Potato-Leek Soup

Makes 4 servings
Although leeks are a perfectly common vegetable in many parts of the world, they have never, for some reason, managed to achieve that status in this country. Because the demand for leeks is low, they tend to be quite expensive and usually languish in the supermarket produce section. They deserve better than that, and here is a good recipe to start with.

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 leeks, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound all-purpose potatoes, thinly sliced
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup minced fresh dill

  1. In a nonstick Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion, and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the leeks and onion are soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes, broth, water, salt, pepper, and 1/3 cup of the dill, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are very tender and falling apart, about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the remaining 1/3 cup minced dill and serve.

From The Wellness Kitchen, by the editors of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter and the staff of the Wellness Kitchen

per serving: 223 calories, 5.8g total fat (1g saturated), 3mg cholesterol, 4g dietary fiber, 39g carbohydrate, 5g protein, 815mg sodium.
good source of: folate, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C.

Basic Black Bean Soup

Makes 4 servings
Like the basic black dress, this soup takes to all sorts of accessorizing. To shorten the cooking time of the beans a bit, you could soak them overnight in cold water to cover by 2 inches. When you’re ready to make the soup, drain off the soaking water before proceeding. The cooking time in step 2 will be cut in half. Timing alert: This soup takes at least 1 1/2 hours to make, and if you choose to soak the beans ahead of time, you should expect to start the night before.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups dried black beans
9 cups water
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt

  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is tender, about 7 minutes. Add the beans and water, and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce to a simmer and skim any foam that has risen to the surface. Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, cumin, and salt. Cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender, about 1 ½ hours. Check occasionally to make sure there’s enough water to just cover the beans.
  3. Transfer about one-fourth of the beans, with liquid, to a food processor or blender and puree. Then stir the puree back into the soup. (Or, if you have a hand blender, blend about one-fourth of the soup directly in the pot.)

From The Wellness Kitchen, by the editors of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter and the staff of the Wellness Kitchen

per serving: 374 calories, 4.5g total fat (0.7g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 24g dietary fiber, 65g carbohydrate, 21g protein, 689mg sodium.
good source of: fiber, folate, magnesium, potassium, thiamin.

Cream of Tomato Soup

Makes 4 servings
To help give the soup a creamy texture, the recipe starts out with a roux, which is a combination of fat and flour (traditionally it would be butter, but we use olive oil instead). When the roux is heated, the starch granules in the flour swell to thicken the soup.

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups tomato-vegetable juice
1 cup evaporated low-fat (2%) milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon tarragon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
4 teaspoons reduced-fat sour cream

  1. In a large nonstick saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the flour and stir well to coat. Gradually stir in the tomato-vegetable juice and evaporated milk and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the basil, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and brown sugar. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to develop the flavors and thicken the soup.
  3. Serve the soup topped with a dollop of the sour cream.

From The Wellness Kitchen, by the editors of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter and the staff of the Wellness Kitchen

per serving: 167 calories, 3.4g total fat (1.4g saturated), 8mg cholesterol, 3g dietary fiber, 28g carbohydrate, 8g protein, 869mg sodium.
good source of: calcium, lycopene, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin C.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Makes 4 servings
At its purest, chicken noodle soup is mostly chicken broth, so it pays to make your own or use a really high-quality store-bought broth. Some gourmet delis even sell refrigerated “homemade” broth.

6 cups chicken broth
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup broken vermicelli or angel hair pasta
2 cups diced cooked chicken breast
1/3 cup minced fresh dill

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over medium heat. Add the carrots, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook until the carrots are tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the noodles to the boiling broth and cook, covered, until the noodles are tender. Drain.
  3. Add the chicken and dill to the boiling soup and cook just until the chicken is heated through, about 1 minute.

From The Wellness Kitchen, by the editors of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter and the staff of the Wellness Kitchen

per serving: 211 calories, 2.8g total fat (0.8g saturated), 60mg cholesterol, 2g dietary fiber, 15g carbohydrate, 28g protein, 886mg sodium.
good source of: beta carotene, niacin, selenium, vitamin B6.

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Makes 6 servings
1 package (1/4 ounce) dried porcini mushrooms
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 cups (1 pound) split peas
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
6 cups water

  1. In a small heatproof bowl, combine the dried mushrooms and the boiling water, and let stand for 20 minutes or until softened. Reserving the soaking liquid, scoop out the dried mushrooms. Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter or a paper towel-lined sieve.
  2. In a nonstick Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the onion is golden brown and tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the split peas, tomato paste, salt, pepper, sage, mushrooms, and their soaking liquid. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the split peas are tender, about 45 minutes.
  4. Working in batches, transfer the split peas to a food processor and process until smooth. (Or, if you have a hand blender, puree the soup in the pan.) Return to the saucepan and heat gently over very low heat.

per serving: 274 calories, 3.2g total fat (0.4g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 18g dietary fiber, 46g carbohydrate, 17g protein, 666mg sodium.
good source of: beta carotene, fiber, folate, lutein, thiamin, potassium.

From The Wellness Kitchen, by the editors of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter and the staff of the Wellness Kitchen

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at HealthCommunities.com

Published: 18 Aug 2010

Last Modified: 12 Jan 2015