Squash Soup

With peppers and fresh lime

Thinking about how to fill up while on a diet? Think about soup.

Soup as a main course is an excellent way to feel satisfied by eating low-calorie vegetables and liquid. And this is a good strategy for consuming fewer calories without feeling deprived.

Of course, you still have to take care with which soups you select. A 1-cup serving of New England clam chowder can have as many as 17 grams of fat.

But not all creamy soups are dietary offenders. There are several techniques for making thick and delicious soups that don't require serious amounts of fat.

Consider pureeing cooked beans with some broth or water to make the base of a soup. The results are hearty and flavorful, though admittedly not quite as smooth as a cream-based soup.

Pureed vegetables do an excellent job of creating smooth-textured soups. Winter or summer squash can be roasted (which creates complex flavor by caramelizing the natural sugars in the vegetables), then put through a food mill or pureed in a blender or food processor.

For a busy weeknight, try this recipe for creamy squash soup with peppers and fresh lime. It takes only 30 minutes to prepare and uses convenient frozen pureed squash combined with red bell pepper, jalapeno, ground cumin and fresh lime juice to create a velvety soup with a Southwestern flare.

Start to finish:
30 minutes (10 minutes active)
Servings: 6

Ingredients:
Two 12-ounce packages frozen pureed squash
Two 141/2-ounce cans fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 red green bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
11/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh lime wedges, for serving

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the squash and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the squash is thawed, about 10 minutes.

Add the potato, red bell pepper and jalapeno and continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender and the soup has thickened, about another 10 minutes.

Stir in the salt, cumin and lime juice. Serve topped with fresh cilantro and with lime wedges alongside.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 83 calories; 5 calories from fat; 0 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 4 g fiber; 706 mg sodium.


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