If you’re a new cook and want to feel good about your skills, make soup. If you want to impress people into thinking you’re a way better cook than you are, make pureed soup—and garnish it with something. Garnish is super fancy.
Titles like “cream of tomato” and “lobster bisque” used to make me melt into submission. I had to have it and loved every bite. Then I learned to cook. The terrible part about learning to cook is that the mystery curtain is lifted—like when you find out that the Wizard of Oz is just a little old man behind the curtain. You can no longer pretend you don’t know that lobster bisque is made with heavy cream and is therefore horribly detrimental to your mental calorie bank. If you’re making meal decisions according to your health and waistline, broth-based soup is usually the way to go.
But then there’s this soup. This soup seems indulgent but it’s simple to make and extremely diet friendly. By adding shrimp on top you’re creating a very low calorie, high protein, high nutrient dinner. Shrimp is pretty much the most perfect protein you can find; it’s crazy lean and high in both vitamin B and zinc. (Yes, yes, shrimp is high in cholesterol, but studies have found that it boosts good cholesterol more than the bad stuff.) Generally speaking, fresh-frozen shrimp is the way to go, as it’s almost always the economical buy.
To make the soup “creamy,” you simply puree it with a stick blender, food processor or regular blender. A stick (or wand) blender is great fun as you plug it in the wall, stick it in your pot and voila, pureed soup. A regular blender works just as well, though it can get messy in the transfer. All in all this should take you well under an hour to make; doable for a week night but even better for impressing weekend guests!
Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup with Shrimp
Serves six to eight
About 28 frozen large, cooked shrimp, thawed
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 tbsp. chopped or grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Idaho or russet potato, peeled and chopped
2 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 c. chicken broth
¼ c. nonfat or low fat plain Greek yogurt
Chopped fresh parsley, to serve
1. Dry thawed shrimp and toss with 2 tbsp. olive oil; set aside.
2. Heat remaining olive oil in a Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and ½ tsp. salt and cook, stirring, about ten minutes or until starting to turn golden.
3. Add ginger, garlic, potato, carrots, thyme, black pepper, cayenne and the remaining ½ tsp. salt and stir to coat.
4. Add chicken broth and increase the heat to high. Place the lid on the pot and bring it to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer with the lid on for about 15 minutes.
6. Add yogurt to soup pot. Using an immersion blender, a regular blender, or a food processor, puree soup.
7. Serve, topped with shrimp and parsley.
Per serving: 153 calories, 7.7 grams fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 16 grams carbs, 2.9 grams dietary fiber, 6.8 grams protein.
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Becca Boyd is a wife and new mom who teaches culinary courses to students at Radnor High School. She creates healthy and delicious recipes in her West Chester kitchen and blogs about them on her website, Home Beccanomics.