Thursday, March 26, 2009

That "Soup Nazi" Was On to Something

Vegetable based soups are a great way to get one to two servings of vegetables at once. Furthermore, for those watching their weight, studies have shown that cup of soup eaten before your meal means it is far less likely that you'll overeat. If you have the time to make a batch of tasty soup that's great. If you don't... here's a way around it that would make the Soup Nazi jealous.

Stock up on the "boxed" soups then "doctor" them.

These are not your Campbell Soup cans with lots and lots of sodium and often the first two ingredients are not water and a vegetable. Some are even made with organic ingredients for those concerned about pesticides. They come in boxes with pouring spouts so you can store and serve over the course of several days. I've found three brands of these types of soups in the Metro DC area:

Trader Joe's (available at Trader Joe's)
Imagine Soup (in the "healthy" section of Giant)
Pacific Natural Foods (found at Whole Foods)

On a regular basis I stock up on the tomato, carrot, squash, black bean, sweet potato and sweet pea. They are delicious as is but for those who want to add an additional vegetables, a half a cup of frozen chopped spinach for every cup of soup is an easy addition for all of them. A tablespoon or two of flax meal not only makes the soup more filling but even healthier. Remember, flax meal has a slightly nutty taste.

In terms of getting some flavor variety out of that one box of soup try these additions:

1) Curry powder in the squash or carrot soups (half a cup of chickpeas also works in this too)
2) Chili Powder or cumin in the tomato, carrot or squash soups (half a cup of black beans also)
3) Chopped tomatoes (or salsa) in the black bean soup (try topping with chopped avocado)

Stirring in a teaspoon of non-fat sour cream or even greek style yogurt gives these a creamy texture.

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