Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Vegetable Soups

 Vegetable based soups are healthy, nutritious and good for weight watchers


Soups are light, healthy and nutritious food, specially the vegetable based ones are low in calories. Vegetable soups are great even during the summers, many taste great colder, chilled or at room temperature. Packed with valuable  goodness of nature, vegetable soups offer a high nutrient density with a low energy density - this means that we get lots of key nutrients including vitamins and minerals for relatively few calories.

In persuit of creating healthier meals and for maximum benefits from vegetables, I experimented cooking different vegetable based soups. They turned out pretty good, great texture and flavours combined together in palatable and of course without adding calories and adding vital vitamins and minerals in diet.

Mostly I serve the soups with toasted multigrain bread with or without Olive butter, or sandwiches and wraps made with grilled fish/chicken and raw vegetable, over wholewheat multigrain bread pr pita/roti, and fresh cut vegetable salads with a light dressing. These soups and sandwiches meals are a filling afternoon snack,  pack it for office lunch, brunch on Sundays, light evening meal, sides at big dinners or lunches. 

The bakery at the Hyperstar Karachi bakes a selection of great tasting artisan whole loaves.

Here are some important tips on ingredients, note that the calorie count changes with the addition and deletion, or replacement of ingredients.

-       Many recipe calls for stock, I used vegetable stocks, sometime Knorr Chicken Cubes, mostly home made chicken broth and for many recipes completely omitted it out and used plain water.
-       In cream soups, I used reduced/low fat light cream, and got some delicious results using Lebaneh also referred to as greek yogurt, soft cheese.
-       For garnishing I used toasted peanuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds as well.
-       Please note that all the dullops of extra cream/labnah/sour cream, or tossing the seeds also add calories.

 Some well tested Recipes

Broccoli Soup

  1- Cream of Broccoli Soup:

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbs chopped garlic or roasted garlic flakes
2 big tomatoes, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Red Chillie Flakes

4 cups home made chicken broth chicken/vegetable

  • Heat oil in heavy medium pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add broccoli, onion, garlic and saute until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes.
  • Now add broccoli
  • Add stock and bring to boil.
  • Simmer uncovered until broccoli is tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Pour in cream (optional if you simple broccoli soup don’t add cream/lebaneh).
  • With an immersion blender, puree the soup.
  •  Add salt, to taste, and the pepper.
  • Replace the lid back on the pot.
  • Serve hot garnished with sour cream/lebaneh and toasted seeds.
  •  Toasted multigrain bread makes it a complete meal.
Cream of Broccoli Soup
African Peanut Soup

2- African Peanut Soup:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

 medium sized onions, chopped

2 large red or green peppers, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced
6 big crushed tomatoes

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth/Knorr chicken cube

1 teaspoon fresh pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder

2/3 cup extra crunchy natural peanut butter

1 tablespoon fresh corriander  
1.              Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onions and bell peppers until lightly browned and tender, adding in garlic at the end to keep from burning.
2.              Stir in tomatoes and their liquid, the vegetable broth, pepper, and chili powder. Reduce heat to low, uncover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
3.              Stir in peanut butter and corriander until well blended, and serve garnished with toasted peanuts and corriander.

Makes:   4 - 6 servings

Butternut Squash (use same recipe for pumpkin soup, zucchini, or loki)

  •               1KG Butternut squash/pumpkin. peeled and cubed
  •             2 medium onions
  •          6 cloves garlic (optional)
  •         2 Tbsp. butter or vegetable oil
  •      1/2 tsp. salt plus more to taste
  •      8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1.              Halve, seed, peel, and cube the butternut squash. Set aside.
2.              Halve, peel, and chop the onion. Mince the garlic, if you like.
3.              Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the butter or oil and the chopped onion. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes.
4.              Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
5.              Add the squash and the broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.
6.              Transfer small batches to a blender. Or use a smoothy blender to puree
7.              Add more salt and pepper to taste.
8-       Serve with  a dullop of sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Butternut Soup

Vegetable bean and pasta soup-A healthy one pot meal

1 comment:

  1. i have gone through many yummy yummy recepies but yors are healthy too.thanks a lot dear.