Savory Vegetable Soup

January 28, 2015

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Savory Vegetable Soup

What could be better than a hot bowl of soup on a chilly day?  I started making vegetable soups as an “appetizer” before our family dinner each night, because they are so filling and help you eat less at dinner.  Plus, in the cold months (of which we have many in New York) soup is so comforting.  Having a vegetable soup also helps you get more vegetables into your diet, and is a great way to introduce more vegetables into the diets of the picky-eater.  It’s loaded with flavor and also very healthy – a perfect combination!

This soup smells wonderful cooking on the stove top and is a “one-pot wonder” so clean up is a breeze.  To prep the vegetables (except the celery and onion) I suggest using a box grater to obtain a fine texture.  The celery and onionI just finely chop because I’ve noticed it doesn’t grate well.  You’re hard work grating will be rewarded, since you can easily freeze half of this soup and still have plenty to eat.  I like to freeze soups and sauces in reusable Chinese food soup containers.  I hoard them whenever we order Chinese food because they are very sturdy and don’t crack when you freeze them.  Plus, I’m reusing them and keeping them out of the landfill, so I feel good about that.

In my recipe I use chicken stock and chicken consommé, but you can easily make this Vegan/Vegetarian but swapping the chicken stock for vegetable stock and swapping the consommé for ½ cup more of vegetable flakes.

Savory Vegetable Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 70 minutes

Yields: 8 servings, 1 cup each

Ingredients:

3 cloves of garlic, finely minced or put through a garlic press

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, grated

1 large zucchini, grated

2 carrots, grated

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

3-5 sprigs of dill, stems removed and minced

¼ cup vegetable flakes

2 tablespoons Osem consomme, or chicken bouillon

8 cups of water

2 cups chicken stock

2 tsp salt

Pinch of pepper, to taste

Instructions:

In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic in oliveoil.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt to soften.  Let sauté for 1 minute.  Then, add carrots, and celery and let sauté another 2 minutes.  Add zucchini, continue to let sauté.  Add remaining 1 tsp of salt.  Add pepper and dill.  Once vegetables become fragrant, add chicken stock, water, consomme and vegetable flakes.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer for 45-60 minutes.

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Alphabet made of many fruits and vegetablesIt’s the never ending battle with every meal I serve to my 2 year old son, Dylan.  How do I get him to have more vegetables?  I want to make sure and get him interested in these foods early so that he will love them and always have them as a part of his diet.  But even for me, a health coach, it’s hard to figure out how to add in all the good from vegetables.  This is why I came up with 5 easy tips!

I’m speaking mostly of adding in vegetables (vs. fruit), because in my health coaching practice I encounter many people who have 2 servings of fruit a day but practically zero vegetables.  Adding in vegetables is one of the easiest and quickest ways to better your health, and it’s a tip I give a lot of health coaching clients when we first start working together.

I find most people don’t eat as much veggies as they should for 3 reasons:

1) vegetables are more expensive

2) vegetables are boring / I don’t know how to cook them

3) I don’t like salad

All of these fall under the umbrella of “I don’t know why vegetables are important”.  We’ll get to that in a moment.

I’ve eaten and served my fair share of meals that are vegetable deficient.  Sandwiches come to mind, countless bowls of pasta with meatballs, even pizza.  I love all these foods, but they are seriously lacking in the vegetable department.

So why are vegetables so important?

The make you feel full, they provide fiber and countless vitamins and minerals.  Plus they are a non-animal derived food which makes them more sustainable to the environment than eating meat.

I always do my best to buy organic vegetables because they taste better and if I’m going to eat and serve veggies I want the best!  The definition of organic when talking about food is, “Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.” (Taken from www.organic.org).

But, sometimes there aren’t organic versions available in the grocery store or your budget won’t allow for it.  This is a handy guide you can use when shopping that outlines what’s called the “Dirty Dozen” – the list of the MOST contaminated fruits and vegetables (so you know to always buy those organic) and the “Clean Fifteen” highlighting the LEAST contaminated crops.  Take a look here! You can even download a wallet guide or an app for your phone here: (download a copy of the wallet guide).  With these handy list’s you can have the knowledge to decide which produce you can buy the regular version of and which you should really try to get organic.  Of course the best organic vegetables are the ones you grow yourself!  If you have a garden, think about planting your favorite vegetables next time.  They will be the best you’ve ever tasted!

Sadly, I live in Brooklyn where I don’t have a garden, but not to worry, here are the tips!

5 Easy Tips for Getting More Vegetables  into Your Family’s Diet

1)   Incorporate vegetables and/or fruit at every meal.  Add in veggies at breakfast and you’ll notice how much fuller you feel.  You may not need that 11am snack anymore!  Also, adding in vegetables at breakfast with your usual 2 egg omelet often means you can have 1 egg and still feel as full as when you’d have 2 without the added veggies.

2)   Buy organic where possible because it tastes better and is better for you.  I always tell clients a story about the first organic banana I ever tried.  It was literally the most delicious banana I’d ever had.  Before then I didn’t even really LIKE bananas!  When you buy organic vegetables they will be the best you’ve ever tasted and that makes you want to eat them more often, it’s that simple. 

