodles and still make it a full meal.
Ingredients of your choice: shrimp, fish, stew meat, potato, carrot, broccoli, Chinese broccoli, bell pepper, green beans, tomato, cabbage, mustard green, mushrooms, rice noodles, mung bean noodles, zero-calorie magic noodles, quinoa
The original recipe contains 836 cal. per serving, because I used fried fish, plenty of potato and noodles. You can easily cut one third of the calories by using grilled fish (or chicken) and use less noodles.
The original miso soup is not a one-dish meal (you can serve it with a bowl of steamed rice and a simple piece of grilled fish to make it a full meal). But you can throw in more veggies, protein, and some noodles to make it substantial enough for a meal. For a more scrumptious dish, you can make miso ramen or vegetarian ramen in under 25 minutes.
Ingredients of your choice: wakame (dried seaweed), tofu (fresh or fried), corn, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, all kinds of lean meat, all kinds of seafood, napa cabbage, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, noodles
Calories: The average miso soup has about 60 to 90 cal. per serving / The average miso ramen has about 500 to 700 cal. per serving depends on the toppings
The most versatile dish ever. You can throw in basically whatever ingredients you like, and still get a tasty soup. It can easily be converted into a vegetarian dish, too (tips included in the post).
Ingredients of your choice: all kinds of seafood, all kinds of ground or lean meat, root vegetables, broccoli, tomato (fresh or canned), all kinds of greens, mushrooms, tofu (fresh or fried), rice noodles, mung bean noodles, zero-calorie magic noodles, fish cakes, quinoa, steamed brown rice.
Calories: 268 cal. per serving
This quinoa asparagus Tom Kha Gai is a perfect example of how you can tweak a classic Asian soup with the ingredients you have on hand to fit your diet.
Ingredients of your choice: asparagus, carrot, cabbage, green beans, bamboo shoot, mushrooms, mustard greens, peppers, chicken or vegetable stock, broccoli, rice noodles, mung bean noodles, zero-calories magic noodles, quinoa
Calories: about 450 cal. per serving (about 350 cal. per serving if you skip the quinoa)
Only takes 25 minutes to prep and cook. Versatile and very hearty. Also a great way to use up leftover meat. You can use this soup base for wontons too.
Ingredients of your choice: leftover stew meat (or roast meat), mustard green, cabbage, spinach, bok choy, frozen wonton, quinoa
Calories: 423 cal.
As satisfying as dumplings, only easier to make. I recommend you wrap your own wontons with fresh ingredients because it is tastier and even lower in calories. Wrapping wontons is not as tricky as making dumplings; just check out the video in my post. You can make them in big batches on the weekend while watching TV and freeze them for later use. It’s fun!
Ingredients of your choice: you can use turkey to replace pork in the filling; you can use all sorts of blanched green vegetables in the soup base; if you cannot find the dried goods to make the soup, use chicken stock or this tomato based soup instead; you can add a small amount of noodles to make the dish very filling.
Calories: 418 cal. per serving
This is not the most versatile dish, but you can easily turn it into a one-dish meal by adding corns. Plus, you can use chopped frozen veggies to cook it with zero effort.
Ingredients of your choice: ground chicken (or turkey), carrot, corn, snow peas, mushrooms, broccoli, bamboo shoot, cucumber, blanched spinach
Calories: 274 cals. per serving
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