Monday, January 10, 2011

Possibly the Healthiest Soup... EVER

OK folks, sorry for the delay. Here, at long last, is the final entry of Soup Week!

So often, one reads about "super foods", those foods that are so frickin' good for you that you must eat them, or risk instant death. Now, much of this has been overblown by the media, as a balanced diet rich in veggies and fruit is key to healthy living, but there are some foods the impart particularly high amounts of necessary vitamins, minerals, and whole grainy, fiber-y goodness.

In this soup, I combine some of these. Now, obviously, I'm not going to make a savory soup out of the much-lauded acai berry, or the pomegranate, or dark chocolate. But I do try to hit some of the major players in the savory super-food category.

  • 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet potato, cubed to 1/2"
  • 2 Tbsp garlic, minced (approx. 3 cloves)
  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa (pronounced keen-wah)
  • 1 cup dry black or green lentils
  • 1 15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed, or 1 bag baby spinach (frozen is cheaper and nutritionally the same)
  • 1 crown fresh broccoli, large stems discarded, and chopped into small, bite-sized chunks
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ~10 cups fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Spray the inside of a heavy pot (I use a dutch oven), and heat over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and a pinch of salt, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Once they've softened, add sweet potato, garlic, and broccoli, and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add red wine and allow to boil for 2 minutes to remove alcohol.
  3. Add lentils, quinoa, spinach, and cannellini beans. Add broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the lentils and quinoa are both soft.
  4. Stir in parsley, add salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve with crusty bread (not a "super food", but good for the soul).

If you want to get even tastier (but a touch less healthy), grate Parmesan cheese into the soup before serving. The nutty quality of the cheese accents the soup delightfully!


  1. Don't laugh. Where do I find quinoa at the store?

  2. I'm not laughing! This is a valid question.

    In my grocery store, you can find it with the rice and couscous. It is usually in a box (as opposed to a bag). However, I have seen it in "health foods" aisles, and have also been told that stores do not carry it. If you can't find quinoa, you can substitute an equal amount of pearled barley, or use 1 1/2 cups brown rice. The brown rice will take much longer to cook (usually around 40 minutes; follow the amount of time the bag/box says), and will cause your soup to thicken significantly. This is usually fine on the first day, but after storage in the fridge or freezer, you may need to add more broth to loosen it up a bit.