I am constantly searching for ways to get vegetables into my diet. I have a quota I like to meet each day, although it’s never anywhere near the recommended amount. You know what they say- “5 to 9 a day!”. It’s the only way I can manage the shame I feel about my over-indulgences as an ex-nutrion major… plus it’s how I manage my diet so that I don’t end up 200 lbs of pure sugar and butter. Well, I know how unreasonable and hard 5 to 9 servings of fruits and veggies a day is. Especially if you’re a busy Mom or employee and don’t have the time to shop to make those things available. And even more then that, particularly with vegetables, you usually need the time to prepare them so that they are more appealing than just chomping on them raw… I understand where you’re coming from. That’s why I rely on soups to get a lot of vegetables into my diet. They are fairly simple to prepare, just a matter of chopping, sautéing, and simmering. Plus they are so versatile. There are an endless number of combinations you can use to suit your tastes and many ways to change up the flavor and consistency. Between alternating vegetables choices and choosing between, brothy, creamy, and noodly, you have options.
This particular soup I found in the Vegetarian Times Magazine. I fell in love with it right away. Sweet potatoes? Red bell peppers? Hello antioxidants! : D
Not only do I strive to eat lots of vegetables to maintain my weight, but to fill my body with as many antioxidants as I can. I am obsessed with antioxidants. As far as I am concerned, they are the only way to help prevent such illnesses as cancer. ANTIOXIDANTS are super important for your health. And this soup is full of them. Luckily it’s also delicious! And aside from the ingredients being great, I wasn’t completely sold on it being any good when I read through it the first time. I tend to steer clear for recipes that have any kind of reduction or special topping. It just seems like an extra addition that isn’t always necessary. Plus it takes away from any kind of “homeyness” to the soup and makes it more of an upscale restaurant kind of thing. Well, I decided to give this one a shot. I was really happy with how it enhanced the soup. It was a little bit of a pain because it used so much balsamic vinegar and if you don’t have agave syrup on hand, buying it for just this purpose is kind of silly because it’s pretty expensive for a simple syrup. I actually only made a half batch of the reduction and found that to be plenty. Regardless, I would still consider the reduction to be optional. I would hate for somebody to miss out on such a delicious and healthy soup because they don’t want to mess around with a reduction. I mean look at that color- it just screams HEALTHY! I love it…
In summary, eat your fruits and veggies. Make soup : )
- For the Reduction:
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup agave nectar
- For the Soup:
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, diced (1½ cups)
- ½ medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (1 cup)
- 1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced (1/2 cup)
- 1 large shallot, diced (1/2 cup)
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 large red bell peppers, diced (3 cups)
- To make Balsamic Reduction: Bring vinegar and agave nectar to a boil in small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes, or until thickened. Cool.
- To make Soup: Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add red onion, sweet potato, Yukon gold potato, and shallot, and cook 5 to 7 minutes. Add cumin, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth and bell peppers; bring to a simmer. Cook 30 minutes, or until bell peppers and potatoes are softened. Blend Soup in batches until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Drizzle each serving with Balsamic Reduction.