December 28, 2008

Healthy Meal: Portuguese Sausage and Greens Soup

For this weight loss challenge to work, I can’t just exercise; I need to make sure I’m eating healthy as well or all those hours spent in the gym will be for naught. I’m trying to stick to a mostly low-carb diet (I’m still eating plenty of fruits and veggies, but avoiding potatoes, grains, etc). For lunch, I pulled up my Food Network Recipe Box and found a soup recipe I had saved in November 2007 (yeah, I’m about as caught up on my Recipe Box as I am on my Google Reader).

Having neither chourico or kale, I substituted Trader Joe’s Italian Chicken Sausage and some collard greens that have been in my fridge forever. I also cut the potatoes, primarily because I didn’t want the starchy carbs but also because I didn’t have any in my fridge and was too lazy to go to the store.

Therefore, with the substitions the recipe goes like this (proportions are for one serving):
Lightly spray a pot with olive oil (I use my Misto for this) and heat, then add 1/4 white onion (diced). Once the onion browns, add a few cloves of minced garlic, two bay leaves, 3 cups of chopped greens, and a cup of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). Cook this for a few minutes, stirring as the greens wilt down, then add 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, 1 cup broth (I use a cup of water + 1 tsp Herb Ox Sodium Free Chicken Broth powder). As this heats up, dice one link of chicken sausage and add it. Sprinkle the pot with a bit of black pepper, then stir and let simmer for about ten minutes.

Nutrition stats:
443 calories for one bowl (original recipe here, my proportions above)

Review: 4/5 stars
This came out pretty salty, which really surprised me given the fact that I used sodium-free broth and no-salt added tomatoes, and I didn’t add any salt of my own. A look at the nutrition facts for the chicken sausage reveals that one link has 450mg sodium (19% of your RDA), but the soup was still saltier than just that. It wasn’t salty in a bad way, but I’m a little confused as to where the saltiness came from, as not wanting extra sodium is a big reason that I typically make food myself instead of eating out.
However, the flavors were really delicious together – the tomatoes provided a sweet tanginess, and it contrasted nicely with the spicy and salty sausage. The collard greens and garbanzos made the soup really filling, especially for a broth based soup, though the garbanzos did make the calorie count a bit higher than I anticipated. I’ll definitely be making this again.


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