Greek Wedding Soup

Greek Wedding Soup Low Fat Recipe

Greek Wedding Soup
Serves 3-4
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well

This recipe may look complicated at first glance but it’s really easy to put together, especially if you have a food processor. The only labor-intensive part is rolling all the meatballs, so while you’re at it, why not double the recipe and freeze half for a future meal? The orzo may expand a bit when frozen, but the defrosted soup is still delicious. This is a fun meal for when you’ve got kids at the dinner table – chicken soup with meatballs and pasta is an easy winner, and all that healthy spinach just gets gobbled up!  ~ Susan

Ingredients:

for the meatballs
1 lb ground turkey breast (or a combination of light & dark)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1 egg
3/4 cup whole grain bread crumbs (we make ours from toasted bread)
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

for the soup
6 cups chicken broth (we use homemade, otherwise buy a simple organic broth)
1 cup orzo (use whole grain orzo if you can find it)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
8 cups packed baby spinach leaves
sea salt to taste

optional – yellow bell pepper slices & tomato slices for garnish

Make the meatballs:

Preheat oven to 350F. Put turkey and parsley into a mixing bowl.

Make bread crumbs by putting toasted crumbled bread in a food processor fitted with the double blade and pulsing until finely ground. Add onion & garlic cloves and pulse until everything is well combined. Add breadcrumb mixture to the mixing bowl.

Put egg and feta into the food processor and mix until feta is broken into very small bits and egg is well blended. Add egg mixture to mixing bowl. Add sea salt & black pepper. Use your hands to combine all ingredients. Lightly wet your hands to roll mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place them all on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake meatballs for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile make the soup:

Heat chicken broth to boiling, add orzo, reduce heat to medium, and cook 7-8 minutes.

Add the baked meatballs, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and granulated garlic.

Taste soup and adjust seasonings to your liking (you might like it more lemony, or a little more salty).

Roughly chop spinach leaves and add to the pot.

Let spinach cook in for one minute and serve immediately, garnished with tomato & pepper slices.

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Tomato Macaroni Soup with White Beans & Kale

Tomato Macaroni Soup with White Beans & Kale Low Fat Recipe

Tomato Macaroni Soup with White Beans & Kale
Serves 4 – 6
Can be doubled | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well
Vegetarian Substitutes

This is something we threw together the other day out of things we had in the house. It turned out remarkably good and was very easy to make. I “cheated” a little when creating this recipe, adding some jarred pasta sauce that needed to be used up, but the result was so tasty I’m not going to change a thing, we’ll make it the exact same way next time. And yes, after enjoying this soup for dinner two nights in a row we’ve already decided there will definitely be a next time, and we’ll be doubling the recipe!     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1/2 cup onion – small dice
1/2 cup celery – small dice
1 cup carrot – small dice
1 quart (4 cups) *homemade chicken broth (or two 14.5 oz cans of organic broth)
2 cups jarred pasta sauce (we used Classico tomato basil – very low fat, all natural!)
2 cups cooked whole grain macaroni
1 can white cannelini beans – rinsed & drained
6 cups chopped kale leaves – stems removed
1/2 teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano & thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried granulated garlic
sea salt & black pepper to taste

optional – chopped parsley & scallions for garnish

*We prefer homemade broth to most store bought varieties, especially some of the boxed organic broths, which have way too many flavors added. Our is nothing more than the water left over from when we poach chicken for chicken salad or other chicken recipes. We add a few bay leaves while poaching and lightly season the broth with sea salt. Refrigerate the broth overnight, remove most of the solidified fat the next day and freeze broth in pint & quart containers for uses such as this recipe.

Instructions:

Place the onion, celery and carrot in a large soup pot with the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Add everything else, bring back to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer another 5 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking, and serve! We garnished ours with chopped parsley and scallions.

Serving Suggestions:

Slices of whole grain bread with a sprinkle of parmesan on top, popped in the toaster oven, was our accompaniment of choice – a perfect combination with the soup!

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Use your favorite vegetable bouillon or broth in place of the chicken broth.

