Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Vegetable Soups

Soups and stews speak to the flavor of the Mediterranean. Vegetable soups are a great way to get a variety of vegetables into your diet each day. Remember, the more vegetables you eat, the more disease-fighting nutrients you’re consuming on a daily basis. These soups are a perfect accompaniment to your meal, either as a starter or as your main vegetable.

If you’re using a traditional blender, blend the soup in small (1-to-2-cup) batches to avoid splattering soup everywhere.

Tomato Basil Soup

Prep time: 18 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

4 pounds tomatoes, halved across the hemisphere

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil

1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 large onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, sliced

4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup basil, sliced thinly

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat the grill or grill pan over high heat to 400 degrees.

    Remove the tomato seeds; brush the tomato halves with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle them with salt Grill skin side down for 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly blackened.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.

    Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 4 minutes. Pour in the stock, red pepper flakes, and roasted tomatoes.

  3. Bring the stock to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer for 30 minutes.

    Add the butter and stir until melted. Blend the soup in a blender or in the pot with a stick blender until it’s the desired texture.

  4. In the pot, season the blended soup with salt and pepper to taste.

    Divide the soup into eight bowls, top each serving with 1 tablespoon of sliced basil and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan, and serve.

Per serving: Calories 233 (From Fat 126); Fat 14g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 12mg; Sodium 967mg; Carbohydrate 22g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 7g.

Italian Leek and Potato Soup

Prep time: 8 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

3 large leeks (about 1-1/2 pounds)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium sweet or yellow onion, chopped

1 cup dry white wine

3 pounds Yukon gold or russet potatoes, peeled and diced large

5 to 6 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup whipping cream

Salt and white pepper to taste

  1. Thinly slice the leeks (the white portion and the tender part of the green).

    Soak the leeks in the water and drain twice to ensure all the sand is off the leek; drain and pat the leeks dry.

  2. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until foamy.

    Add the leeks and onions and sauté for 10 minutes. Add the wine and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

  3. Add the potatoes and enough stock to cover the potatoes.

    Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.

  4. Using a blender or stick blender, puree the mixture until creamy.

    Pour the blended mixture back into the stock pot. Add the cream and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with the salt and white pepper and serve.

Per serving: Calories 453 (From Fat 149); Fat 17g (Saturated 7g); Cholesterol 38mg; Sodium 334mg; Carbohydrate 60g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 11g.

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