Posts Tagged 'soup'

Tomato and Coriander Soup

Is it possible to have too many tomatoes? Some people say it is. I am still eating cherry tomatoes right off the bushes, but I had some bigger  farmers’ market tomatoes to use. This soup, from my favorite low fat Indian cookbook by Husain and Kanani, has a little heat to it because of the black pepper. If you want it milder, use less.  Also, when I make it again, I think I will cut the oil down to 1 teaspoon. It would bring the fat grams down to about 1/serving, and I actually found it a bit oily. And, it says to puree it in a food processor, which did not make a completely smooth soup. I rather like the slight texture, but I think if you pureed it in 2 batches in a blender it would be smoother.  This was almost too much liquid for the food processor, and began seeping out and made a mess.

Tomato and Coriander Soup

1 ½ lbs tomatoes, peeled and chopped (see Note)
1Tablespoon oil
1 bay leaf
4 spring onions, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro)
3 cups water
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Non-fat sour cream or yogurt to garnish

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and fry the tomatoes, bay leaf, and spring onion for a few minutes until soft. Gradually add the salt, garlic, pepper, coriander, and water. Simmer uncovered over low heat for 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in a little cold water to form a creamy paste. Remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool a bit. Puree in a food processor.

Return the soup to the pan and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir over medium low heat for about 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Makes 4 servings  at about 3.5 grams of fat/serving

NOTE: To peel tomatoes, plunge them in very hot water for a few minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly. The skin will peel off easily.

Lentil Soup with Greens

My garden has gone crazy. The tomatoes and corn are making progress but the various greens have grown faster than I can eat them.

I have been picking them daily, and giving away sackfuls.

I have salad greens – mixed lettuces growing at the foot of the corn:

I have escarole:

I have Pak Choy:

But most of all, I have a forest of turnip greens.

I need to thin them and eat them so the turnips can grow without being squished,

I decided to make soup to put in the freezer for lunches.  This soup is rather plain. When I ate the first bowl, I wound up adding some ground horseradish to give the soup a bit of kick. You might want to add some hot pepper sauce to the mix – although I think that having it a little plain lets me doctor it to suit my tastes when I eat it.

Lentil Soup with Greens

1 3/4 cups dried brown lentils
2 quarts water
1 cup diced carrot
1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
3 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 cups torn turnip greens (or chard or any other greens you like)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Plain nonfat yogurt  (to garnish)

Sort and wash the lentils. Combine lentils, water, and next 7 ingredients (water through onion) in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until tender.


Add the cumin. Discard bay leaves and parsley. Add the greens to soup; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until greens are tender. Remove soup from heat. Stir in juice and pepper. soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with yogurt. Makes 6 servings at about 1 gram of fat/serving.

Leprechaun Soup

Every St. Patrick’s Day I fall prey to the desire to make corned beef and cabbage. I choose a nice corned beef brisket and set to the task of cooking it.  Despite the fact that I cut away all visible fat, and simmer and drain it several times, it is still greasy – and I inevitably get sick from eating it. It also never tastes as good as I remember it from my mother’s kitchen.

So this year I decided to make something a little healthier. I suppose this recipe, originally from American Profile, is “Leprechaun” because of its green color, and the corn represents the leprechaun’s gold, although I prefer my gold in 24 karat bars. No leprechauns were damaged in its making.

The soup is rather light, more of an appetizer  than a meal soup, although with a nice wedge of Irish soda bread it would make a nice lunch.  This also gave me a chance to use the new toy I got myself for Christmas – a mighty  immersion blender.  I plan to do a lot more with it in the future.

Leprechaun Soup

3 tablespoons butter
1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed (They seem to only have 16 ounce packages of frozen peas now, so I weighed out 10 ounces from the bag.)
1 medium head Boston lettuce, chopped (I used the remains of a bag of butter lettuce – which had a few leaves of red butter lettuce in it)
4 green onions, chopped (green and white parts)
5 cups lower-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can corn kernels, drained
1/4 teaspoon salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
Non-fat sour cream

Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add peas, lettuce and green onions. Cook until onions are translucent, stirring frequently.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until peas are tender, about 8 minutes. Working in 1-cup batches, purée mixture in a blender. Return puréed mixture to the pan. (Otherwise, stick your immersion blender in the pan and whirl away – it’s much easier.) Add corn and cook over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes, until thoroughly heated. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into individual serving bowls and top each serving with a tablespoon or so of  sour cream. Makes 5 servings at about 6.5 grams of fat/serving.

I forgot to put in the dollop of sour cream before I took the photo – and we all know that everything is better with a dollop of sour cream.


Dijon Chicken Stew

When you are eating low fat, you wind up eating a lot of chicken breasts. It’s inevitable.  Fortunately, chicken breasts are rather “neutral” and can be made in a lot of interesting ways, from breaded chicken fingers to curries. But I am always looking for something new to do with them so I don’t get bored. This is a very tasty way to make chicken that is a little different. The sauce is rather brothy, so much so that I plan to experiment with the recipe to create a soup. I had a bit of trouble finding escarole – maybe because it is winter. You could probably use another kind of greens, but escarole has the right crunch. The original recipe was from Eating Well, and I reduced the amount of olive oil to lower the fat a bit. It reheated well for lunch, but I’m not sure it would freeze well because the greens might lose their texture, which is a big part of the charm of the dish.  I served it with a nice crusty bread.  Warning – this is VERY garlicky – which I loved, and was one of the real attractions of the stew.  But if you’re not a garlic fan, you might try to reduce the garlic by half. Don’t eliminate it though. Garlic is one of the  flavors that make this stew special.
Dijon Chicken Stew
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sliced shallots
1/4 cup chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried (I don’t like rosemary – I used marjoram and I think you could use which ever herb is your favorite.)
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
8 cups chopped escarole (1 medium head)
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Whisk water, mustard and cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pan over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic and rosemary (or other herb); cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine is almost evaporated, 5 to 6 minutes.
Add chicken, escarole and broth. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk the cornstarch mixture and add to the pot. Bring the stew to a boil and cook for 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper.  Makes 4 servings @ 3.5 grams of fat/serving.

