Black Bean & Cilantro Soup with Croutons

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I can’t believe how fantastic this soup was, and on my first try! Tex-Mex food has been out of the question for the past few months because onions, garlic, and hot peppers are bad for reflux. This recipe uses over a cup of fresh herbs for flavor and brightness in place of those items. And it’s rave-worthy! I may quit my job and make a living selling jars of Paula’s Fabulous, Fat-Free Soup.

I included small amounts of cumin, onion powder, and roasted pepper here, but you can leave some of them out if they bother you. The herbs are the star in this dish.

I made croutons to top this soup instead of high-fat cheese or avocado. I had some beautiful Italian bread left over from my husband’s takeout, and it crisped up perfectly in the oven. Of course, a small sprinkle of sharp cheddar would be great, too, if you have some.

This recipe is a way to use up wilted herbs. My cilantro and parsley were damp and limp in their paper towels, but once they hit the soup, that didn’t matter. It feels great to utilize the stems, too, instead of shoving them down the garbage disposal.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 15.5-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup piquillo or roasted red peppers, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 cup cilantro (leaves and stems)
  • 1/2 cup parsley (leaves and stems)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup corn (fresh is preferable)
  • sea salt
  • extra cilantro (for garnish)
FOR THE CROUTONS:
  • 1 cup cubed stale bread per person (gluten free if desired)
  • cooking spray

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine all soup ingredients except corn and salt in a large pot (not nonstick). Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Drop heat to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the pot from heat and discard the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup (carefully!). IMG_4502
  4. Add corn, cover, and return to a boil.
  5. Remove the lid, add salt to taste, and simmer for 10 to 15 for minutes, until soup reaches your desired consistency.
  6. To make croutons, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the bread into cubes and spread on a baking sheet. Spray the cubers well with cooking spray. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.

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Serves 3 to 4. Adapted from Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet & Cure

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Empty-Fridge Quinoa

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I just came back from a long trip and am about to leave for Labor Day weekend, so my fridge is sparsely populated. Here’s a dinner I threw together to use up the last of the produce drawer. It also prevents me from buying a couple of meals, so I can save my cash for vacation!

This recipe would work with any vegetables and spices you have on hand. Parsley, zucchini, bok choy, eggplant, and sweet potatoes would be great additions. The broth and at least one kind of fresh herb are crucial; otherwise it’s going to taste like bland canned soup.

Regarding the scallions—they’re on the “no” list for heartburn, along with onions. But I’ve been experimenting with banned ingredients to see what causes me grief. The green parts are less oniony than the white ends, and a bit of cooked green scallion was no problem. Try it to see what works (and doesn’t work) for you.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 carrot, diced small
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn
  • 2 chopped scallions, green parts only
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rinse the quinoa with cool water in a fine mesh strainer. Rub it with your fingers under the water to remove the bitter coating.
  2. Add all ingredients except basil and salt to a small nonstick pan. Stir, cover, and bring to boil. Then drop to low heat and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. IMG_4472
  3. Fluff quinoa with a fork. Stir in basil and salt to taste and serve.
Serves 2.

Summer Corn & Cod Chowder

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I love the idea of a brothy chowder, as I disliked creamy soups even before I started watching fat content. This soup uses mashed potatoes and the starchy juice from corn cobs as thickening agents.

To extract juice from the corn cobs, use a sharp knife to remove the kernels over a bowl. Then drag the knife over the cob and allow the juice to fall into the bowl. If you have extra corn and want to save it for later, put this mixture into a zip-top bag and freeze it. Then dump the bag’s contents into the soup when you’re ready to cook.

This was my first attempt using bok choy as a substitution for onion; the textures are similar. Also, in an attempt to add more seafood to my diet, I threw in some fish at the end of cooking. The cod adds heartiness (and it’s the least expensive seafood out there).

Sweet corn and fresh herbs make this chowder summery, even though the soup base is a typical chicken broth. This soup makes a simple, satisfying meal when served with a toasted slice of multigrain bread.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small carrots, diced small
  • 1 head baby bok choy, diced small
  • 3 ears fresh corn
  • 1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 lb cod fillets, diced
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • handful of fresh basil

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DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrot and cook for 5 minutes. Add bok choy (including leaves) and cook for 3 more minutes.
  2. Use a knife to cut the kernels from the corn cobs into a bowl. Scrape the empty cob to extract juice, and add to the corn.
  3. Add corn, potato, broth, water, wine, bay leaf, thyme, and dill to the pot. Add 10 grinds of sea salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, drop heat to low, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leaf. Use the back of a spoon to mash most of the potatoes against the side of the pot.
  5. Add chopped cod and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, until cooked through.
  6. Turn off heat an allow soup to sit for 30 minutes for flavors to blend. (If you can’t wait, go ahead and eat—but know that your leftovers will be more flavorful.)
  7. Reheat soup. Taste and add more salt if needed. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped parsley and basil.

Serves 4. Adapted from http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/2012/07/corn-chowder-without-cream.html