soup

Tuscan Bean and Swiss Chard Soup

It’s March and somehow we’re still getting snow! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE the snow, but it feels a bit more appropriate to have a snowfall in January and February with sub-zero temperatures, rather than a snow flurry followed by a fifty-degree sunny day- oh well! At least the weather is giving me one more excuse to keep riding the soup train and make up some simple, nourishing lunches.

Of all the countries we have traveled to, Italy is hands down our favorite. We love the people, the history, the wine, and, of course, the food! In Tuscany, there is a soup called ribollita that uses copious amount of Tuscan kale and gets it’s thickness from creamy white beans and tomato puree. It is savory, yet sweet all in one bite and has the perfect heft for a filling lunch soup.

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This Italian classic inspired my lunch prep for this week, but with a few minor adjustments. In an effort to mix up my leafy green intake, rather than use kale I threw in some rainbow Swiss chard. Chard is quite high in vitamins C, K, and A, meaning it is perfect for fighting off winter colds and helping combat oxidative stress and inflammation. It packs a punch in the fiber department, so is great for balancing blood sugars and dropping your LDL, or “bad”, cholesterol.

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My version also uses farro instead of toasted bread for the carbohydrate component. If you haven’t yet cooked with this ancient grain I stongly encourage you to pick up a bag! Farro is exceptionaly high in fiber and protein, both of which help with insulin sensitivity (meaning your cells are very open to taking in glucose from the blood and using it for energy) and provides immense satisfaction and keeps hunger at bay.

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This recipe serves 3 portions, so you and your sweetie could each have a bowl for dinner one night, and the remaining can get packed up for lunch. Or if you’re lucky, like me, you get to enjoy it all for yourself for 3 days of lunches.

Enjoy!

Tuscan Bean and Swiss Chard Soup- serves 3

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped into small dice, leaves torn into bite-size pieces

  • 1 tsp of each- dried thyme, rosemary, oregano

  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can of diced tomatoes

  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth

  • 1/2 cup cooked farro

  • 1 (15 oz.) can low sodium cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • For garnish- shaved parmesan, chopped flat leaf parsley, balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, swiss chard stems, and a pinch of salt. Saute for about 3 minutes. Add in the spices and saute for another minute.

  2. Pour in the can of tomatoes and their juices and the vegetable broth. Increase the heat to high and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and let cook for about 7-8 minutes.

  3. Reduce the heat and add in the cooked farro and beans. Cook for another 3 minutes to heat these items through. Stir in the chard leaves gently. Taste and add salt, pepper, and red pepper flake as desired.

  4. Serve with shaved parmesan, chopped parsley, and even a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.

Cauliflower Potato Soup

One of the nutrition myths I hate the most is, “all white foods are bad”. While yes, marshmallow fluff, canned vanilla frosting, and solidified bacon lard are not the most healthy white colored foods to consume on the regular, no one is trying to pretend they are! Yet many people shake their finger at white foods from the grain and vegetable groups, declaring that they are void of nutrition.

Grains and starchy vegetables are undoubtedly higher in fiber and nutrients when kept in their unprocessed form, resulting in a more “brown” appearance, but that doesn’t mean the whiter cousin CAN’T have a place in a healthy diet from time to time. Furthermore, there are MANY vegetables that are naturally white and LOADED with health promoting nutrients- parsnips, cauliflower, turnips, onions, sunchokes, and garlic to name a few.

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So, for my meal prep this week I wanted to bust this myth by making an easy all-white soup that is the perfect warm answer to these dropping temperatures. I used the sheet pan method to roast cauliflower, which is a cruciferous vegetable containing high levels of cancer-fighting compounds and vitamin C; some Yukon gold potatoes that provide potassium (more than a banana!) for blood pressure balance; and the white ends and very little of the green parts of leeks, which are full of B vitamins and flavonoids that help keep inflammation at bay.

With the holiday busyness and stress, this soup has all the things to help keep your system in top defense mode and is a perfect way to fill your growling stomach with deliciousness. I hope you enjoy!

Cauliflower Potato Soup- serves 3 as main dish, 4 as a side

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large cauliflower head, cut into florets (about 3 cups)

  • 3 medium leeks, whites and very little green sliced

  • 3 small Yukon potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock

  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper

  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • Parmesan cheese and parsley, for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degress. Place the cauliflower florets, sliced leeks, and cubed potatoes on a lined baking sheet. The potatoes should be cut into small, equal cubes so that they cook faster. Drizzle olive oil over all vegetables, toss to coat, and slide tray into oven. Roast for 20-25 minutes until able to pierce potatoes with a fork.

  2. Add roasted mixture in a large soup pot or dutch oven set over medium heat. Cover with stock, add black pepper, rosemary, and salt. If vegetables are not fully covered with liquid, add in just enough water or additional stock to do so. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes to further soften vegetables.

  3. Once fully cooked, use an immersion blender to puree contents into a smooth soup. Alternatively, place mixture in a blender and blend carefully. Give the soup a taste and adjust salt, pepper, and rosemary as needed. Blend again, then serve. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan, more cracked pepper, and parsley.

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Tortellini Tomato Soup

Who here loves a good soup for a cold fall day? Who here wants to stand over the stove for an hour plus watching it simmer and bubble away? Not me! While for some soups the time spent on the stove is non-negotiable for building the flavor profile, there are plenty other “quick soups” that pack a punch of flavor, but can be made in half the time!

That’s why I’m so excited to share this quick and easy Tortellini Tomato Soup, so you can get back to enjoying your lazy fall day.

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Aside from being quick to pull together, this recipe is also full of good nutrition. The base is a low sodium bouillion made from an all-natural ingredients bouillon cube from BOU (who had kindly sent me samples in the past, but I am not being paid to advertise for their products) and canned tomato puree. While prepared canned soups can be very high in sodium, making them at home from carefully chosen ingredients and without going heavy on the salt shaker, can significantly reduce your sodium intake. With a light base, I wanted to still give this soup a creamy quality like grandma’s homemade tomato soup. Rather than adding milk, cream, or yogurt I decided to use cauliflower, that would get blended into the base, to give the soup the pleasantly creamy mouthfeel but with an added boost of fiber.

This recipe makes two servings, so it’s perfect as dinner for you and your partner, or it’s enough to feel “meal prep accomplished” and you can bring for two days worth of reheatable lunches. I hope this soup warms your soul as much as it did mine!

Tortellini Tomato Soup- serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion

  • Dash of crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce

  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated

  • 1.5 cups finely chopped or riced raw cauliflower

  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (BOU or other brand)

  • 1/2 tsp dried basil

  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cheese tortellini

  • Grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes.

  2. Add the cauliflower, tomato sauce, garlic, and vegetable broth. Stir in dried basil and oregano and simmer on low for 15 minutes.

  3. Use a hand immersion blender to blend the soup (or carefully transfer soup to a blender to blend and return to the pot). Stir in the cheese tortellini and cook on medium-low until tortellini is cooked, about 7-8 minutes. Serve warm, topped with parmesan cheese and parsley.