Tomato Soup with Kale & Sweet Corn
If you know me, you know I HATE to do dishes. I'm always looking for shortcuts in the kitchen, and meals that create the fewest dirty pots and pans possible! This one-dirty-dish lunch is a QUICK, uber-healthy fix that everyone will like.
Tomatoes are a healthy summer staple with local and organic varieties readily available this time of year, and while we love them sliced, thick and juicy, cooking tomatoes actually brings out even more of their lycopene, the phytochemical that makes them red. While the hype over "antioxidants" has reached a fever and sometimes frivolous pitch, Lycopene is the real deal.....devouring up to 10 times more oxygenated free radicals than vitamin E, Cornell researchers have said. For this quick recipe, I'm using the organic, low-sodium variety that comes in a wax box in the soup aisle. It has a resealable lid and also comes in smaller sizes for individual meals. The box also helps us avoid that nasty bisphenol-A in almost all canned food liners and will keep in the fridge up to two weeks sealed.
And......Remember that mysterious, dark fluffy thing that used to garnish plates at restaurants? The one you shoved aside to make room for your actual food? That was Kale--the curly variety. Our most misunderstood leafy green, Kale has been identified as one of the single most nutrient-dense foods in nature for the fewest calories. Sulforaphane, which is formed when cruciferous vegetables like kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and collards are chopped or chewed, triggers the liver to produce enzymes that detoxify. Kale is also a major source of Potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. I like to cook with flat leaf Tuscan or Black Kale. (pictured below) This recipe is an easy introduction to cooking with Kale that I hope for your sake, you'll make a permanent part of your produce shopping. It's great in vegetable juice combos, stir-frys, salads and soups.
Corn is always a favorite, and usually something finicky kids will actually eat. And who doesn't love heart-healthy garlic in just about everything?! For this meal, you can choose garlic salt for healthy folks with active workout lifestyles, garlic powder to keep the sodium low, or the handy refrigerated crushed garlic I love to use when pressed for time. Pun intended.
Tomato Soup with Kale & Sweet Corn (Serves 4) (Prep time: 5 minutes) (Cooking time: 10 minutes)
1 pkg tomato soup (I like Pacifica Organic Tomato Soup in the 32 oz. box) (Low Sodium variety, please, as we'll add some later that tastes much better!)
1 (8 oz) pkg frozen organic sweet or white corn
1 bunch organic, flat-leaf kale (1/2 bunch will be used)
garlic salt/garlic powder/crushed garlic (jar)
1 TBS basil (fresh chopped or dry)
Ground black pepper
Rinse the kale and chop into short, narrow strips about 2 in long and 1/2 in wide. Do this by cutting out the stiff stalk that runs up the middle, fold kale halves over each other and cut horizontally. Do this with approx. half of the bunch. Kale will reduce slightly upon cooking. In a medium saucepan heat four cups (1-32 oz container) tomato soup over medium heat and immediately add kale, garlic, basil and pepper. Bring to a bare simmer for 5 minutes, then add corn and heat for 5 more minutes. Test to make sure corn has warmed through and kale is chewy, not coarse. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan if desired.
To make lunch just for little ol' you, only pour a cup or two of the soup and about a third of the corn package and two leaves' worth of kale.
While the soup cooks, I like to toast a piece of whole wheat to crunch and dip. You will be amazed at how flavorful and filling this amazingly healthy soup is!