Tuscan Vegetable Soup

by Anne Bennett on November 7, 2012

It’s November, which means that the season is upon us–the season of eating.

It began with Halloween and will culminate on January 1, 2013. But wait! Even then you’ll have only one month to rest on your laurels.  The biggest snacking day of the year, Super Bowl Sunday, is February 3. And then there’s Valentine’s Day on February 14, and well, the eating possibilities just go on and on.

As Roseanne Roseannadanna said, “It’s always something.”

What’s a sensible person, one who wants to continue wearing the skinny pants she purchased in early fall, to do?  That, my dears, is the question. Despite what you’ve heard on Doctor Oz, there is no magic remedy for blasting belly fat, that is, other than NOT EATING. Ouch, did I just say that?

OK, so you can eat, but you’ll have to be very judicious, balancing rich holiday meals with servings of something like this soup, adapted from a recipe by Ellie Krieger, dietician and cook on the Food Network.  Unlike the other minestrone soups I’ve posted on hungry poodle, this soup contains no potatoes, pasta or rice, thus it comes in at only 124 calories per serving (a generous 1 1/2 cups!).

Just think of its possibilities during the holidays: eat a cupful before attending a cocktail party and you just might be able to avoid the high-fat Costco appetizers. (Let’s face it, does anyone throw a party anymore without Costco? Really.)

A bowl with a half-sandwich at lunch will keep you satisfied throughout the afternoon. Another before dinner and you’ll likely eat less. Studies have proven that, yes they have.

Think of this soup as a cousin of the famed Weight Watchers zero-point Garden Vegetable Soup that’s been around for years. This has a bit more heft, but that’s what I like about it. When I want even more sustenance, I add a quarter-cup of frozen white corn and a dash of Tabasco to my bowl before I put it in the microwave. Voila Mexican veggie soup.

Wanna make it a full meal? Add chicken or shrimp and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt when serving. You won’t have brought up the calorie count by enough to matter, and you’ll still have room for a cocktail at the party. I’m all about that!

Tuscan Vegetable Soup

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 t. dried)*
2 t. chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 t. dried)*
Salt and pepper to taste
32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional

* I used 1 1/2 t. Herbes de Provence. You can also use Italian Seasoning

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, 1/2 t. salt and pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil.

In a small bowl mash half of the beans with the back of a spoon. Add the mashed and whole beans and the spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes more.

Serve topped with Parmesan, if desired.

Serves 6 ( 1 1/2 cups )
WW SmartPoints per serving: 2

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