I’m a common sense type of eater, and so I’m usually not interested in faddish diets, but, like everybody else, the pounds sometimes creep up on me. My secret is simple — soup! I make a big pot of this healthy, low fat, low carb Slimming Detox Soup at the beginning of the week and by the end of the week I feel like I’m back on track. At least I’m headed in the right direction ;)
It’s uncanny how a simple soup like this can help me shed weight and feel better, but it does. Because it’s super low in calories and has lots of fiber, you can eat until you feel nice and full without worrying about overdoing it. Nobody ever got fat on this stuff, trust me. As I’ve made it, this soup is loaded but still very light. You can add some shredded rotisserie chicken or tofu for more protein, if you like, to keep it interesting for more than a couple of days. I like to hit it with a touch of Parmesan cheese just before serving, which adds a nice ‘umami’ flavor and a bit of salt. That tiny amount of Parm goes a long way towards making the soup seem complete and satisfying.
Every ingredient in this soup has a purpose – it must contribute to the flavor, the nutrition, or the fiber count of the meal, there’s no place for extras. It all starts with a base of Swanson® Unsalted Chicken Broth. Their new unsalted broth is the perfect foundation for this soup, particularly since I am trying to add a richness of flavor, while allowing the natural taste of the food to come through. I can add just as much seasoning as I need and don’t run the risk of over salting. I really appreciate that the ingredient list is short and sweet – I really appreciate that the ingredient list is short and sweet – no preservatives, with no msg. The last thing I want in my cleansing soup are unpronounceable ingredients or preservatives. I usually choose broth over stock when I’m making soup, and in this case the light flavor works perfectly. I love the convenient cartons, too, they’re one of my must-have pantry staples, and I usually tailor my recipes around their 32 ounce size.
For this soup I begin like I do with lots of soups, by sauteing shallot or onion and garlic in a little olive oil. I add freshly grated ginger next, which will give the finished dish a bright flavor. Then comes the broth, I usually estimate 8 ounces per serving, give or take. I add the few veggies that need a little extra cooking first, in this case it was the carrots and the golden beets. Everything comes up to a simmer and after just a few minutes, just enough to take the crunch out of the carrots and beets, I’ll add the broccoli and cauliflower. After another couple of minutes or so, I’ll add the pea pods, mushrooms, red cabbage, and bell pepper and let them wilt in the heat of the broth. Just before serving I toss in the dark greens and tomatoes, they don’t need any cooking at all. So the main take-away here is that this soup is minimally cooked, just enough to barely tenderize the vegetables, and this way the soup is vividly colored and multi-textured.
I use this Slimming Detox Soup as a way to ‘re-set’ my eating habits after a stretch where I’ve strayed from my usual healthy routine, i.e. the holidays. I’ll eat it for dinner for a week, while having normal breakfasts and lunches. I like to make it fresh every day because it’s most appealing that way, once it sits around the colors and textures fade. If any of you have ever tired the infamous ‘Cabbage Soup Diet’ you know that it has you make a ginormous pot of barely edible soup to nosh on all week. My husband tried it years ago (guess who had to make the soup?) and I can tell you that this soup is a lot better :) Definitely do add the fresh greens and tomatoes just before serving, in any case, and don’t forget the little grating of any hard Italian cheese…it makes such a difference!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 32 ounce carton of Swanson® Unsalted Chicken Broth
- 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 medium golden beet, or several baby beets, peeled and sliced
- a handful of small broccoli florets
- a handful of small cauliflower florets
- 1 hot chili pepper, I used a Serrano pepper, sliced (optional)
- a handful of pea pods, any type, halved if large
- several mushrooms, sliced
- a handful of shredded red cabbage
- 1 bell pepper, any color, cut in strips
- salt and black pepper to taste
- handful of baby kale and or spinach leaves
- handful of small grape tomatoes, cut in half
- a sprinkling of grated Parmesan or other hard Italian cheese
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Gently saute the shallot, garlic, and ginger for a few minutes until softened.
- Add the broth to the pan and bring up to a simmer. Add the carrots and beets and simmer for several minutes.
- Add in the broccoli and cauliflower florets and the hot pepper, if using, and simmer for another couple of minutes. The veggies should be just barely tender. If not, cook a little longer.
- Next go the pea pods, mushrooms, red cabbage, and bell pepper. Bring back to a boil and then turn down the heat again, these veggies don't require much cooking at all. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- When you are ready to serve, throw in the leafy greens and the tomatoes and give everything a stir.. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of cheese.
- I use ‘handful’ as a measure for this recipe – don’t stress over it – veggies are difficult to measure, and there’s lots of leeway here for you to decide how much or how little of each ingredient you want to add. Do you want a super chunky soup? Add more. A lighter more broth-centered soup? Just add less.
- This recipe has plenty of room for improvisation when it comes to what ingredients you choose, too. You can use any vegetable you like, but to stay true to the slimming and detox theme, you might want to avoid starchy veggies like potatoes, corn, peas, lima beans, etc. Other ideas might be asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Napa cabbage, celery, green beans, onions, bok choy, eggplant, edamame beans, summer squash, etc.
- This is not a strongly flavored soup, it’s mild and focuses on the flavors and textures of the vegetables themselves, which I find is part of the ‘re-setting’ process. But don’t leave out the shallot, garlic, and ginger, they form a flavor base for the broth. If it is too mild for you you might try adding a can of crushed tomatoes for another layer of flavor.
- If you’d like to make this a strictly vegetarian soup, use Swanson® Vegetable Broth.
I think soup is the original detox and diet food — it works like a charm. How about you guys, does anybody else rely on soup this way? Come on, spill your secrets!
*This post is in association with Swanson®.