Whether we want to admit it or not, winter is here, and winter means we are in for many long, chilly nights. It’s the time of year when many of us turn to warming comfort foods. Well, here is a tip for a healthy and easy way to warm up your winter evenings: homemade soup. Soup is very versatile. From chunky to purée, and broth-based to creamy, the options for soup are endless! Here is a short guide to making your own soup from scratch.
A flavourful soup starts with a good base – the broth. When selecting a broth for soup, choose options that have less than 15% DV (daily value) of sodium per serving or pick up a no salt added broth, like the PC Blue Menu broths. Use a variety of fresh or dried herbs to season and flavour your soup instead adding extra salt. Thyme, rosemary and fresh bay leaf are a great addition to a chunky chicken and rice soup; or add a little curry powder and ground ginger to a puréed squash lentil soup.
Canned tomatoes can also provide delicious depth to any of your favourite soup recipes, such as a spicy chicken tortilla soup or a smooth basil tomato soup. Most grocery stores now carry a wide variety of canned tomatoes seasoned with different herbs and spices or prepared in different ways, like Italian or fire roasted. Try experimenting with all varieties to create different soups every time! Just remember to choose the low sodium varieties of canned tomatoes most often.
Once you have chosen a broth, your ingredient list is endless! Many soups begin with onions, peppers, carrots and celery but think outside the box. Parsnips, peas, corn, mushroom and even kale are also delicious in soup. Beans, lentils, whole grains such as brown rice, barely, quinoa and pasta provide great texture and lots of fibre.
Making soup can also be as easy as dumping your ingredients in a slow cooker and letting them simmer through the day while you get on with everything else!
There is no denying how delicious and comforting a creamy soup can be, but be aware that most are prepared using significant amounts of heavy cream. An easy way to cut the cream without sacrificing taste and texture is as simple as adding puréed squash or sweet potato to your recipe. The gingered carrot soup featured below uses this trick - it is delicious and very creamy without the use of cream or other dairy.
Gingered Carrot Soup
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped ginger root
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 large carrots, sliced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut in chunks
½ tsp (2 mL) curry powder
1 pkg (900 mL) PC Blue Menu Chicken Broth
½ cup (125 mL) fresh orange juice
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
1. In medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat; cook leek and ginger for 7 to 9 minutes, stirring frequently, or until softened. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in carrots, sweet potato and curry powder. Add chicken broth and 2-½ cups (625 mL) water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes or until carrots and sweet potato are soft when pierced with a knife.
2. Stir in orange juice and salt. Using an immersion blender or stand blender, purée until smooth.
Per serving: 80 calories, fat 3.5 g (0.5 g of which is saturated), sodium 220 mg, carbohydrate 13 g, fibre 2 g, protein 1 g. Excellent source of Vitamin A, Low in saturated fat
Tip: Use whatever curry powder you have on hand in this lovely soup; you may want to decrease the amount slightly if you use hot curry powder.
Recipe source: pc.ca
Kerri Robichaud is a Registered Dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in Amherst, Nova Scotia.
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