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Something Different
Week of: March 19, 2012
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Very Healthy, Very Versatile Vegetable Soup

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

How can I prepare and consume the variety of cruciferous, leafy green, and orange/red vegetables, plus alliums and other vegetables experts urge us to eat every day? I want their benefits but taking that much time to prepare them all is nearly impossible.

Make soup, I say. With Ten Vegetable Soup, you combine terrific-tasting and healthy carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, canned tomatoes, leek, onion, Swiss chard, a potato and parsley. Tossing them all into a pot takes less than 30 minutes. The result is enough to eat for several days, both as is and with variations I will suggest.

Ten Vegetable Soup freezes nicely. You may eat it until fed up then freeze what is left, or you plan from the start to divide this generous kettle of soup, either is a good plan. Plus, besides being satisfying and colorful, this soup is very low calorie.

Whether it is vegetarian or not is up to you, depending on if you choose to make it with water, chicken or vegetable broth. I look at this soup like a little black dress – lovely for itself and easy to embellish differently each time you serve it.

  • First variation: Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, squirt of fresh lemon, a snipping of fresh dill, or a sprinkling of grated cheese.
  • Second variation: Toss a piece of genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano rind into the pot. As the soup heats, it turns soft, rather like the cheese topping on French onion soup. Rind costs a fraction of the imported cheese and is entirely edible…molto Italiano.
  • Third variation: Add 1/2 cup canned beans per serving, choosing from cannellini, red kidney or chickpeas.
  • Fourth and Fifth variations: Add bite-size pieces of chicken cutlet or mini ground turkey meatballs and simmer gently for 5 minutes once the soup is steaming in the pot. Their juices enrich the soup nicely.

My father would call this clean-up-the-kitchen soup. Indeed, do feel free to vary the veggies. Butternut squash, kale, spinach and broccoli are all nutrient dense and tasty alternatives.

10 Vegetable Soup

Ten Vegetable Soup

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped green cabbage, quartered and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (or purchase already shredded)
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets, 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium leek, sliced, use white and 1-inch of light green part
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium yellow-fleshed potato, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 packed cups Swiss chard or spinach, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne, optional
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

In large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot with tight-fitting cover, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add cabbage, cauliflower, leek, onion, carrot and celery and stir to coat them with oil. Cook until cabbage is limp and onion translucent, 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook gently until vegetables release their juices, about 8 minutes.

Add tomatoes with their liquid, broth, potato, parsley and thyme. Increase heat to medium-high until liquid boils, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer soup for 10 minutes. Add Swiss chard and simmer for 10 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper; let sit for 15 minutes before serving. If desired refrigerate for up to 4 days, reheating in covered pot over medium heat. Or divide cooled soup among resealable freezer bags and freeze. This soup keeps in freezer for up to 2 months.

Makes 10 servings. Per serving: 1 cup

Per serving: 70 calories, 3 g fat (<1 g sat fat), 9 g carbohydrates,
3 g protein, 2 g fiber, 253 mg sodium.

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.

***

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $100 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.


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