The Tribune - Spectrum


Celebrate without putting on weight!
August 6, 2000

Lean on everything
July 23, 2000
Salads For All
July 9, 2000
Sweet and sumptuous summer delights
June 25, 2000
Delicious desserts
June 11, 2000
Cool it with...
May 28, 2000
Non-vegetarian salads
May 14, 2000

Sunday, August 20, 2000
Sugar 'n' Spice

Nutritious soups for dieters
By Harkiran Sodhi

FOR those on a diet or rather those who would like to watch what they eat, soups are ideal. The reasons soups should play a prominent role in your daily diet plan is as they are nutritious, and if made correctly, low in calories, and best of all if you have a bowlful of soup before your meal it fills you up so that your appetite for the main meal is diminished. Soups can be made in a variety of ways and here again creativity is the key. Soups do not have to be the clichéd sweet corn or the same old tomato soup you have been drinking since your childhood. Today soups can be cold or hot and can be as varied as the vegetables or ingredients that you use and the ideas in your head.

A bowlful of soup before the meal cuts appetiteChilled soups or cold soups are also a boon on hot summer days when you run out of low calorie options of what to have when you are thirsty, mildly peckish or if you are entertaining. The variety of cold drinks you can serve when you are entertaining can get monotonous and a cold soup is a great way to enliven a dull menu.

On a contrary note are the hot, broth soups. These are a godsend on a cold winter day and not only can fill the hungriest of people but can warm you from the inside as well. A vegetable soup, or a minestrone soup are both good filling soups and are high on nutrition as well as taste.

Chilled cucumber soup


2 medium-sized onions, chopped fine

4 cucumbers peeled, seeded and sliced

2 ½ cups of yoghurt

1 bunch fresh green coriander

Tabasco sauce to taste

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups of stock (either vegetable or chicken)



Wash the coriander thoroughly. Chop the leaves and the stalks and keep aside. Add the peeled and chopped onions and the peeled, seeded and sliced cucumbers with the coriander into a blender and mix well till everything is finely chopped.

In a bowl mix the yoghurt with the Tabasco and the salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste. If you want the spice to be a little less then hold back on the Tabasco adding just 4-5 drops, for a stronger flavour add in more Tabasco.

Whisk the stock and the cucumber mixture into the yoghurt well. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours allowing it to chill. For best effect, chill the bowls you want to serve the cucumber soup in and pour the chilled soup into them, when you are ready to serve. This can be garnished with a dollop of yoghurt and a few coriander leaves.

Serves: 8

95 calories per serving

Low-cal vegetable soup


8 cups vegetable stock

100 gm carrots, finely sliced

100 gm French beans, chopped fine

60 gm cauliflower, cut into small pieces

60 gm peas

60 gm broccoli florets cut into small pieces salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a saucepan put the stock and bring it to a boil. Add the carrots, peas, beans and cauliflower and let it all simmer for 5-6 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook for a further 2-3 minutes till the broccoli is tender. Add in salt and black pepper to your taste. Serve hot with thick crusty bread.

Serves: 8

20 calories per serving

Vegetable stock


10 cups water

3 onions, chopped

4 celery stalks, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

4 cloves of garlic

1 bay leaf

8 black peppercorns


Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil. Simmer and cook uncovered for 10-12 minutes. Strain through a fine metal sieve and cool. This makes about 9-10 cups of vegetable stock, which can be kept in the fridge and used when needed.