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Fertility Foods: 5 Nutritionist-Approved Warming Winter Soups

Each of these delicious recipes are chock full of essential nutrients and vitamins to help support your fertility journey.

December 11th, 2023 | 8 min. read

By Jill Hickey, RDN

It's officially soup season, and we have some delicious, fertility-friendly recipes for you to try! Whether you enjoy them with family and friends or store them in the freezer for an easy weeknight dinner, these yummy, warming soups are the perfect winter meal.

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Foods for Fertility

When we call a recipe “fertility-friendly,” what exactly does that mean? It means that there are nutrient-dense ingredients specifically built into the recipes, giving you the biggest bang for your buck nutrition-wise.

Pro tips from a nutritionist:

  • Use lower sodium broths whenever possible.
  • When buying anything canned, make sure it’s BPA-free.
  • Make each recipe your own by adding a favorite whole grain, bean, or healthy starch. We recommend quinoa, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, black beans, or ancient grains.
  • Have veggies in the fridge that need to be used up? Toss them into a soup to make it even heartier.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment! 

5 Fertility-Friendly Winter Soup Recipes

Nothing beats a hot bowl of hearty soup on a chilly winter night, and they often taste even better when you know the ingredients are not just good, but also good for you

Here are five of our favorite winter soup recipes that are perfect for those trying to conceive. Not only are these soups super tasty, but they are also rich in immune-boosting vitamins, folic acid for pre-conception/conception health, and other prenatal necessities.

What's not to love?

1. Butternut Squash Soup

Pro tip: Pair this delicious soup with a grilled cheese or chicken salad sandwich to balance it out with some protein!

MAKES 8 servings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions chopped (about 3 cups total)
  • 2 large butternut squash (about 5 lbs total, peeled and diced into chunks)
  • 4 medium apples (or 3 large) - a mix of green and red apples is delicious
  • 3-4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Optional - top with sage parmesan croutons
  • 6 cups sourdough cubes or whole grain bread cubes (1-inch cut)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan

Make it vegan: Swap the chicken stock for vegetable broth and omit the parmesan (or use a plant-based parmesan) to convert this into a vegan butternut squash soup.


Preheat your oven to 375°F. In a large, deep stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over low. Add onions and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While onions cook, cut and peel squash and apples. Add both to the pot, then add 2 cups of stock. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to low, then cover. Cook until the squash and apples are very soft (about 20 to 30 minutes).

If you're adding croutons, now's the time to prepare them. Place bread cubes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sage and salt, then toss to coat. Spread cubes in a single layer, then bake until lightly crisp and brown (10 to 12 minutes), tossing once halfway through. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, toss to coat, then set aside until ready to serve.

Once apples and squash in soup pot are tender, puree the soup with an immersion blender or carefully transfer it to a food processor fitted with a steel blade to puree in batches. Return soup to pot once pureed. Add 1 cup of remaining chicken stock, then stir, adding a bit more stock as needed to reach your desired consistency (the soup will thicken somewhat when stored). Leave the texture fairly thick and rich.

Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, topped with sage croutons if desired.

Source: Well Plated by Erin

2. White Bean & Kale Soup

Makes 6 servings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped raw kale
  • 4 cups low-fat, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans white beans, such as cannellini or navy, undrained
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped parsley

In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add garlic and onion; sauté until soft.  Add kale and sauté, stirring, until wilted. Add 3 cups of broth, 2 cups of beans, and all of the tomato, herbs, salt, and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes.

In a blender or food processor, mix the remaining beans and broth until smooth. Stir into soup to thicken. Simmer 15 minutes. 

Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Trying to conceive?

While nothing can guarantee conception, incorporating certain foods can help set you up for success. Optimize your preconception nutrition with these nutrient-dense fertility superfoods.

Read More

3. Veggistrone Soup

makes 10 servings
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions (2 medium)
  • 2 cups chopped celery (4 medium stalks)
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (1 medium)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chopped cabbage
  • 3 cups chopped cauliflower (about 1/2 medium)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 medium)
  • 2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces, or frozen, thawed
  • 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney or pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chopped fresh spinach or 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • ½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 10 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Pro tip: Add leftover chicken or whole wheat pasta to make it even heartier!


Heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven (8-quart or larger) over medium heat. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 13 to 15 minutes. Add cabbage, cauliflower, carrots and green beans; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 10 minutes more.

Add broth, water, tomato sauce, tomatoes, beans and bay leaf; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in spinach and simmer for 10 minutes more.

Discard the bay leaf. Stir in basil. Top each portion with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Source: Eating Well

4. Black Bean Soup with Jalapeño & Cilantro

Makes 4 servings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1-2 teaspoons chopped jalapeño chili with seeds, divided
  • 2 15-16-ounce cans black beans, undrained
  • 1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Chopped green onions
  • Crumbled feta cheese

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Mix in cumin and 1 teaspoon jalapeño. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, and broth; bring soup to boil.

Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer 3 cups of soup to blender and pureé until smooth. Return pureé to pot.  Simmer soup until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon jalapeño, if desired.

Remember: You don't have to eat "perfectly" every day (or any day). Small, sustainable nutrition changes - like adding in more veggies, cooking at home more often, or drinking more water throughout the day - are most beneficial in the long run. 

5. Curried Lentil Soup with Chickpeas 

Makes 4 servings
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) curry powder
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add half of chopped garlic; stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 minutes longer.

Add 2 tablespoons curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lentils and 2 cups chicken stock and 2 cups apple juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pureé chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining garlic in processor. Add chickpea pureé and butter to lentil soup. Season to taste with salt.

Eat up!

We encourage you to savor the time you spend making these warming winter soups either by yourself (hello, alone time) or with a loved one (could make a great date night idea). 

Remember that nourishing your body with nutrient-rich meals that are also delicious can only improve your chances of conceiving and is always to your benefit - and your future baby’s benefit too. Enjoy these delicious fertility-friendly soups this winter (or any time of year) and feel confident that you're fueling your body with fantastic, good-for-you ingredients.

As Julia Child would say...bon appétit!

Jill Hickey, RDN

Jill is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who has been providing nutrition guidance to children and adults for over 20 years. She currently supports both PCOS and fertility patients at Illume Fertility with her broad experience and unique perspective. Jill is passionate about helping people work towards their healthiest selves by providing evidence-based, sustainable, personalized diet and lifestyle guidance.

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