It is almost as easy to make vegetable soup as it is to open a can of vegetable soup. And homemade soup will have more flavor and more nutrients than what comes off the shelf. A hearty, filling soup, along with some whole grain bread and a salad, is a satisfying meal on a cool November night.

Any recipe for vegetable soup is just a guide. Add or subtract according to taste and what looks good at the market that day, or in your refrigerator. Add hot pepper flakes, a dash of Tabasco or chopped chilies for a spicier soup.

Low-sodium chicken broth can be used instead of vegetable broth. Spinach and cabbage would add color, crunch and nutrients. Have some leftover bell peppers? Throw them in.

Whatever goes into the pot, what comes out is a meal full of nutrients. For years, nutrition experts have been promoting the health benefits of at least five daily servings of vegetables and fruits. They now say five servings a day should be the minimum, with nine servings as a goal.

In addition to containing the powerful natural anti-cancer substances called phytochemicals, foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans are loaded with fiber, which creates a full feeling with a minimum of calories. These foods also tend to keep you feeling full longer than starchy, higher calorie foods such as potatoes and refined pasta.

So vegetable soup can warm you up, fill you up and build up your ability to fight disease - all in one bowl.

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Hearty Vegetable Soup

Yield: Makes 8 servings.

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Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced thin
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 10 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 15 1/2-oz. can corn, drained
  • 1 russet potato, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 lb. green beans cut in half diagonally
  • 4 cups (1 quart) vegetable broth
  • 3 cups canned crushed tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 2 tsp. dried)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano (or 2 tsp. dried)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, celery, corn, potatoes and green beans in heavy large soup pot. Add vegetable broth, tomatoes, parsley, cilantro, garlic, basil and oregano. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. With slotted spoon, take 3 cups of vegetables from pot and put in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Puree until smooth. Stir puree into rest of soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring soup to simmer. Heat through and serve.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
117 calories,
1 g. total fat (<1 g. saturated fat),
26 g. carbohydrate,
5 g. protein,
4 g. dietary fiber,
720 g. sodium


AICR