One of my daughter E’s favorite soups is a “Chick’n” Noodle Soup that starts with Imagine’s No-Chicken broth and includes, besides pasta, either Soy Curls or another packaged chicken substitute such as Lightlife Smart Strips. It’s one of those dishes that feel comforting on a chilly night or whenever our spirits need a lift, so my family asks for it a lot. As someone who is trying to cut down on sodium and processed foods, I know in my head that this family favorite isn’t the most nutritious soup in the world, but I’m not immune to its charms. The stuff is addictive! Nevertheless, when I found myself craving it recently, I decided it was time to give it a nutrition-boosting makeover.
My new version uses no broth (the vegetables and seasonings create their own), substitutes chickpeas for “Chick’n,” and replaces the noodles with strips of cabbage. Though E still demands actual pasta in her soup, I found this a satisfying stand-in and almost as comforting as the original at a fraction of the calories.
Cabbage “Noodle” Soup
Cabbage takes the place of noodles in this low-calorie soup, but if you want to add more heartiness, add 2 ounces of pasta during the last 15 minutes of cooking or add a diced potato or two along with the water. I kept the sodium low by using water instead of broth, but for a richer flavor, you can add vegetable bouillon cubes to taste or use vegetable broth for half of the water.
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced or sliced
- 2 ribs celery, diced (leaves included)
- 8 cups water
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/4 head cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
- generous grating of black pepper
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 2 teaspoons mellow white miso
- salt to taste
- Preheat a large, non-stick pot. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until onions soften. Add the water and all remaining ingredients except nutritional yeast, parsley, and miso. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until vegetables are tender and broth is flavorful (at least 30 minutes).
- Stir in the nutritional yeast and parsley. Place the miso in a small bowl and add some of the hot broth a little at a time, stirring, until the miso is dissolved in the broth. Add the miso broth back to the pot. Add salt to taste and serve.
Total time: 45 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 6
Nutrition (per serving): 116 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1.2g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 257.9mg sodium, 273.6mg potassium, 21.2g carbohydrates, 4.2g fiber, 2.2g sugar, 6.4g protein, 3.3 MyPointsPlus (no affiliation with Weight Watchers).
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