Monday, September 23, 2013

Zucchini, Fennel and Spinach Soup with Basil: Another 5:2 Soup

Sorry for not having been posting for a few days. I do have an excuse; I have had shingles. While I am on the mend now, the last couple of weeks have been spent attempting to get some  sleep (highly unsuccessful) and smearing various goos all over the sore parts of me. Even considering cooking was more work than I could handle, although I did go in to my regular job more often than not. At home we ate from the freezer and takeout. Try to avoid getting shingles if you can. Painful, to say the least. Okay, VERY painful.

So this first post back isn't a Meaty Monday post, but a Fast Diet, or a 5:2 recipe for a soup I am planning to have today, and share with Donna at work. Takeout isn't good for my figure. Ahem.

This soup is deeply flavorful, but fresh tasting, quick to make, and partly stolen from a Rachael Rae recipe. It uses things you can still find in the farm markets and grocery stores in late September. It is also under 50 calories per serving, plus it is gluten free and vegan, unless you use a meat stock.

Zucchini, Fennel and Spinach Soup with Basil

Zucchini, Fennel and Spinach Soup with Basil

With a nod to Rachael Ray, as I saw a good-looking recipe in her magazine for a zucchini - fennel soup recently. My version still tastes rich, but will fit easily into your Fast Diet or 5:2 Plan.

1 lb. zucchini , diced (about 2 medium)
8 oz. fennel bulb , cored and sliced (about 1 small- medium)
2 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups baby spinach (85g)
2-4 Tablespoons sliced basil leaves
(optional: 1 tsp. chicken stock base)
few grinds of nutmeg and white pepper
sea salt

Place the zucchini, fennel, shallots and garlic in a large saucepan, and cover with water.  Add the stock base if you are using it. Salt lightly. Bring to a boil, cut back to a simmer, and cook about 10 to 12 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Add the spinach, basil, nutmeg and pepper, and cook an additional 2 minutes or so until the spinach has wilted and is bright green. Taste for salt  and pepper and add if needed. Puree with an immersion blender, or a regular blender and serve hot. Makes 4 hearty servings under 50 calories each.

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