"You sure made the produce department happy." So assessed the checkout person at the grocery store the day after New Years while ringing up one vegetable after another. I couldn't help but grin, because yes, I'm on a first-name basis with all the produce people. Sure enough, there were no fewer than a dozen different vegetables, enough unusual vegetables to send the typical checkout person scurrying for the break room.
Like millions of others, after the holidays, I was ready to lighten up, ready for the end of rich food, ready to quit the fixation on eating. And like so many who follow Weight Watchers, I wanted nothing more than the cleansing of one of the famous vegetable soups from Weight Watchers, this time using a new recipe that seemed especially targeted to fresh vegetables.
Chop, chop, cook, cook. The aroma in the kitchen was intoxicating.
The first taste, however, was disappointing. The soup was blah – nothing that a few drops of Tabasco or a splash of yogurt couldn't fix but nonetheless, disappointing. I shrugged and went on. A day or so later, I cleaned out the fridge and decided to warm up a bowl of the leftover soup. This time? Fabulous! Light and fresh, the vegetables still intact (not mushy at all) but much more flavorful.
Now this IS a mild soup, know that, you might still want to apply a little Tabasco or my own favorite, a squirt of ketchup. But it's good and a nice change from the original Weight Watchers Zero-Point Garden Vegetable Soup recipe. Score -- another winner!
PLEASE KNOW A Veggie Venture is not affiliated with Weight Watchers International, please see more information. As always, I recommend visiting your local office, especially to learn the in's and out's of the new PointsPlus method of counting points.
QUICK NOTE For those who don't follow Weight Watchers, you might wonder if this soup is 'any good'. It is! All the Weight Watchers soups are good. But for slightly more substance, you might want to try my long-time favorite recipe from Kitchen Parade, Low-Fat Vegetable Soup or my new favorite and master recipe, Master Recipe: How to Make Homemade Vegetable Soup, never the same twice.
RECIPE for WEIGHT WATCHERS FRESH VEGETABLE SOUP
Time to table: 35 to 40 minutes but best if the soup is allowed to rest 24 hours or overnight
Makes 9 cups
6 cups vegetable broth (I used Homemade Vegetable Bouillon)
1 onion, diced (see TIPS)
2 carrots, peeled and diced (see TIPS)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 cups (about 5 ounces) chopped cabbage
2 cups (about 6 ounces) cauliflower, cut into florets
2 cups (about 6 ounces) broccoli, cut into florets
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or use 2 teaspoons fresh thyme like the inspiring recipe)
2 cloves garlic, minced small
2 cups Swiss chard, washed well and cut into ribbons
Fresh parsley or fresh chives, to taste
1/2 teaspoon table salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
Juice of a fresh lemon, about 2 tablespoons
In a microwave, bring the broth to a boil. (This step keeps the soup moving but can be skipped if there's no rush.)
In a large pot or Dutch oven, collect the vegetables in the order given, squeezing in the Swiss chard to compress a bit if needed. Pour the hot broth over top. Cover and bring to a boil over MEDIUM HIGH. Once the liquid comes to a boil, crack the lid so that a little steam can escape, reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer and let simmer for about 10 minutes until the bottom vegetables are done.
Stir in the parsley, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Let cool. Transfer to storage containers and refrigerate overnight or for 24 hours. Reheat to serve.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
SIZE MATTERS Before getting out the cutting knife, decide how 'big' you want the vegetable pieces. This batch, I decided on large and distinct pieces but another choice is to dice the vegetables quite small, this would mean getting a spoonful of lots of different vegetables at once.
CARROTS Skip the so-called 'baby' carrots which aren't baby carrots at all but big ol' honkin' huge carrots scraped down into neat little packages for easy consumption. They're fine cold and raw but don't cook well. Buy a bag of carrots, it''ll take just a minute or so to peel and cut them.
BELL PEPPERS Red, yellow and orange peppers are much more expensive than green ones. I often go for the green, with little real taste difference.
SPEAKING OF COST There are a lot of different vegetables in this soup! At my house, the leftovers don't go to waste because my standard lunch is a Quick 'n' Easy Raw Salad.
SHOP THE SALAD BAR Some times, the salad bar is a good place to pick up small volumes of a few vegetables. Vegetables are more expensive per pound at the salad bar but the "most expensive vegetable is the one which goes to waste".
FOR TASTE Don't skip the onion or the cabbage, they're what make the broth taste slightly sweet after the soup rests overnight.
~ Weight Watchers Zero Point Garden Vegetable Soup ~
(251 --> 840 likes so far on Facebook, it's the definite favorite)
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~ Weight Watchers Italian Zero Points Soup Recipe ~
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from A Veggie Venture
~ How to Lose Weight with Weight Watchers ~
(tips from Alanna & Kitchen Parade/A Veggie Venture readers)
~ Weight Watchers, Meet Michael Pollan ~
(how my friend Ann lost thirty pounds in three months)
~ Weight Watchers, PointsPlus & Kitchen Parade ~
~ Weight Watchers New PointsPlus Power Foods ~
~ more recipes sorted by Weight Watchers points ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column