By Carolyn Malcoun, September 22, 2010 - 11:21am
I’m head over heels in love with soup. Once the weather turns cooler, I make a batch of soup (or more!) each week, trying new recipes as well as improving upon tried-and-true favorites. I love the whole process of creating a pot of soup—from chopping to the final stir—and the simplicity of serving it. Just add a hunk of warm bread and dinner is served.
Here are three more reasons I love soup:
1. It’s a great way to use up leftovers or produce items that need to be eaten. When I decide to make a pot of soup, I start by surveying my refrigerator: do I have any opened boxes or cans of broth in the fridge? What vegetables are starting to wilt? Could any of the leftovers see a new life in this soup?
Related Link: Healthy New Ways to Use Up Your Leftovers
2. One pot yields endless meals. My husband and I eat some for lunch or dinner the day I make it. Then I divide the leftovers between my freezer and my refrigerator. I can defrost the frozen soup on a night when making dinner is the last thing I feel like doing. And the soup in the fridge can go to work with one or both of us for lunch the next day.
Related Link: Healthy Creamy Soup Recipes with a Fraction of the Fat
3. Eating soup might help me lose weight. One recent study showed that people who started lunch with vegetable soup ended up eating 20 percent less than those who skipped the soup. Anything to trick me into eating less helps!
Related Link: Soups and Salads to Help You Lose Weight
This simple pureed vegetable soup recipe is everything I love in a soup and more. You can make 4 different vegetable soups from this one recipe—just pick a vegetable and start cooking. Got wilted carrots? This is the perfect way to use them. This soup makes 8 cups, which provides my husband Dan and me with a couple of meals. And it’s a great starter or accompaniment to a hearty salad for dinner to help me eat less.
Here is the basic method for making a simple pureed vegetable soup and variations for carrot, potato, broccoli and pea soup.
Related Link: 22 Soup Recipes to Make This Fall
Pureed Vegetable Soup
Active time: 35 to 45 minutes | Total: 35 to 50 minutes
To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or parsley
Vegetable of choice (see variations, below)
Water (see variations, below)
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, “no-chicken” broth or vegetable broth
1/2 cup half-and-half (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until the butter melts. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme (or parsley); cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
2. Stir in vegetable of choice. Add water and broth; bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook until very tender. (See variations, below, for timing.)
3. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Stir in half-and-half (if using), salt and pepper.
Makes 8 servings, about 1 cup each.
5 cups chopped peeled potatoes
2 cups water
Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Per serving: 128 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 2 g fiber; 434 mg sodium; 460 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (15% daily value).
5 cups chopped carrots
2 cups water
Simmer for about 25 minutes.
Per serving: 77 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 3 g fiber; 484 mg sodium; 396 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (269% daily value).
8 cups chopped broccoli (stems and florets)
2 cups water
Simmer for about 8 minutes.
Per serving: 69 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 3 g fiber; 458 mg sodium; 348 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (80% daily value), Vitamin A (23% dv), Folate (21% dv).
6 cups peas (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup water
Simmer for 1 minute.
Per serving: 131 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 7 g protein; 6 g fiber; 431 mg sodium; 419 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (28% daily value), Folate & Vitamin A (18% dv).
What’s your favorite kind of soup? Tell us what you think below.