By JIM ROMANOFF
The perfect bowl of soup makes a satisfying meal that's filling, yet low in calories and high in nutrition. But in the heat of summer, most people give it a pass.
But this recipe for chilled zucchini and green bean soup with a pesto swirl could change your mind about soup in summer.
Sauteed zucchini and sweet onions are simmered with two kinds of beans, then pureed into a soup that's creamy without being fatty. A swirl of store-bought basil pesto and a dollop of reduced-fat sour cream provide a luxurious finish.
The soup can be served at room temperature or chilled, so it makes a nice cooling lunch or entree on a hot summer evening.
Plus, this recipe makes a good template for what a healthy soup should be: based on a reduced-sodium broth and packed with low-calorie, nutritious and filling vegetables.
Using beans, such as the edamame in this soup, provides an added bonus of hunger-satisfying protein and dietary fiber.
Beans make an excellent base for soups that will seem rich. Combine them with a bit of broth or water, and puree to get velvety smooth results. If you like, use convenient canned beans, but be sure to rinse them under cold water to wash away some of the salt that is in the canning liquid.
To complete the meal, serve this soup with a salad and some crunchy whole-grain pita chips or breadsticks.
CHILLED ZUCCHINI AND GREEN BEAN SOUP WITH A PESTO SWIRL
Start to finish: 1 hour (15 minutes active)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 pound zucchini, ends trimmed and thinly sliced
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
10-ounce package frozen shelled edamame
1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup store-bought basil pesto
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and zucchini and saute until very soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in edamame and green beans and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for 15 minutes.
Transfer the soup, in batches if necessary, to a blender or food processor. Puree, then season with salt and pepper.
Serve soup chilled or at room temperature. When serving, divide the soup among 6 bowls and swirl a spoonful of pesto into each. Top with sour cream, if desired.
Nutritional information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 237 calories (135 calories from fat), 15g fat (3g saturated, 0g trans fats), 14mg cholesterol, 15g carbohydrates, 14g protein, 5g fiber, 350mg sodium.