Marge Perry Newsday columnist Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.

Black Bean Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

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½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

2 15-ounce cans low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup cilantro, chopped and divided

¼ cup light sour cream

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium high. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, green pepper, cumin, paprika and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are somewhat softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, beans, broth and salt and simmer gently 10 minutes. Stir in about half the chopped cilantro. Transfer 2 1/2 cups of the soup to a blender or food processor and puree; stir back into the soup. Heat 2-3 minutes.

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2. Ladle into four bowls; top each with a dollop of the sour cream and the remaining cilantro. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 273 calories, 14 g protein, 43 g carbohydrates, 15 g fiber, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 792 mg sodium

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Coconut Curried Lentil Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

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1 cup chopped onion

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon curry powder

4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1 cup lentils, rinsed

1 cup lite coconut milk (or to desired thickness)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon orange zest

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium high. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger and curry and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the broth and lentils and bring to a boil; immediately reduce to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes.

2. Working in batches, puree the soup and return to the pot. Stir in the coconut milk and salt and heat gently for 2 minutes (do not boil). Ladle into bowls and top each serving with orange zest and cilantro. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 312 calories, 16 g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, 17 g fiber, 9 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 419 mg sodium

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Pasta Fagioli

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

4 cups lower sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) ditallini pasta

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 15-ounce cans lower sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium high. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and rosemary and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften. Add the broth and bring to a boil: add the ditallini and return to a gentle simmer.

2. Stir in the tomatoes and beans and cook 12 minutes, until the pasta is well cooked. Top each serving with grated cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 468 calories, 22 g protein, 81 g carbohydrates, 13 g fiber, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 599 mg sodium

 

TIP: Use these recipes as the basis of your own fast and easy bean soup by swapping in different seasonings.