THE BLOG

Come All Ye Lazy Eaters, Vegetable Haters

04/30/2013 01:17 pm ET | Updated Jun 30, 2013

I can't say enough about the miraculous nature of nonstarchy vegetables. They contain micronutrients -- vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and enzymes -- that work synergistically with macronutrients -- proteins and fats -- to rebuild and repair your body on a cellular level. These micronutrients help stave off cancer and other diseases by keeping your body naturally detoxified. Non-starchy vegetables contain fiber that helps keep insulin low and blood sugar levels balanced by slowing down the absorption of carbs.

The problem is cooking and then all the chewing involved in eating the ideal 12 servings a day (about half a cup is a serving). So what to do? I'm huge fan of juicing green veggies. But some people are just plain eeewww when it comes to juicing. So another wonderfully easy and delish idea is puréed veggie soup.

You don't really need a recipe to make vegetable soup. Any nonstarchy vegetables go together.

Examples of Nonstarchy Vegetables That Work Well in Soup

Asparagus
Bok choy
Broad beans
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celery
Chinese cabbage
Chives
Collard greens
Green beans (you have to remove the ends and strings)
Kale
Leeks
Mushrooms
Onions
Parsley
Scallop squash
Snap beans
Snow peas
Shallots
Spinach
Spaghetti squash
Summer squash
Swiss chard
Tomatoes (green or red)

At this point you've got a zero-carb soup that you could eat pots of and never gain an ounce. But I like to always eat carbs with a meal. Carbs do several things:

  1. Provide energy
  2. Add to the satisfaction of meal
  3. In a puréed soup, a little starchy vegetable adds thickness, making the soup more palatable
  4. Carbs are necessary for the transmission of serotonin across the blood-brain barrier into your brain. So a little carb is essential to feel good and to sleep well (serotonin converts to the sleep hormone melatonin).

If you are eyeballing servings, one-half of a cup is about equal to your cupped palm. One cup about equal to your fist. These portions equal 15 grams of carb.

Examples of Starchy Vegetables that Work Well in Soup

Kidney beans (half-cup) (buy organic, cooked beans and rinse before using)
Carrots (one cup)
Corn (half-cup or one medium cob)
Green peas (half-cup)
Parsnips (half-cup)
Sweet potatoes or yams (half-cup)
White potatoes (one small, or half a cup mashed)
Winter squash, such as acorn or butternut squash (one cup)

To wash grit off of vegetables, fill your kitchen sink with water and then submerge and swish and if necessary scrub with a vegetable brush. When clean, chop veggies into small pieces and put into a large soup pot filled with water, turn the flame on high to boil and then immediately reduce to medium and allow to cook until veggies are barely soft. You don't want mush. Add the harder veggies first, and then the softer veggies like spinach (which really only takes a few seconds to wilt). Experimentation is the best way to learn to cook.

Veggies cook really fast when cut up so pierce a few with a fork after about 15 minutes. That should be enough time for the hardest veggies, add the super-soft veggies and allow to wilt.

Last, you want to season your soup.

Seasoning Ingredients to Include While Cooking:

Sea salt
Black pepper
Garlic
Ginger root
Jalapeño and other chili peppers
A teensie amount of cayenne pepper
Paprika

When your soup is finished cooking -- and remember try not to overcook -- remove from the hot stove and allow to cool completely. You never want to blenderize anything hot in a plastic carafe. Plastic emits xenohormones, which are endocrine disruptors and a major cause of our rise in cancer.

Once your soup is cool purée in batches, pour back into a clean pot and reheat to serve.

I like to serve my puréed soup topped with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese. Once you make this soup, you'll love all the options of flavors of mixing different vegetables and seasonings. You can freeze some too!

Enjoy your daily 12 servings of veggies!

For more by Nancy Deville, click here.

For more on diet and nutrition, click here.