March 14, 2008

Healthy Meal: "Cream" of Spinach Soup

One of the nice things about being on a travel project is that I don’t need to go into the office on Fridays. No one else on my team is based in New York, so we’re all conversing via IM, e-mail, and phone anyway. Plus, we always have tons of “extracurricular” office activities on Fridays (training, philanthropy, recruiting, eminence, etc), so we typically put in long hours at the client from Monday through Thursday, then a few hours on Friday, and then a few hours on Saturday and Sunday to make up for it. I still usually go into the office to work, simply because there are too many distractions at home, but I usually take my time getting there.

Today, I slept in until 8 AM (ah, luxury), and got in a nice workout at the gym while catching up on some TV favorites. I am so excited Top Chef is back, though Wednesday’s episode made me crave an unhealthy deep dish pizza. Fortunately, some searching on Chowhound convinced me that there is no good deep dish pizza in either Boston or New York, so I’ll wait until I (someday) visit Chicago. Anyway, after Top Chef, I decided to make some healthy lunch to bring with me into the office. My mom sent me this recipe a long time ago, and it looked awesome. I was slightly confused as to how a soup recipe with no dairy products whatsoever would come out creamy, but… it totally did. Keep reading to learn how to get an amazingly thick soup for astoundingly few calories.

Recipe notes:
I cut the recipe in half, hoping to make three servings. However, the servings seem to be incredibly small, because everything I made fit into a 2 cup bowl, and was easily consumed in one sitting. I skipped the salt, and for the broth, used Herb Ox Sodium Free Chicken Broth with a few cloves of minced garlic. And I used black pepper, because I’m not a fancy schmancy enough cook to keep white pepper on hand.

Nutrition facts:
57 calories per teeny tiny actual serving (recipe here)

Review: 4/5
This was awesome, and it probably would have gotten five stars if not for the small portions. I was all psyched about finding a lower-cal soup to rival my butternut squash soup, but this was actually 171 calories when you see that I ate all three that I made. Still totally healthy and figure-friendly, but disappointing compared to the wonder I was expecting. The soup tasted fantastic, and had a really thick and creamy texture – you will think it’s filled with butter and cream, even though it’s just veggies and a few oats. The one suggestion I will make is not to puree it. Before I did so, it looked just like your standard white creamy soup with pieces of spinach. Afterward, it came out as kind of a green mush that reminded me of pesto sauce (maybe because I made that spinach pesto sauce last night). It was still tasty and delicious, but if you want some visual appeal, skip the puree.


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