3)   Swap your boring old potatoes for greens like kale or spinach.  Yes, potatoes are technically a vegetable, but they are a starchy one and they are also delivery vehicles for some very fatty toppings (sour cream, butter, oil, cheese) that can really derail your health and weight loss goals.  Try a new green vegetable instead.  Spinach is very easy to sauté with garlic and olive oil for a nice side dish or try kale, everybody is doing it! 

4)   Try Meatless Mondays so you can build your vegetarian repertoire of meals. The best thing Meatless Mondays has done for me has made me think about vegetarian dinners once a week.  I’ve gotten to try so many new recipes that I otherwise would never have made.  I’ve roasted eggplant, stuffed mushroom caps and made a traditional Middle Eastern egg dish called Shakshuka.  It’s become a fun thing we do together every week rather than eating more of the same old boring stuff. 

5)   Use fruit and vegetables as the base for snacks throughout the day.  The most filling snacks are ones that give you both protein and fiber.  The fiber component can definitely be a fruit or vegetable.  Think about dipping an apple in peanut butter for a more satisfying snack than peanut butter on a cracker or piece of bread.  Another favorite in my family is pepper slices or cucumber slices with hummus for dipping. 

Try these tips for incorporating more vegetables into your diet and share your favorite vegetarian dishes in the comments section below!

Is vegetable a dirty word?  Sometimes I feel like it is.  I bring it up a lot with people (mostly my family) as in, “Are you going to serve any vegetables with that?”  I don’t mean to sound judge-y, but are you going to serve any vegetables with that?  I know that I need vegetables in my diet for many reasons: to feel full, to eat less meat and dairy, to feel regular (I went there!) and to maintain my weight.  I find most people don’t eat as much veggies as they should for 3 reasons:

1) vegetables are more expensive

2) vegetables are boring / I don’t know how to cook them

3) I don’t like salad

And all of these fall under the umbrella of “I don’t know why vegetables are important”.  We’ll get to that in a moment.

I’ve eaten my fair share of meals that are vegetable deficient.  Sandwiches come to mind, countless bowls of pasta with meatballs, even pizza.  I love all these foods, but they are seriously lacking in the vegetable department.

Did you know the FDA considers the tomato sauce on pizza a vegetable for school lunches?  I remember when I was in school that french fries were also considered a vegetable.  SCARY.  I just took a look on the FDA School Lunch website and some of my favorites horrors from these guidelines are below:

FDA says, “Select vegetables with more potassium often, such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.”

Marie says, “Potatoes are a starchy vegetable that should be eaten in moderation.  They are also delivery vehicles for some very fatty toppings (sour cream, butter, oil, cheese) that must be monitored closely if you want to maintain optimal weight.”

Please instead of potatoes, try some green veggies like kale or spinach.

FDA says, “Order a veggie pizza with toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, and ask for extra veggies.”

Marie says, “Ok yes order a veggie topped pizza, but please don’t expect that to equal a vegetable serving.  Having one slice of pizza with a green salad would be a better solution.”

I love pizza, and I don’t want to discourage people from eating it, but it’s really gotta be served with a salad otherwise it’s not a complete meal.

So why are vegetables so important?

The make you feel full, they provide fiber and countless vitamins and minerals.  Plus they are a non-animal derived food which makes them more sustainable to the environment.

I always do my best to buy organic vegetables because they taste better and if I’m gonna eat and serve veggies I want the best!  There are other good reasons below…

The definition of organic when talking about food is, “Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.” (Taken from www.organic.org).

But, sometimes there aren’t organic versions available in the grocery store or your budget won’t allow for it.  This is a handy guide you can use when shopping that outlines what’s called the “Dirty Dozen” – the list of the MOST contaminated fruits and vegetables (so you know to always buy those organic) and the “Clean Fifteen” highlighting the LEAST contaminated crops.  Take a look here! You can even download a wallet guide or an app for your phone here: (download a copy of the wallet guide)

So when I offered to bring some veggie crudite to a father’s day gathering last week there was a bit of shock and horror from my Grandmother (for more about Grandmother Nora, click here).   She really couldn’t understand why I had done it.  She made all this delicious food (pasta, meatballs and a pork roast) so why did we need vegetables?  She made a salad to go with it.  She was dumbfounded.  The truth is, I gotta crowd out the bad stuff with vegetables, I need to constantly be thinking about how to eat more vegetables otherwise I don’t eat them.  I want to eat meatballs, but it order to have balance I need the vegetables too.  Salad just won’t be enough.  So once she settled down and we were cleaning up the appetizers she yells to my father to pack up for the vegetables for me because “You’re daughter likes vegetables”.  She said it like it was a bad thing, like I liked pornography or CSI:NY.  Could you imagine if I’d become a vegan as I once toyed with? Yikes!

But I soldier on, bringing vegetables to a new level at home and away.  Someone shared this delicious recipe with me this week and it went over like gangbusters when I had a vegetarian friend over this week. Delicious Eggplant Roasted in the Oven.

Maybe I’ll bring that next time grandmother has me over!

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