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Friday, November 04, 2005

Pumpkin Soup: Delicious Variations

A Living After Weight Loss surgery community member shared a recipe for a simple pumpkin soup that is low calorie, nutrient dense and soul comforting on crisp autumn days. Pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse - a 1/2 cup serving of yields 300% of the RDI for Vitamin A - 80% as beta carotene. The basic recipe is quick and simple and lends itself to endless variation.

Basic Pumpkin Soup
1 15-Ounce Can Libby’s* Pure Pumpkin
2 14-Ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Splenda sweetener to taste

Over medium-heat in a 2-quart saucepot combine the pumpkin and broth. Heat to a simmer without boiling (about five minutes). Taste for flavor and add red pepper flakes and Splenda to taste. Serve warm.

A 1-cup serving is 30 calories; 2.15 grams protein, 10 grams carbs, 1 gram fat.

*LIBBY'S uses only a special variety of pumpkin called the Dickinson. Through careful cultivation and research, we’ve ensured that all of our pumpkin has a delicious taste, creamy texture and pleasing orange color. Just check the label: no salt, no sugar, no flavorings or colorings, just 100% Pure Pumpkin. Available in 15oz and 29oz cans.

Variations to Basic Pumpkin Soup:
Here are some variations to the Basic Pumpkin Soup. As WLS patients we are told to focus on protein intake. To increase the protein value of this delicious soup we can add shredded chicken, chopped turkey, shrimp, fish (such as halibut), and even silken tofu to most of these variations. Experiment and find what satisfies your craving for a delicious soup on a cold autumn night.

Apple-Pumpkin Soup
To add sweetness add 1/3 to ½ cup apple juice to the soup mixture. Or add one small chopped apple to mixture for sweetness and extra fiber. Remove from heat and stir-in ½ cup low-fat cream cheese or Ricotta cheese. Delicious!

Honey-Mustard Pumpkin Soup
Using the Basic Pumpkin Soup recipe omit the Splenda and crushed red pepper. Add 2 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon of prepared mustard. Taste for flavor and adjust accordingly.

Mushroom Pumpkin Soup
In 1 2-quart saucepot sauté ½ cup of chopped yellow onion and 8 ounces sliced mushrooms. Salt & pepper to taste. When vegetables are tender add the Basic Pumpkin Soup ingredients. Bring mixture to a low simmer and heat five minutes. Taste and season with ground nutmeg and Splenda.

Chicken Pumpkin Soup
Shred one pre-cooked chicken breast with two forks. Heat chicken in microwave oven. Place ½ cup of chicken in each bowl. Ladle ½ cup Basic Pumpkin Soup in each bowl. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or low-fat plain yogurt. (The chicken adds 26 grams of protein and the soup makes the chicken easier to chew and digest. One tablespoon of regular sour cream adds 17 mg of calcium and 3.2 grams of fat.)

Curried Pumpkin Soup:
Place 2-Tablespoons olive oil In the 2-quart saucepot and heat over medium-high heat.

2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 med onion, peeled and quartered
1 lg. jalapeno pepper, seeded and -coarsely chopped
2 Stalks celery, cut into -2-inch lengths
3 lg. Carrots, peeled and sliced -1/4 inch thick

When vegetable are soft add:
1 15-Ounce Can Libby’s* Pure Pumpkin
1 14-Ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
1 Bay leaf
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. Turmeric
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper

Heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve warm with a garnished with a dollop of sour cream or plain low-fat yogurt and chopped flat leaf parsley.

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