Processed soups, whether in cans or at deli counters or in restaurants, traditionally are overloaded with salt. Even soups labeled low-sodium have a ton of salt, as I’ve written about the many low-sodium broths on supermakret shelves, for example.
So I was intrigued by a headline I saw about Consumer Reports rating low-sodium soups. Had the venerable journal found a low-sodium soup I’d missed? Not exactly.
“Consumer Reports’ top choice in the blind test is a homemade minestrone made by its trained chef. It had less sodium and the best flavor of all of them. So if you have a little more time, consider making your own soup. It just might taste better and be better for you,” according to a report on the magazine’s findings by news4jax.com.
Here’s the recipe for that homemade soup:
Consumer Reports’ easy minestrone recipe
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (28 ounce) can no salt added crushed tomatoes
3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 (15 ounce) can no salt added chickpeas, drained
1 (15 ounce) can no salt added kidney beans, drained
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 ounces ditalini pasta, cooked according to package directions
4 cups fresh spinach
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1. Add the oil, onion, celery, carrots, and garlic to a multi-cooker on Sauté mode or a traditional large pot on the stovetop. Stir and sauté the ingredients for 5 minutes. Stir in oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Add the tomatoes, broth, water, chickpeas, kidney beans, zucchini, and green beans. For multi-cooker: Close the lid with the vent in the sealing position. Change the setting to Pressure mode. Set the timer for 5 minutes. When the multi-cooker beeps, do a quick pressure release according to the manufacturer’s directions. For stovetop: bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 to 35 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
3. Stir in the spinach until wilted, about 1 minute; add cooked pasta. Serve topped with the Parmesan cheese and parsley.
Makes about 10 servings
Nutritional information per 1 cup serving: 210 calories, 4 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 33 g carbs, 9 g fiber, 10 g protein, 190 mg sodium