Cold weather finally arrived to middle Tennessee and so did the New Year! So that means two things-staying warm and getting into shape, although it was a frigid 16 degrees here this morning so I did not go running at 7am!! It’s resolution time, just as the coldest weather of the season so far kicks in, and I’m wanting plenty of comfort food. But comfort food doesn’t always have to be loaded with flour, butter, and cream. Here’s a yummy, spicy little soup that is light on the fat and heavy on the flavor. I made it over the weekend, and there were no leftovers at the end of the meal. A good sign we’ve got a keeper.
In addition to the low-fat aspect, it’s very easy on the budget, gluten-free, and if you like Indian food, this will be a home run in your house, too. Have you heard of garam masala? It’s a blend of spices used in Indian cooking. I found McCormick’s version at my grocery and it’s made up of cumin, coriander, black pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon. Certain brands may have slightly different blends. This added that distinct Indian flavor and that warm, inviting fragrance. This recipe even calls for more cumin and coriander on top of the garam masala and that means more flavor. My neighbor Regina and I were talking and she mentioned that when you’re cutting back on the fat content of a recipe, adding more herbs & spices is the way to go to round out the flavor and it certainly worked in this dish. And I love the bit of heat with the red chile! I put the whole chile in, but if the spice is too much for you, maybe just add half. You could also substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth and go totally vegetarian, and if the fat content is not an issue, use 1/2 & 1/2 instead of yogurt for that extra creamy taste!
Serve it with some warm naan bread and plenty of fresh cilantro on top and you’ve got a filling, flavorful, AND low-fat meal to fight the chill and keep you on track for healthier eating in 2016!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups diced Russet potatoes, peeled
- 2 small to average leeks, roots trimmed, halved lengthwise, chopped and well washed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 small carrots, peeled & chopped
- 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garam marsala spice blend
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 small red chile pepper, seeded and chopped (may use half of pepper for less spicy flavor)
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- Low-fat plain yogurt to add to each serving (may use 1/2 & 1/2 instead of yogurt)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Chopped, fresh cilantro for garnish
- Heat oil in a large stockpot. Saute potatoes, leeks, garlic, and carrots for 5-7 minutes over medium heat.
- Sprinkle in garam masala, coriander seed, cumin and stir. Cook for an additional minute or so.
- Add in chicken broth and chopped chile pepper. Turn heat up and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Add in peas and simmer for about 5 minutes more.
- Ladle hot soup into bowlsand add in desired about of yogurt (or 1/2 & 1/2)to taste and stir gently to blend. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with plenty of fresh cilantro and serve with warmed naan bread.