Healthy soups for breaking the fast

Healthy soups for breaking the fast

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Amal Al-Sibai
Saudi Gazette

Ramadan is that time of year that triggers nostalgia for the past, for childhood days, for family, and for my mom’s cooking. As soon as Ramadan starts, I crave my mother’s lentil soup, fattoush salad, flaky homemade pastries, and other scrumptious meals. It is a Ramadan tradition in almost every home to serve soup for the breaking of the fast meal. This Ramadan tradition is actually healthy and good for our bodies after a long fast.

Soups are easy on the stomach and easy to digest after a fast. Also, it is an excellent way to replace fluids lost during the day. Making soup is an excellent way to get your family to eat vegetables. The added benefit is that the vitamins and minerals are preserved in the soup. When cooking vegetables, the vitamins and minerals leach out into the water and when you throw away the cooking water, you lose most of the nutrients, but when eating soup you are eating this nutrient rich cooking water as well!

Eating soup before the main meal is a smart way to partially fill you up so you do not overeat on the fatty foods, fried foods, sambusa, and meats.

Here are plenty of delicious recipes to try this Ramadan, and keep the Ramadan tradition of soups alive.

Onion, Tomato & Chickpea Soup

Ingredients:

2 onions, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons brown sugar

625 g. tomatoes, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

400 g. can chickpeas, drained

900 ml. vegetable or chicken stock

Directions:

Heat olive oil, then fry onions and stir for 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar and cook for ten minutes until the onions turn slightly brown. Stir in the tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes. Mix in tomato paste, chickpeas, stock, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, grated

1 medium onion, finely diced

3 large carrots, finely diced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

3 cans whole tomatoes

Half cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped basil

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot. Add the garlic, onion, and carrots, and stir for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir.
Next, add 1 cup water along with the vegetable or chicken stock. Add the tomatoes. Stir and bring it to a boil, reduce to low heat, cover the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the cream, stir and cook for a few more minutes. Sprinkle the parsley and basil, salt, and pepper, then stir and serve.

Minestrone

Ingredients:

2 zucchini, chopped into cubes

2 yellow squash, chopped in to cubes

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 carrots, chopped

1 medium onion, diced

3 celery stalks, chopped

8 cups chicken stock

2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups green beans

1 can diced tomatoes

1 and a half cups miniature pasta shells, cooked and drained

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions:

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Sauté the chopped onion until the onions are transparent. Add the carrot, celery, green beans, zucchini, and squash; stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in the vegetable or chicken stock. Add the beans and tomatoes. Simmer on low for 15 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and parsley. Simmer for another 5 minutes and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Oat Soup

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup oats

5 large tomatoes, halved and sliced

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, chopped

Half a bunch fresh cilantro

Salt

Directions:

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the oats, cook and stir until oats are toasted. Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, 1 cup of water, and cilantro. Blend until smooth. Pour into the pan with the toasted oats. Stir in the remaining 3 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Potato Soup

Ingredients:

6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced

2 carrots, chopped

6 celery stalks, chopped

1 onion, chopped

8 cups water

6 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons flour

Salt and pepper

1 and a half cups low fat milk

Directions:

In a large pot, cook the potatoes, carrots, and celery in water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserve the liquids, and set the vegetables aside. Melt the butter, and sauté the onions in the butter until tender. Stir in the flour mixing constantly, and gradually pour in the milk. Bring to a boil, cook and stir until thickened. Stir in the cooked vegetables. Add 1 cup or more of the reserved cooking liquid until soup is desired consistency.

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