Hearty Soups For Fall And Winter

Days are getting cooler and the nights longer. Cravings for a healthy hearty soup fit the bill.Soups are a great way to combine the nutrients and phyto-chemicals from many vegetables in one pot. We are eating a variety of vegetables that supply many healthful substances that work synergistically to protect us from at-risk diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, obesity to name a few. Try these recipes to warm you up as well as protecting your health during these cool and cold months.

The great news about these soups, water-soluble nutrients from some vegetables are released into the  cooking water when we consumed these soups. However, if  you are making home made soup and adding meat, such as lean beef or chicken to make the broth, simmer the meat first to make the broth before adding the vegetables to minimize their cooking time and loss of nutrients. You can also divide  your soup into individual portions and freeze for days when you want an easy way to have extra servings of vegetables and beans.

These recipes are healthy, low in calories and fat and are chock-full of anti-oxidant protection. Root vegetables like carrots, white or sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, winter squash as well as beans can be pureed to make a rich and velvety base for a soup. You can add a tablespoon of low-fat sour cream, plain yogurt or evaporated skim milk as well as cornstarch diluted with a small amount of cold water, to get that creamy taste without adding high fat.

Mediterranean Tomato – Vegetable Soup

  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 2 roasted red peppers from a jar, chopped
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Directions:

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion and celery until onions are translucent. Add garlic, tomatoes, peppers, basil and broth. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered for 5 minutes. Add zucchini and cook  for another 5 minutes. Season with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. serve garnished with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 serving. Per serving: 76 calories, 2 g total fat, 11 g carbohydrates, 3g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 558 mg sodium.

LENTIL and VEGETABLE SOUP

  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano or 2 bay leafs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. lightly toasted pine nuts, for garnish

Directions:

In large soup pot, place lentils, onion, carrots, celery and 3 cups of broth. Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, about 30 -40 minutes. Before serving, in small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add oregano and saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant and just turning golden. Quickly add hot oil and oregano to lentil soup stirring to combine. Season soup with salt and pepper and garnish with pine nuts before serving.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 132 calories, 3 gram total fat, 20 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein, 7 g dietary fiber 301 mg sodium

To complement these soups, serve with whole grain flat breads or crackers and your daily servings of fruits and you have a complete meal – one third of your daily  food intake. Soups are filling and nutrient dense with dietary fiber.

Do you enjoy soup? What’s your favorite kind? Leave a comment below.

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