Ginger Pumpkin Tomato Soup

It is still cold, and to add insult to injury, it is snowing.  After I made six pounds of buffalo pot roast this morning to fill my freezer (and heat my kitchen), I decided to make more soup – the overall cure for cold and snowy weather. I had canned pumpkin left over from an earlier project, so that became the basis of my recipe search. This soup was a reader contribution to American Profile (another of those magazines that gets tucked into print newspapers).   Although the ingredients seemed a bit odd together, I did have them all in the house, and it was quick to make. I minced my onion and celery in the food processor, which gave them a nice texture in the soup. Also, since I had already used the processor, I just reused it to puree the stewed tomatoes.

The soup is quite thick and has some texture. It was really good with a dollop or two of non-fat sour cream in it (Everything is good with a dollop of sour cream!). I ate it for dinner tonight, packed one container to take for lunch this week, and the rest are carefully packed and labeled in the freezer for other cold days which, no doubt, are yet to come.

Ginger Pumpkin Tomato Soup

2 Tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups minced yellow onion

1 cup minced celery

3/4 teaspoon dried ginger

1 14 ounce can of chicken or vegetable broth

1 (14-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

2 cups (or a 15 ounce can if you’re not using up leftovers) pumpkin purée

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Non-fat sour cream

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or heavy skillet over medium heat (I used my ever-present big wok). Add the onions and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened (and your kitchen smells warms and delicious.) Sprinkle the dried ginger on top, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the broth, and bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, purée the canned tomatoes (with the juice) in a blender or food processor. Stir the tomatoes and the pumpkin into the broth mixture, and simmer covered for about 20 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more broth or a little water. Season with pepper, and garnish with sour cream. Makes 6 servings at about 3.5 grams of fat/serving.

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

I woke up the other day expecting a much-hyped snow storm, and it was bright and sunny outside. Nary a flake of snow graced the weeds outside my window. It was, however, only 6 degrees F.  This is entirely unreasonable.

Time to make more soup. It warms the kitchen when cooking and warms you when you eat it. This mushroom soup, originally from Eating Well, is nice and thick. I used a mix of mushrooms: cremini (which now seem to be called “baby bellas”), a portabella, and some button mushrooms.

I expect it would be just as good with only one kind of mushroom – whatever is economical to buy. When I first tasted the soup it seemed like it was too dilly, but the next day it was great.  The flavors were complex and satisfying. It pays to use Hungarian paprika (not the hot kind) because it delivers a fuller, richer flavor than regular paprika.

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, diced
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons paprika, preferably Hungarian
2 Tablespoons dried dill
4 cups mushroom broth or reduced-sodium beef broth (I used mushroom broth)
2 cups non-fat milk
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup non-fat sour cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
I halved the larger mushrooms before I sliced them.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or other large pan over medium-high heat. (I make everything in my big flat-bottomed wok.) Add mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, 10 to 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are very soft, about 3 minutes more. Add flour, paprika and dill and cook, stirring, for 15 seconds. Add broth, milk and potatoes; cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in sour cream and salt. Makes 6 servings at 4 grams of fat/serving.

Fresh Tomato Minestrone Soup

The tomatoes are still coming on strong, but the nip in the air once the sun goes down tells me that it’s soup making weather. I still have a lot of produce coming out of the garden, although the plants themselves are starting to look rather tired.

Minestrone means “big soup”. It is one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine, and no doubt thrifty Italian housewives did as I did – used whatever vegetables were in season. Minestrone ranges from thick and dense to a more broth-like soup with large quantities of diced and lightly cooked vegetables. It typically has beans in it, and sometimes includes meat or pasta.
This soup used up all the little roma tomatoes, although I expect when I go out tomorrow morning there will be more of them.

This is not a heavy soup. It is more on the broth with vegetables side. You could easily add some pieces of chicken to the soup, or some pasta or sprinkle on a couple of tablespoons of parmesan cheese, as long as you accounted for the fat grams. I have been sprinkling 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan over the soup when I eat it – for an additional 4 grams of fat/serving.

Fresh Tomato Minestrone

1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 or 5 sprigs of mixed fresh herbs. You could use rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram – what ever you like best
4 parsley sprigs
2-3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thoroughly cleaned and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium zucchini or yellow squash (or half of each for color), diced
1 carrot, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 can of cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
1 pound diced roma tomatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced green beans

In a large pot over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Tie herbs and parsley in a bundle with kitchen string if desired (this makes it easier to fish out later). Add the herbs, leeks, garlic, zucchini or yellow squash, carrot, salt and pepper to the pot and sauté until the vegetables are golden, 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add broth, beans, tomatoes, green beans and 4 cups water to the pot. Simmer partly covered 45-60 minutes. Discard herbs. Thin with a little water if the soup is too thick.  Makes 6 servings at 3 grams of fat/serving.


I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

More about me.

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