Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
CURRIED LENTIL-COCONUT SOUP
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 carrot, finely diced (1/4-inch pieces)
2 ribs celery, finely diced (1/4-inch pieces)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne (to taste)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable (or chicken) broth
1 cup dry lentils
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (14-ounce) can lite coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and curry powder and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, coriander and cayenne and cook, stirring, to slightly soften the vegetables, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, lentils and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer gently until lentils are very tender, about 35 minutes. Add the coconut milk and salt and keep warm over very low heat.
2. Working in batches, purée about half the soup in a blender or food processor. Return to the pot and cook over low heat to warm 3 minutes. Just before serving, top each bowl with the cilantro.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 333 calories, 17 g protein, 47 g carbohydrates, 15 g fiber, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 657 mg sodium
HEARTY TURKEY, MUSHROOM AND PASTA SOUP
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound (93 percent lean) ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/2 cup ditalini pasta (about 2 ounces)
1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach
1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high. Add the turkey, oregano, thyme and garlic and cook, stirring to break the meat up into crumbles, until the turkey is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shiitakes and cook 2 minutes until slightly softened. Add the broth, tomatoes and crushed red pepper and bring to a boil.
2. Stir in the ditalini and cook 9 minutes, until nearly al dente; stir in the spinach and cook another 1 to 2 minutes until wilted. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 319 calories, 30 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 12 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 453 mg sodium
4 slices bacon
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
6 cups lower-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound kale or collard greens, torn in 3-inch pieces
2 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut across in thin slices
12 ounces baking potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch dice
8 ounces green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 (19-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1. Cook bacon in a large pot; transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and crumble when cooled.
2. Add the onion and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until somewhat softened, about 4 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, greens, carrots and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until potatoes are nearly cooked through.
3. Stir in the green beans and kidney beans and cook another 5 to 7 minutes, or until beans are tender. Stir in the bacon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 341 calories, 18 g protein, 52 g carbohydrates, 12 g fiber, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 820 mg sodium
TIP: Add salt to beans after they are cooked; doing so while they cook lengthens the time it takes for them to soften.