If you’ve resolved to eat more healthfully in 2014, think soup.
It’s filling and, when made with the right ingredients, can make you feel better by the bowlful.
“There is research that suggests when you have a bowl of soup before a meal you consume fewer calories,” said Bethany Thayer, registered dietitian nutritionist and news media spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “The fluid is helping give that sense of fullness.”
You need only look to the latest food trends for soup recipe inspiration. Vegetables are everywhere right now, and for good reason. They are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Just go for the greens, says Larissa Shain, a registered dietitian with the Metabolic Nutrition and Weight Management Program at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, Mich.
“Using the green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables means it will be high in vitamins and fiber,” she says.
And green veggies, Shain adds, contain chlorophyll, which is rich in magnesium. “Magnesium lowers your risk for strokes, diabetes and osteoporosis.”
Shain’s other tips for healthy soups: Use a low-sodium stock (her favorite is Trader Joe’s boxed chicken stock with 70 milligrams of sodium per 1 cup), no-salt-added canned beans and fresh or frozen vegetables.
Today we spotlight two soups that taste good and are good for you. They are low in sodium, fat and calories, and high in vitamins and fiber.
Larissa Shain says you can make your own broth as a base for soups. Here’s how: Place a whole chicken, water and vegetables (onions, carrots, celery) in a slow cooker. Let cook all day on low. Remove the chicken, pick the meat off it, strain the liquid into a bowl. Cool and refrigerate it. Chill it until the fat rises and gels on the top. Remove and discard the fat.
Spicy Cauliflower Soup With Almond and Pepper Relish
Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 40 minutes
7 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 medium head)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
f cup slivered almonds (toasted) or Marcona almonds, finely chopped
f cup diced roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh mint
1 medium clove garlic, minced
a teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a 4-quart pot over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt, then add the cauliflower and boil until very tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the cauliflower in a colander set over a large bowl to catch the cooking liquid and let the cauliflower cool slightly.
Working in 2 batches, purée each batch of cauliflower with about 2 cups of the cooking liquid and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a blender until very smooth. Start out using less of the cooking water so you reach the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt. You can make the soup up to 4 hours ahead.
In a small bowl, combine almonds, peppers, oil, mint, garlic and pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The relish can be made up to 1 hour ahead.
When ready to serve, gently reheat the soup over medium-low heat. Garnish each serving with a spoonful of the almond relish.
Adapted from “Soups and Sandwiches 2011” by Fine Cooking (Taunton Press Publishing, $9.99). Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
110 calories (67 percent from fat), 8 g fat (2 g sat. fat), 6 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 165 mg sodium, 8 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber.
Portuguese White Bean Soup
Makes: 8-9 cups / Preparation time: 20 minutes / Total time: 45 minutes
1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red or yellow bell pepper
1 bay leaf
Pinch of salt
a teaspoon ground fennel
1 medium peeled potato
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
8 ounces fresh or frozen chopped leaf spinach, collard greens, kale or mustard greens
2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
1 can (15.5 ounces) no-salt-added cannellini beans, undrained
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
In soup pot, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until the onions soften. While the onions sauté, chop the bell pepper.
Add the bay leaf, salt, fennel and bell pepper to the pot, and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Cube the potato and add to the pot along with the sherry, lemon juice, greens and stock. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes and greens are tender. Stir in the beans and gently reheat. Add black pepper to taste and garnish with parsley.
From Larissa Shain, registered dietitian. Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
127 calories (25 percent from fat), 4 g fat (1 g sat. fat), 22 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 122 mg sodium, no cholesterol, 5 g fiber.