Vegetable soups are supposed to be healthy and good for you. But on a recent plane trip I realized that some of the cooking shows out there go out of their way to make absolutely everything in their reach as unhealthy as possible, or even worse – talk up these recipes as good for you, usually referring to them as “soul food”.
Of course, all of us have a soft spot for rich food, the one our mom or grandma used to make… Most people have warm memories associated with big family meals and joy that comes from being surrounded by the loved ones. And, yes, it is true that most of the food consumed in those occasions is not something that any nutritionist would approve off!
To be honest, I don’t disprove an occasional overindulgence, but what rubbed me the wrong way was that during the three hours of different cooking shows there was not a single recipe that would qualify as healthful, and even couple of soup and salad recipes included exuberant amounts of butter, cream, bacon…
As I was watching the continuous array of that heart-attack-in-the-making “soul food” recipes I could not stop thinking that there must be a better way. Actually, I started jotting down recipe ideas and ingredient lists while still on the plane, and this creamy vegetable soup is the first one that I have now fully developed.
I’ve made quite a few creamy soups in the past, like the Cream of Carrot Soup, Creamy Cauliflower Winter Soup, and the New England Clam-less Chowder, which are all rich in flavor and light in calories, or at least far lighter than the more conventional soups of their kind. The recipe below is super simple and cheap, so there’s no excuse not to try it.
The only slightly more time-consuming bit is the roasted garlic. I am not even sure if you can get roasted garlic in the store, if you can you may try using the store bought stuff as a short cut. But roasting your own batch and then using it as needed is simple so you might just as well do it yourself, and here is a good recipe for you to follow (it’s basically putting a head of garlic in an hot oven for 30 minutes or so and you- there, I told you it was easy!)
To re-cap: angered by cooking shows that succeeded in making even soups and salads into a health hazard, I decided to roll my sleeves up and show the world that couple of simple ingredients, like a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, some starch and a carton of vegetable stock, when combined with flavor enhancing agents, like the roasted garlic, lemon juice and lemon zest, will make a wonderful, flavorful and rich-tasting soup without any butter, cream, bacon or cheese. Now that’s some real soul food!
Creamy Vegetable Soup with Roasted Garlic
What you’ll need:
1 bag (1 lbs, 454 g) bag mixed vegetables, frozen
2 tablespoons corn (or potato) starch
4 cups (960 mL) vegetable stock
2 cups water
4 cloves roasted garlic
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 tablespoon oil (optional)
What you’ll do:
- Place a large post over the medium to medium-high heat, add the oil (if using), and all the vegetables. Let defrost and sauté with frequent stirring for 3-5 minutes.
- When the veggies have softened, add the starch. Make sure that vegetables are fully coated with a thin layer of starch. Sauté for another minute, just to let everything fully combine.
- Add the vegetable stock in a slow and steady stream, while mixing continuously. This vigorous mixing is essential to prevent lumps, so keep at it! You can use a large whisk for this if you like – the whisk works well for me.
- Next, add the water still mixing/whisking as you go, then let the soup come to a steady boil. Once you reach that point, lower the heat all the way down, add the chopped up roasted garlic, and allow the soup to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Turn the heat off, and mix in the juice of one lemon, and all the lemon zest. Serve warm and enjoy! (As you can see from a photo above I had mine for lunch with some buttered homemade bread. If you are into making your own bread via a bread machine, my recipe is here.)
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