A good friend of ours brought my husband a heart-healthy gift: an extra-large basket filled with fresh vegetables. It was a wonderfully useful and extremely thoughtful but I was tasked with cooking the vegetables before they went bad....not so easy given the quantity!
Yesterday, I posted a mostly fat-free cold string bean and potato salad using part of the bounty. Today I combined several of the veggies to create a hearty but low-fat vegetable soup. Not wanting to use cream to thicken the soup, I searched for a recipe that had a better solution.
I came across a 'heart-healthy' soup that used brown rice as the thickening agent and decided to give it a try. My husband thought it tasted great but a bit bland since I didn't add salt (please do add salt if you have no dietary restrictions). Instead, he added some red pepper flakes and a bit of shaved parmigiano-reggiano and that seemed to do the trick. Paired with low-salt whole wheat crackers and a salad, it was a satisfying dinner.
A basket of vegetables makes a great gift for a someone recovering from an illness or operation, a new mother, as a house-warming gift for new homeowners or if you are invited to a summer home for the weekend...and it's a gift that keeps on giving...more recipes will follow this week and next.
While I was in a nail salon earlier today, I happened to catch an episode of the 'Barefoot Contessa'. Chef Ina Garten made a dish for dinner guests that I think she called 'chicken hash'. It gave me an idea to use some of the veggies pairing them with chicken or salmon for an impressive but easy meal. Will share that recipe next week.
Healthy Spring Vegetable Soup
1 c. sliced celery
2 to 3 carrots, shredded
1 to 2 zucchini, shredded
2 cups fresh string beans
1 box low-salt chicken stock
1/4 cup uncooked brown rice
2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or possibly finely diced
1/2 minced medium red onion
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup shaved parmigiano-reggiano for garnish
- Place chicken stock in pot then add all raw vegetables stirring to prevent sticking.
- Cook until vegetables are soft.
- Add rice and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
- Place mixture into food processor in small batches pulsing until finely chopped and thick.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat and serve immediately with shaved cheese as garnish or refrigerate until ready to use. Will store well for two-three days.
- Serve with whole wheat bread or crackers.