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Lentil & Spinach Soup

lentil & spinach soup fat free recipe

Lentil & Spinach Soup
Serves 6-8
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well

We got a break in the hot weather earlier this week, and on a gloriously cool Monday morning I had lentil soup on my mind. I made a big pot of this soup for the cafe, and although the extreme heat and humidity have returned, we’ve served a lot of it! Dressed up here with a few key spices, herbs and frozen chopped spinach (and no added oils or fats), lentils are great any time of year. Even on a warm summer evening, how nice it is to have a big pot of lentil soup in the fridge. All you need is a quick reheat for your portion of soup, a slice of good bread and a big salad – you’ve got an easy, nourishing and not-too-heavy meal.     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 16 oz bag dried lentils
2 large bay leaves
1 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups sliced or diced carrot
1 1/2 cups sliced or diced celery
1 1/2 teaspoons dried granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach – partially thawed – Cascadian Farms organic spinach is perfect
sea salt & black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Sort through the dried lentils (spread them on a large plate or countertop) to be sure they are free of small stones or other debris.

Optional step: Soak dried lentils in a large pot of water for 4 – 6 hours, drain and rinse, then add 8 cups of water and 2 bay leaves. Soaking makes the lentils more digestible and the nutrients more assimilable. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.

Quick version: put dried lentils in a pot, add 8 cups water and 2 bay leaves. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium low and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.

Add onion, carrot, celery, granulated garlic, oregano, basil, cumin and coriander.

Cover and continue cooking on medium-low for another 30 minutes.

Add the chopped spinach (don’t bother with draining it – just add the entire contents of the package). If it’s partially frozen that’s fine, the hot soup will take care of that.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. It’s ready to serve! It will taste even better tomorrow, but why not have some right now?

Serving Suggestions:

Top with fresh chopped herbs of your choice: scallions, parsley, chervil, cilantro, basil, chives… any of these are perfect.

If you like your lentils to taste a little more rich add a little dollop of good butter or a light drizzle of olive oil to each serving.

Try ladling this soup over a bowl of simply cooked whole grains (brown rice, barley, kamut, wheat berries, quinoa, or whole grain couscous), or serve each bowl of soup with a slice of whole grain bread. Add a big green salad – try mixed lettuces with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sliced red onion and a light sprinkle of  feta, it’s a great match to the flavors of the soup.

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Chilled Gazpacho Soup

chilled gazpacho soup lowfat recipe

Chilled Gazpacho Soup
Serves 2 – 3
Can be doubled | Can be halved

Sometimes, on a hot, humid day, coming up with an appetizing meal can be challenging. On days like that we make gazpacho. Run out to the garden (or farmers market), pick up the goods, grab a can of tomatoes from the pantry, and make a date with your blender! It’s easy, quick, and tastes like a delicious, zesty blended salad in a soup bowl. You can serve it as an appetizer or a salad course with a larger meal, but it’s also perfect as a light lunch or quick snack on its own. Being free of any fats or oils, and made primarily from fresh veggies and herbs along with a squeeze of lemon and some sea salt, it’s naturally cleansing and invigorating for the body. You just feel good after enjoying a bowl of fresh, homemade gazpacho.     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 medium cucumber – roughly chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper – seeded and roughly chopped
1 green pepper – seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 of a large vidalia onion – roughly chopped
1 large or 2 smaller garlic cloves – minced
2 roma tomatoes (or equivalent – roughly chopped)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 14.5 oz can of whole tomatoes plus the juices – we really like Muir Glen brand
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

Put everything except salt & pepper in a blender (in smaller batches if needed) and blend until nicely pureed, while still leaving a bit of texture left in the mix.

Season to taste with salt & pepper.

You might like it with more lemon added, which really livens up the whole flavor.

Serving Suggestions:

Gazpacho is perfect “as is” but you can jazz it up when serving with a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of cayenne pepper, and/or a garnish of fresh snipped herbs such as parsley, chives or scallions.

Toasted whole grain bread topped with a slice of cheese makes this a complete meal, and one you’ll probably be craving again soon!

For a gourmet appetizer serve small bowls of chilled gazpacho topped with chilled cajun-seasoned shrimp and a sprinkle of grilled corn kernels. Gorgeous and delicious.

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Creamy Dreamy Broccoli Soup

no oil, no dairy, fat free broccoli soup

Creamy Dreamy Broccoli Soup
Approximately 6 servings
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well

I’m going to tell you a secret to which some culinary professionals might never ‘fess up… Occasionally I use frozen vegetables. Gasp! Sometimes they’re from my own summer stash, or from the farmers markets when the peak of produce season makes it too tempting not to freeze some of the bounty for those long winter months ahead. Then, as the months go by and we’ve gone through everything we tucked away, I’ll hit up my local grocer. Aside from the classic staples such as frozen peas and sweet corn, I find that having bags of broccoli, spinach, pepper strips, cut green beans and maybe some chopped collard greens in the freezer helps keep my kitchen creativity running at full speed, even in the dead of winter.

