Robin's Healthy Take: 3 Fast, Comforting Soups
Thank goodness spring is just around the corner! Even though I live in a warm climate, I travel a lot and, like most of you, I’ve battled some pretty fierce weather this winter. Yes, the sledding at my parents' house in PA was awesome, but at 15 degrees, my boys and I didn’t last very long.
Frequent breaks by the fire helped, as did hot bowls of soup. My mom’s an awesome cook and she makes a pretty mean soup, but she’s an "empty-nester" with much more time on her hands. Since I want good soup in a hurry, I created 3 soups with loads of flavor and comfort and just 5 ingredients. There’s one for every palate (or 3 different nights.)
Fire-roasted tomatoes add a smokiness you don’t get from regular canned tomatoes. I love the contrasting crunch and color of blue tortilla chips.
Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add 3 cloves minced garlic; cook 1 minute; add two 28-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes and 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth; bring to a simmer; simmer 10 minutes; puree with an immersion blender or regular blender (work in batches with a regular blender to prevent spillover); remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil; season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper; ladle into bowls and top with blue tortilla chips.
For this soup, I used udon noodles, which are thick, white Japanese noodles. I also added miso, fermented soybean paste, for super-fast depth of flavor. You can use the sweeter yellow or white miso or the saltier red miso.
Whisk together 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, 3 tablespoons miso paste and 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce in a large saucepan; set pan over high heat; bring to a boil; add 8 ounces udon noodles; cook 3-5 minutes, until noodles are tender; remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup sliced scallions and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro; season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Choose any lentil variety you want; red lentils break down more than green or brown lentils, so they create a creamier consistency.
Combine 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth and 12 ounces lentils (rinsed and picked over to remove debris) in a large saucepan; set pan over high heat; bring to a boil, decrease heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes, until lentils are very tender. Meanwhile, place 4 tablespoons slivered almonds in a small dry skillet; set pan over medium heat; cook 3-5 minutes, until golden brown, shaking the pan frequently; set aside. Add 1 cup light coconut milk and 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions to the lentils, decrease heat to low and simmer 2 minutes; remove from heat and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper; ladle into bowls and top with toasted almonds.
I hope these soups keep you as warm as they’ve been keeping me –- at least until you can see the ground again!
Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.