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Better by the bowl: Add greens and veggies to soup for a satisfying winter meal

  • Detroit Free Press
  • Published Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at 12 a.m.

If you’ve resolved to eat more healthfully in 2014, think soup.

It’s filling and, when made with the right ingredients, can make you feel better by the bowlful.

“There is research that suggests when you have a bowl of soup before a meal you consume fewer calories,” said Bethany Thayer, registered dietitian nutritionist and news media spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “The fluid is helping give that sense of fullness.”

You need only look to the latest food trends for soup recipe inspiration. Vegetables are everywhere right now and for good reason. They are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals.

At Russell Street Deli at Detroit’s Eastern Market, soups are big business (they serve about six varieties on any given day) and the most popular are the ones packed with greens, says chef Derrick Bonds.

“We always try to make them as healthy and hearty as possible,” Bonds says.

Home cooks can, too: Just go for the greens, says Larissa Shain, a registered dietitian with the Metabolic Nutrition and Weight Management Program at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland hospital in Pontiac, Mich.

“Using the green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables means it will be high in vitamins and fiber,” she says. And green veggies, Shain adds, contain chlorophyll, which is rich in magnesium. “Magnesium lowers your risk for strokes, diabetes and osteoporosis.”

Shain’s other tips for healthy soups: Use a low-sodium stock (her favorite is Trader Joe’s boxed chicken stock with 70 milligrams of sodium per cup), no-salt-added canned beans and fresh or frozen vegetables.

Today we spotlight a soup that tastes good and is good for you. It’s low in sodium, fat and calories, and high in vitamins and fiber.

Slow-cooker broth

Larissa Shain says you can make your own broth as a base for soups. Here’s how:

Place a whole chicken, water and vegetables (onions, carrots, celery) in a slow cooker. Let cook all day on low. Remove the chicken, pick the meat off it, strain the liquid into a bowl. Cool and refrigerate it. Chill it until the fat rises and gels on the top. Remove and discard the fat.

SPICY PORK AND

MUSTARD GREENS SOUP

Serves: 4

1/2 pound ground pork tenderloin

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds

1 tablespoon canola oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock

4 cups packed torn mustard greens

4 green onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons low- or reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce

8 ounces wide rice noodles

Mix pork, garlic, ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, red pepper flakes and cumin in a medium bowl.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add pork mixture; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, 8-10 minutes.

Add broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until flavors meld, 8-10 minutes. Add mustard greens, green onions, soy sauce and fish sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender, 5-8 minutes; season with salt and black pepper.

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions; drain.

Divide noodles among bowls and ladle soup over.

Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, January 2014 issue. Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Nutrition info: 319 calories (6 percent from fat), 2 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 55 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams protein, 524 mg sodium, 37 mg cholesterol, 5 grams fiber.

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