This recipe is a perfect example of how to make quick, nourishing use of frozen vegetables. And, here’s a bonus – it’s a no-oil recipe, and it’s vegan! You’ll never miss the fat in this comforting, satisfying soup.     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 medium onion – very thinly sliced
8 cups frozen broccoli florettes or broccoli cuts
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 cup rolled oats*
water as needed
sea salt to taste

* if you eat a gluten-free diet make sure to use certified gluten-free oats

Instructions:

Put the sliced onion in a soup pot and add 2 cups of water.

Bring it to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 7-8 minutes or until onion is very tender.

Add frozen broccoli, granulated garlic, rolled oats and just enough water to reach the top of the broccoli.

Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer another 5 – 7 minutes or just until you can easily pierce the broccoli with a sharp knife. Be sure not to overcook so it retains its beautiful bright green color.

Add a sprinkle of sea salt and puree the soup, using an immersion blender, until soup is velvety smooth. Or, use a counter top blender and puree in smaller batches. Taste and add more salt if you like. Voila, soup’s on!

Serving Suggestions:

This is delicious just as it is. If you want a garnish, try a few grinds of black pepper, a dash of cayenne, or some chopped parsley.

I usually enjoy this soup on its own, for lunch or an afternoon snack, but it also pairs nicely with a sandwich on whole grain bread or a salad with your favorite toppings.

When reheating leftovers, only heat up as much as you need, instead of reheating the whole pot of soup, this keeps the nice bright green color and helps prevent overcooking.

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So Easy Butternut Squash Soup

easy vegetarian butternut squash soup recipe

So Easy Butternut Squash Soup
Makes approximately 6 servings
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well

I begin craving this soup in early autumn, when big displays of winter squashes start to appear at the farmers markets… But a great thing about winter squashes is that they’re “in season” all winter long! We’re lucky to have some good year-round markets in this region, they simply move indoors for the snowy months. On a cold and dreary Saturday morning in late February, it’s a healthy outing, heading into town to grab a few things at the indoor farmers market when we might otherwise be tempted to stay in the house, huddled near the wood stove. And, making a pot of soup is a perfect way to spend part of the afternoon once we get back home with our goodies.

A winter squash has a great “shelf life” from the time you pick it, or buy it. If it takes a week, or two or even a month before you decide to cook it, it will be ready for you, and meanwhile it’s a nice decoration for the counter or windowsill. You’ll get multiple meals out of this recipe, which makes for easy meal planning.     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter, olive oil or, a combination
1 medium-small onion – diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large stalk celery – thin slices
2 medium carrots – thin slices
1 2-lb butternut squash, seeded* – 1 inch chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or minced sage leaves (3/4 teaspoon dried)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary leaves (3/4 teaspoon dried)
water as needed (or vegetable or chicken broth for a richer flavor)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
a few pinches of sugar, or maple syrup or agave nectar, if needed, to bring up the sweetness

* Buy organic, no need to peel it first! It purees beautifully.

Instructions:

Heat the butter or oil in a soup pot on medium heat. Use a spatula to spread it around the bottom of the pot.

Add onion and sautee until lightly browned. Reduce heat if necessary to prevent onion from burning.

Add celery, carrot, squash, herbs and just enough water to come to the top of the vegetables. Bring it to a boil on high heat, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low.

Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender.

Puree, using an immersion blender, until it is velvety smooth. Or, use a counter top blender and puree the soup in smaller batches. Taste and add a bit of sugar if necessary to bring up the sweetness (some squashes are naturally sweet, sometimes they like a little coaxing).

Season to taste with salt and pepper, and simmer another 5 minutes on low heat, allowing the flavors to meld. This soup only gets better if it has a chance to sit for a few hours before reheating and serving.

Serving Suggestions:

Top each bowl with a few grates of a hard goat cheese such as Castellano. Other good grating choices: Asiago, Parmesan, Romano, Grana Padano, Aged Manchego, Gruyere, Mimolette, Cotija, Ricotta Salata. Garnish with parsley and a dash of cayenne. Serve with a green salad dressed with a basic vinaigrette and a slice of whole grain toast.

Try leftover soup ladled over a bowl of warm brown rice or quinoa, topped again with parsley and a few shavings of cheese. Add a handful toasted pine nuts and call it lunch!

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