LET’S MAKE SOUP for a Quick and Easy Dinner!
February 1, 2021
Guest blog: Christina Boydston, RDN, LDN
There are so many reasons we’re challenged with planning nutritious meals:
Full-time jobs, childcare responsibilities, limited ability to stand and work in the kitchen. But there are some simple things that can help expand your palate and hopefully make this important task a little easier. One simple, nutritious meal is soup.
When making a soup, anything goes – and the more colors, the better! Try to use what you have on hand; your soup will be different every time. Here’s a list of a few foods to keep in the pantry or fridge that can be ready at a moment’s notice.
- Fresh and frozen veggies pack nutrients. Unlike canned vegetables, they’re also less likely to have preservatives or added sodium. Veggies can be boiled, steamed, roasted in the oven or mixed into a soup or stew.
- Green: broccoli, zucchini, greens, bell peppers, green beans, spinach, okra
- Red: tomatoes, bell peppers
- Purple: eggplant, purple onions, purple potatoes, purple cabbage
- Orange: carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, pumpkin
- Yellow: squash, corn, bell peppers, spaghetti squash
- White: onions, chopped potatoes, shredded cabbage
- Starch: brown rice, potatoes, wheat pasta, no-yolk egg noodles
- Protein: beans; lentils; boiled, baked or sautéed chicken; sautéed ground beef
- Broth or stock base: chicken, beef, vegetable, turkey, bone broth
- Seasoning: lemon juice, Italian herb blends, basil, oregano, cayenne pepper, curry, cumin, masala, turmeric, paprika, black pepper, Mrs. Dash, garlic, ginger, low-sodium creole, salt
Try this basic recipe—you can adjust quantities based on ingredients and flavors you like:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1-2 cups sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 28 oz. crushed tomatoes or 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
- ½ cup lentils or 1-2 cans of beans
- 1 cup pasta or ½ cup brown rice
- 32 oz. broth plus 32 oz. water (to start with; you can always add more water if soup begins to cook dry)
TO MAKE THE SOUP BASE: (makes enough for approximately 4-6 servings): Put in a large stock pot the olive oil, diced onion, diced/dried garlic, chopped celery, carrots (you can also add mushrooms in this step if you want).
Sautee on medium to medium-high heat until the edges of onions begin to change slightly in color.
Add to your soup base the broth, whichever chopped or sliced frozen/fresh veggies you chose and pre-cooked meat, dried lentils or canned beans. Season to taste.
Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium and allow to simmer until starch is tender (remember, lentils and starches will absorb some water. You may need to add more water before the soup is done).
For a more filling, more calorie dense meal, pair with garlic bread, low-carb tortilla shell toasted with cheese or a grilled cheese sandwich.
Voila! Dinner is ready! And don’t forget to freeze the leftovers in single or double portion bowls for quick microwavable lunches or dinners!