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Creating a Soup-Er Bowl

Comfort—what does that word mean to you? To me, it is a cuddly blanket, being surrounded by close friends and family, and sitting down to a great bowl of soup! Soup is warming, enticing, hearty, nutritious and most of all delicious.

Here’s the scoop on soup- it is one-stop chopping. Fluid, protein, veggies, carbs and fat with minimal time and cost and is a great way to repurpose and recycle some of those leftovers or bits of meat, grains and clean out the vegetable drawer. Truly soup brings tradition and intuition into the kitchen.

Eating soup takes time, otherwise, you burn your esophagus, so sit and sip. Soup also fills you up not out as liquid foods take up more real estate in the stomach so you feel fuller.

Chicken noodle soup, wedding soup, minestrone, pasta fagioli, beef barley soup, clam chowder, split pea. Time to bring out the soup pot or instapot and create.

The base of any soup is the liquid which could be a beef broth, chicken stock, vegetable broth or seafood stock or even a vegetable juice such as tomato juice. Then think about the protein you want to add: hip hip puree for adding pureed cannellini beans to pumpkin or squash bisque to thicken as well as add fiber and protein. Perhaps you have leftover chicken or turkey or beef cubes- add them in. Egg drop soup is absolutely delicious. Tofu is also a great protein add in to soups.

For the veggies, the sky is the limit. Canned veggies, frozen veggies, fresh veggies or even dried veggies- many soup mixes have dried veggies. All of the above add to the flavor and health benefits of your soup. I love adding fire roasted tomatoes, and roasted red peppers to soup as well as garlic, onion, leeks, lentils, beans, mushrooms and of course spinach.

Potatoes can thicken a soup, rice or pasta adds the comfort, barley and bulgur bring some texture , and finish with a healthy dose of seasonings, such as spices or herbs or even citrus zest or chili peppers.  And you can accompany your soup with a slice of toasted bread or focaccia or even add stale bread to soup to absorb the delicious flavors and add some heft- think French onion soup. #yummyinmytummy

And if you’re doing a cream type soup and want to be mindful of the saturated fat a can of pureed cannellini beans adds the creaminess and you can add a little full fat Greek yogurt as well.

Since it is hard to make a little soup, you can make once and enjoy twice. How nice! Freeze soup in small containers and you have a meal ready to go.

Here is our recipe for Cioppino. A delicious seafood soup that can be customized to what you like. We use frozen or fresh fish as well as canned seafood and a mix of canned and fresh veggies. If you like it hot, bring on the cayenne!

Cioppino

INGREDIENTS

  • A box of seafood stock
  • Olive oil- 4 TBSP
  • A small onion, chopped
  • ½ fennel bulb sliced finely
  • A pound of cod, haddock or fish of your choice
  • 1 pound of frozen shrimp
  • A can of minced clams or whole clams- with the broth
  • Fresh clams or mussels ( if desired) 
  • ½ pound of scallops if desired
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • Cayenne pepper
  • A can of fire roasted tomatoes, diced
  • ½ jar of roasted red pepper, sliced finely
  • A bag of baby spinach or a bunch of escarole
  • Foccacia or grilled sourdough
  • Grated `parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat olive oil in saucepan, add onions and fennel and cook until tender. Add seafood broth. Boil, lower the heat and add fish. Add sea salt, cracked black pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste and cayenne pepper as well if you like some heat. Simmer. Add roasted red peppers, and fire-roasted tomatoes., After fish is cooked, add shrimp, scallops, fresh clams, and/or mussels if desired five minutes before turning off the heat. Add a splash of white wine for a white broth and red wine for a tomato broth. Canned chopped clams can be added as well for flavor and texture after the cod is cooked. Near the end of cooking add spinach or your favorite greens. 

Serve with grated cheese and toasted bread points.

This is even more delicious the next day. If you make more than you will eat, it freezes beautifully. Sometimes, we will take the soup and puree it in a blender for a different texture and add some pureed cannellini beans too.

Sit, savor and enjoy the delicious flavor! 

Leslie Bonci

Leslie Bonci is a Pittsburgh-based registered dietitian, sports dietitian and owner of Active Eating Advice by Leslie Bonci. She works with professional athletes ) surreal people) and real people to help them strategize, optimize and realize their goals. Leslie is an author, blogger and media expert. She and her husband Fred reside in Point Breeze and are the parents of two sons and grandparents to 3 little ones. 

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