At this moment my kitchen is pretty well-stocked with edible gifts from friends. Sitting on the counter are two plates of Christmas cookies; one container of holiday biscotti (studded with dried cranberries, pistachios and white chocolate chunks…who can resist?); four nut-covered caramel apples and the fruitcake I made several weeks ago that is aging in brandy.
I didn’t mention vegetables. Why? Because nobody gives vegetables as gifts during the holidays. I did receive some Harry and David pears from my friend Vicki and in the spirit of healthy gifting I sent pears to several friends. But vegetables? Not making a big appearance right now, with the exception of the frozen Trader Joe’s veggies I’ve got stashed in the freezer for when I’m really desperate for something green (that’s not a candied cherry).
This weekend, in a fit of sugar-overload (you know the feeling, don’t you?) I turned to the Internet for help. The following recipe from the blog Cooking Classy, turned up. It’s slightly more substantial than Weight Watchers’ zero-point veg soup, but that’s a good thing. You can have it for lunch or dinner with a half-sandwich and actually feel full.
There are other vegetable (aka minestrone) soups on hungry poodle, but this one is chock full of fresh and frozen vegetables and little else. No pasta, no beans, no meat. Nothing to distract you from the fact that you’re being virtuous in the face of daunting holiday temptations.
Sounds like I’m hawking a pot of castor oil, doesn’t it? Fear not, this is damned good soup. Champ and I have enjoyed it two nights in a row and we’re none the worse for wear. In fact, we’re feeling somewhat…self-righteous. After a bowlful of this brew we can enjoy a biscotti with no qualms. Think of it as a holiday rendition of having your cake and eating it too!
The recipe can be easily halved if you think you don’t need that many veggies. But really, who do you think you’re kidding?
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 cups peeled and chopped carrots
1 1/4 cups chopped celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 (14.5 oz.) cans low-sodium chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
3 cups peeled and chopped potatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen green beans
1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add onions, carrots and celery and sauté about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another minute. Add broth, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, bay leaf and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add green beans, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add corn and peas and cook 5 minutes more.
WW PP per serving: 4