Kat Barry: Clean and simple soup

Published 3:42 pm Monday, December 16, 2013

File photo

File photo

If you’re anything like me, you’re definitely feeling the effects of the holiday season gluttony. This week, I’ve vowed to lay off the oils, grains, and booze. I stopped by my local food coop so I can cook clean meals at home instead of eating out. I made a couple large salads and a pot of soup in advance, so later in the week when I’m in a big hurry, I can just grab one of my portioned out lunches or dinners on the go rather than stopping by my favorite veggie fast casual. I also put some nuts in 4-8 ounce containers which I then threw in my backpack and car. This way I have a healthy snack to eat while I’m running around all day.

These simple planning techniques really help me to stay thin and feeling light all year around, but especially during hectic times of year like the holidays. There are lots of tricks like this to help keep you on track when life seems to want to derail you and I plan to share them throughout the month.

One way to clean up your diet and help you lighten up a bit before the true holiday madness hits, is to cut back on oil use. I got really into low or no oil recipes last winter for the same reason: avoiding winter and holiday weight gain. Let’s face it, this time of year, the last thing we need is more fat in our foods! I’m not saying you have to cut oil out altogether, but try to cut back or eliminate oil from certain recipes. When sauteing veggies, use water or citrus juice to deglaze the pan instead of oil. It works really well and helps keep your plate clean and your waistline svelt.

One of the easiest types of recipes to make without oil are soups. If you make a delicious vegetable stock and stir in a little nutritional yeast, you won’t even notice a lack of richness associated with oil free recipes. Further, turning up the heat a notch add tons of flavor, boosts your immune system and your metabolism. We need all of these things in December! Here is one of my favorite recipes right now. It’s totally vegan, oil free, grain free, spicy and delicious.

Spicy Kale and Squash Soup

Serves: 8

About 8 cups vegetable stock

1 yellow onion, diced

1 cup green bell pepper, diced

1 ½ cups diced butternut squash

2 cups broccoli florets

4-6 cups kale torn into 1 inch pieces

1 ½ cup kidney beans

1 haberaro pepper (optional)

¼ cup nutritional yeast


1. Place vegetable stock through squash in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to a simmer, and add the millet and hot peppers. Let simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.

3. Add the broccoli, and let cook another 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the beans, greens, and nutritional yeast. Turn off heat. Allow to cool about 5-10 minutes before serving.