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Bye-bye Summer Salads, Hello Autumn Soup!
I’m usually sad when the summer ends, but there are some things I always look forward to as fall approaches. One of those things is making soup. When the weather cools down and the humidity goes away I feel an urge to get in the kitchen, turn the stove on, and make a big pot of soup.
Vegetable soup is going to be the first soup I make this year. My patients tend to ask which vegetables are the best, and I always suggest getting a variety of color, choosing what’s in season, and cooking them different ways. Summer tends to be full of raw vegetables and salads, so try cooking your veggies this fall. Make a soup, roast them, steam them, or sauté them in about a teaspoon or so of olive oil and lots of garlic! Curious about what’s in season this time of year? Here’s a list to get you started:
- String beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Squash, potatoes, corn (*these are starchy veggies)
- Swiss Chard
My vegetable soup incorporates a decent amount from the list of veggies above. A nice meal could be starting with a big bowl of vegetable soup, and then completing the meal by adding some protein, such as baked chicken breast, grilled salmon or sirloin, and complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, lentils, beans, or barley. This is now a tasty and balanced meal! If you don’t think of yourself as a cook, that’s okay! Making soup can be a fun process as it doesn’t have to be precise. Below is my recipe for vegetable soup - feel free to modify! You can always add more or less of just about everything. If you like spicy food, throw in a few red pepper flakes to give it a kick.
So, get to your local Farmer’s Market or grocery store, pick out some nice looking fall produce and step into the kitchen. I suggest making soup on a day that you’re not working or at school as the soup requires time to simmer. If you make it on an early Sunday afternoon you’ll be able to enjoy a bowl that evening and have plenty of leftovers for the week.
Lynn’s Vegetable Soup
- 1 vidalia onion, chopped
- 5 skinny stalks of celery with all the leaves, chopped
- 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4-5 carrots, peeled & chopped
- 1 white potato, chopped (NOT peeled)
- 1 small squash, chopped
- One bunch of Swiss chard or kale, lightly chopped
- 3 leeks, white parts only, sliced into rings
- 1 large (28 oz) can of plum tomatoes
- 3 medium size boxes of low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- S&P to taste
- Olive oil
- Butter or Smart Balance
- Add 1- 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter OR Smart Balance to stock pot. Once the butter and olive oil heat up add the onion and celery. Sauté for about 5-10 minutes on medium-high heat.
- Then add garlic, carrots, and potato. Sauté on medium heat for another 5-10 minutes.
- Add the squash, kale, leeks, tomatoes and 2 boxes of chicken stock.
- Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and then reduce to a simmer.
- Add bay leaf and another box of stock if needed.
- Simmer for about 3-4 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving.
- When ready to serve, top each bowl with freshly grated Parmesan.