Saturday, May 12, 2007

Delicious, healthy pesto veggie soup

Do you remember the terrible WW no-point soup? I'm sure for some of you it's fresh in your memory, was perhaps mentioned to you recently. It's full of no-point vegetables in a beef/tomato broth. That's it. No protein, no bread or pasta. I'm sure there is a small minority of people who actually do really like the soup; maybe it reminds those people of something their grandmother made. I made it when I was on Weight Watchers a few years ago and found it hideous; it left my stomach acidic and growling not long after I ate it. (No wonder--it had no calories!) Yech.

I was thinking about that soup while I made us dinner a few nights ago. I was making a vegetable soup again . . . still with crushed tomatoes and broth (veggie now) as the basis. But this one had about 2/3 cup of whole-wheat cheese tortellini in each serving and a spoonful of pesto to stir into each bowl. I can't tell you the calorie count of it--it certainly would not qualify as a no-point meal. I can tell you the soup was healthy and easy--and delicious enough that we happily ate the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Veggie/Tortellini Soup with Pesto
Makes about 4 servings

a mix of vegetables, chopped into bite-size pieces and separated by how long they normally take to cook (I used a couple of carrots (10 min. to cook), a bunch of Swiss chard (7 min. to cook), two handfuls of frozen broccoli (6 min. to cook), and a yellow squash (3 min. to cook))

1 can of crushed tomatoes (I used Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes)

2-4 c. of veggie broth

4 garlic cloves

2-3 c. of frozen or refrigerated cheese tortellini (one pckg.--I used whole-wheat tortellini)

salt and pepper

~2 T. of pesto (we used pesto my husband had made that we froze in an ice-cube tray, but refrigerated or shelved store-bought pesto would work fine)

Dump your can/jar of crushed tomatoes and 2 c. of veggie broth into a large pot, and turn the burner to med-high. Crush the garlic cloves into the pot. Heat to a boil. If you have any vegetables that will take a long time to cook, add them to the pot and let them boil a few minutes. I added my carrots for about four minutes before adding my tortellini. When you are ready to put your tortellini in (mine took about 8 min. to cook--just what the package said), you will need to turn the heat on the burner down so that your soup only simmers; a fast boil would blow apart your pasta before it's cooked. Add tortellini and other veggies according to about how long they will take to cook. Add more veggie broth if you need to in order to keep everything barely covered by soup. You should time it so that everything in your soup will be ready at the same time. (If one veggie stays a little bit crunchy or gets a little bit soggy, it's okay.)

Ladle the soup into bowls; add a bit of salt and pepper. Put an approximately 2-tsp. dollop of pesto into each bowl; let the person eating that bowl of soup stir the pesto in right before consumption.

The pesto adds a rich flavor to the otherwise simple soup.


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