Thursday, May 14, 2009

Broccoli, Cannellini Bean & Cheddar Soup

Now that I am feeling better most of the time, I have been cooking again! Whilst I was ill I ate a lot of crap foods with little-to-no nutritional value. I really want to try not to change my eating habits too much during this pregnancy, so I am endeavouring to get back to the healthy, low-calorie meals I was getting so good at preparing before this all started.

I had some broccoli in the fridge, it was rainy and yucky yesterday, and I had a hankering for some broccoli-cheese soup. HE-LO not very good for you! I thought I'd take a chance and see if Eating Well had any ideas and found this recipe for Broccoli, Cannellini Bean & Cheddar Soup.

I have stated here before that I am not generally a fan of trying to reduce calories in something traditionally high-fat, but something about this recipe intrigued me. For one thing, it wasn't pretending to be broccoli-cheese soup, the beans are clearly stated in the title. For another, broccoli and cannellini beans are a good flavor combo. It called for using real, full-fat and flavor cheese. And for lasties, I happened to have all the ingredients at home already.

I must admit, I did doctor it a little. First I added some fat. (ha ha!) Good for you fat. Just a little olive oil! I needed to use up those ramps that are starting to wilt and I thought they would give it a nice flavor base. After clarifying the ramps I pretty much followed the recipe. Except that it calls for only broccoli crowns. This is SOUP people, for what other reason are you going to use the stems? So those went in too. I also never measure when preparing a recipe like this so I ended up adding quite a bit more stock then the recipe called for to get the proportions right. You'll notice that the original calorie count per serving is only like 151 calories (for a scant cup), Our 1 1/2 -2 cup servings were probably around 400 calories, which is still pretty darn good. Add the crusty white-flour baguette from Trader Joes and....

Well it's STILL a lot better for you than a full-fat, cream and cheese laden version would have been.

And the taste?

Delicious! I was concerned that the mouthfeel would be grainy. Which it was a mite, but could have been as much from the broccoli bits as the beans. Very flavorful, I was surprised that such a small amount of cheese could make such a big impact. Extra sharp is definitely needed. It was a hit with husband and me. Daughter refuses to eat any soup, but she pretty much doesn't eat dinner at all anyway so I rarely cater to her these days. Totally satisfying. Not to mention quick and easy to prepare on a weeknight!


Styling with Renee Michelle said...

Having all the ingredients on hand is a VERY good reason to make something.

And I've been trying to use more strong cheeses - extra sharp cheddar, feta, parmesan - precisely because it seems like you can use less and still have great flavor.

Lakeview Coffee Joe said...

Nice! I'm contemplating a revamping of what I eat. We'll see how that works. Part of the problem is having the food in the house, which you had for your soup. It's so much easier to eat healthy if you have the food to begin with!!!

Dad said...

That sounds great and fits our current eating mode as well. I think I'm going to try using the same technique with some cauliflower and extra aged gouda Alexis gave us.

Pulisha said...

Yum! That looks delicious, and I'm totally with RM, having all ingredients on hand makes it very hard to resist making something yummy! ;)