Despite the recent warm up in temperatures, I still consider February to be soup season. In all honesty, I eat soup almost year-round with the exception of July and August when the temps rise above 90 in Cincinnati.

I have picked up a few tricks to making soup faster and more delicious as I almost always do soup as a food demo for companies. It’s a recipe that can easily be scaled for a larger crowd and I’ve never had a complaint of a bad recipe.

Here are a few tips to make a tastier, healthier soup:

  1. Sautee dried herbs and spices along with onions and garlic. This enhances the flavor of your soup. If you are adding fresh herbs like basil, cilantro or parsley, add them at the end.
  2. Consider corn oil when you cook. Corn oil has 10 x more plant sterols, a chemical found to lower LDL (lousy) cholesterol than coconut oil, 4 times more than olive oil and 1 1/2 times more than canola oil. It’s also less expensive than most of the above cooking oils.
  3. Add beans or lentils to your soup. This boosts protein and fiber and makes a more filling, hearty soup. Lentils take about 2 hours to simmer before they soften, but canned beans are pre-cooked and ready in about 20 minutes.
  4. Use frozen spinach or peppers to boost color, flavor and nutrition in your soup. These are inexpensive ways to sneak in more veggies without having to chop them.
  5. Use reduced sodium stock to cut back on the salt in recipes.It’s great if you’ve got your own homemade stock, but most of us don’t have the “thyme” (har har). Despite popular opinion, there are not any health advantages to bone broth. It does make a tastier stock, but it not going to cure cancer, anemia or any other ailment.

Below is one of my favorite soup recipes. Enjoy!

Pizza Soup:

1 Tbsp. corn oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. basil
1 tbsp. rosemary

1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz can, keep liquid)
2 cans white beans (drained and rinsed)
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 box chopped frozen spinach

Turkey pepperoni (optional)

Sautee onions, garlic and spices in corn oil until the onions are translucent.  Add broth, tomatoes, spinach, and beans and continue to simmer on low heat until soup thickens (~30 minutes). Serve with shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese and your favorite crusty bread.

Makes 12 servings. Nutrition Facts per serving: 160 calories, .2 grams fat, 10 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrate, 8grams fiber, 107 mg sodium


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