The jarred and canned soups found now-a-days have come a long way, but nothing compares to homemade. Soups made from scratch have an incomparable flavor and are much more satisfying (to both your palate and your stomach) than anything reheated from a can. Plus, once you get he basics down, you can make a variety of meals using whatever you happen to have on hand. This super hearty, low calorie vegetable soup is a medley of vibrant colors, fresh flavors, and wholesome ingredients that will leave you feeling nourished and satisfied. Let’s dive into this delightful bowl of goodness!
Super Hearty, Low Calorie Vegetable Soup
- 1 large saucepan or stockpot
- 4 serving bowls
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon resh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 cans low sodium, fat free chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- ½ pound Yukon Gold potatoes , cut into 1 inch chunks *(see note)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 zucchini, cut into small chunks
- 1 cup broccoli, chopped
- grated low fat Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 1 whole wheat or multi grain baguette, sliced and toasted (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook until softened but not browned (about 5 minutes).
- Add the broth, cup of water, potatoes, thyme, and salt and bring to a boil. Once the pot boils, reduce the heat, cover the pot (leaving lid vented) and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, zucchini, and broccoli; return the pot to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender (another 5-10 minutes). Ladle the soup evenly between 4 serving bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese (or another cheese of your liking), if desired.
- Serve with the toasted baguette.
- *NOTE: Not only do the Yukon Gold potatoes have a rich, buttery flavor, but they retain their shape and texture during heating which makes them the ideal potato to use in soups and stews.
Offer tips and tricks to ensure the best results:
To ensure your low calorie vegetable soup turns out perfectly every time, here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind:
- Don’t Overcook the Vegetables: While it’s important to cook the vegetables until tender, be careful not to overcook them. Overcooked vegetables can become mushy and lose their vibrant colors and flavors. Aim for a slightly al dente texture to retain their nutritional value and visual appeal.
- Layer the Flavors: For deeper flavor, consider sautéing the onions and garlic until they are caramelized before adding the other vegetables. This extra step intensifies the aromas and creates a rich base for the soup.
- Use Homemade Vegetable Broth: If time permits, prepare your own vegetable broth using fresh vegetables and herbs. Homemade broth adds an extra layer of depth and complexity to the soup. However, store-bought vegetable broth works perfectly fine as well.
- Adjust Seasoning: Taste the soup as it simmers and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Remember, different brands of vegetable broth and canned tomatoes may contain varying levels of salt. Add salt and pepper gradually, allowing the flavors to develop before making any additional adjustments.
Insights on common mistakes to avoid:
To avoid common pitfalls and ensure a successful cooking experience, here are a few mistakes to avoid when making low calorie vegetable soup:
- Overcrowding the Pot: Give your vegetables enough space to cook evenly. Overcrowding the pot can lead to uneven cooking and result in some vegetables becoming mushy while others remain undercooked.
- Neglecting the Herbs: Don’t underestimate the power of herbs in enhancing the flavors of your soup. Be sure to add the suggested dried thyme and oregano to infuse the soup with aromatic goodness.
- Overblending the Soup: If you decide to blend a portion of the soup for a creamier texture, be cautious not to overblend. The goal is to create a smooth consistency with some chunks remaining, providing a pleasant textural contrast.
- Forgetting to Stir: While your soup is simmering, remember to give it an occasional stir. This helps distribute the flavors evenly and prevents any ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Recommend sides, garnishes, or beverages that complement the flavors:
To elevate your low calorie vegetable soup experience, consider pairing it with some delightful sides, garnishes, or beverages. These additions will enhance the flavors and provide a well-rounded meal. Here are a few suggestions:
- Crusty Bread and Herb Butter: Serve your soup with a slice of crusty whole-grain bread. Spread some homemade herb butter on top, made by combining softened butter with fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, or chives. The combination of warm soup and savory bread is simply irresistible.
- Quinoa Salad: Create a light and refreshing side dish by tossing cooked quinoa with diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and a squeeze of lemon juice. The vibrant colors and tangy flavors of the salad complement the vegetable soup beautifully.
- Avocado Slices: Add a creamy touch to your soup by garnishing it with slices of ripe avocado. The richness of the avocado pairs perfectly with the lightness of the soup, creating a harmonious balance of textures.
- Fresh Herb Garnish: Sprinkle some freshly chopped herbs on top of your soup just before serving. Whether it’s parsley, cilantro, or basil, the vibrant greens will not only add visual appeal but also infuse the dish with a burst of freshness.
Suggest different ways to serve the dish:
While enjoying a comforting bowl of low calorie vegetable soup on its own is delightful, there are various ways to serve this versatile dish. Here are a few creative ideas:
- Soup Shots: For a party or gathering, serve the soup in shot glasses or small bowls as appetizers. It’s a fun and interactive way for guests to enjoy a taste of the deliciousness.
- Soup Bread Bowl: Hollow out a round loaf of bread, such as a sourdough boule, and ladle the vegetable soup into the bread bowl. The bread absorbs the flavors of the soup, creating a delightful combination of textures.
- Soup and Salad Combo: Create a well-balanced meal by serving the soup alongside a fresh green salad. The crispness of the salad provides a refreshing contrast to the warm soup, making for a satisfying and nutritious combination.
- Soup as a Sauce: Use the low calorie vegetable soup as a flavorful sauce for other dishes. Pour it over steamed vegetables, grilled chicken, or even cooked pasta for a delicious twist.
FAQs about low calorie vegetable soup
Can I freeze the leftover low calorie vegetable soup?
Absolutely! This soup freezes well, making it a convenient option for meal prep or saving leftovers. Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers. Leave some headspace to account for expansion during freezing. When you’re ready to enjoy it, simply thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stovetop.
How long can I store the low calorie vegetable soup in the refrigerator?
You can store the vegetable soup in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Make sure to transfer it to an airtight container or cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Reheat the soup on the stovetop over low to medium heat until heated through before serving.
Can I customize the vegetables in the low calorie vegetable soup?
Absolutely! This recipe serves as a base, but feel free to customize it according to your preferences. You can add or substitute vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, green beans, or mushrooms. Just keep in mind the cooking time of each vegetable and adjust accordingly.
Can I add protein to this soup?
Certainly! If you’d like to add protein to your soup, you can incorporate cooked chicken breast, tofu, or beans such as chickpeas or cannellini beans. Simply add them to the soup during the last few minutes of cooking or heat them separately and add them to individual servings.
How can I make the low calorie vegetable soup more filling?
If you want to make the soup more filling, you can add a small portion of cooked whole grains like quinoa or brown rice. This will add some extra fiber and nutrients to the soup, making it more satisfying. Another option is to serve the soup with a side of protein-rich foods like grilled chicken or a boiled egg.
Warm up with a delicious bowl of low calorie vegetable soup bursting with wholesome goodness. Uncover expert cooking tips and tricks for a flawless soup every time, and explore a variety of serving suggestions to take your meal to the next level. Don’t miss out on sharing the recipe and subscribing to our blog for a continuous dose of culinary inspiration!