Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Simple Tomato and Kale Soup



You probably know by now that I love kale. You might wonder why I'm talking about it so much lately--and no, it's not because I'm obsessed. Kale is a cool-weather vegetable, so it's seasonal (and trendy) right now, and the perfect hearty green for wintertime. Not only do I love the taste, but I also love the nutritional benefits and the price tag.

One cup of kale contains only 36 calories and a whopping 5 grams of fiber--great for intestinal health and lowering cholesterol. Kale's health benefits are also linked to its high concentration of antioxidant vitamins (180% the daily requirement of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C and 1,020% of vitamin K). It is a natural source of calcium, meeting 15% of the daily requirement, and contains 40% the daily value of magnesium; these two nutrients play a vital role in bone health. Kale is also a good source of the minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. And yet more; kale is rich in carotenoids and flavonoids, the specific types of antioxidants associated with anti-cancer properties and eye health.

Here's another perk: it costs 99 cents or less per bunch, which will serve 2 to 4 people. Do you need any other reasons to give it a try?

One of the easiest ways to use kale is in soup. Since kale does have a slightly bitter taste, this is a great way to allow your taste buds to adjust to it too. It's always good to try something new and vegetables are always a worthwhile choice. If you don't like it right off the bat, don't worry. You might have to try a new food ten times before developing a preference for it!

This recipe is specifically for those days when you don't feel like cooking (or want a quick, warm lunch). It's basically heat and eat (kind of like shake and bake--ha ha). And so easy that it hardly requires a recipe, just some instructions.

You can prepare this soup in the microwave or on the stovetop. I use the microwave. Hey--that's just one less dish to wash.

Ingredients (per bowl)
  • 1-2 cups low-sodium tomato soup (I like Trader Joe's Organic Low-Sodium Creamy Tomato)
  • 2 big handfuls of kale, torn
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 croutons (I like Fresh Gourmet Parmesan Caeser--they are super flavorful!)

Instructions
  1. Pour soup into microwave-safe bowl (or pot).
  2. Top with torn kale.
  3. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, or until hot, stirring halfway through cook time as the kale begins to wilt.
  4. Top with Parmesan cheese and croutons.

It starts like this, so don't be afraid to pile on that kale:



And ends like this:


Talk about comfort food. Yummy in my tummy. Enjoy!

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