Soup's On!

What’s more comforting than a piping-hot bowl of soup? Knowing that it’s fewer than 250 calories per serving! Enjoy!

Watercress with balsamic beet-roast chickpeas and parsley crab | yield: 4 servings, calories: 238 per serving



– 1 cup beet juice

– 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

– 1 14-oz. can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried

– Salt and pepper


– 1/2 small leek, finely chopped

– 1 garlic clove, chopped

– 1 celery rib, coarsely chopped

– 1 large zucchini (approximately 9 oz.), coarsely chopped

– 1/2 Tbs. olive oil

– 21/4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

– 3 sun-dried tomatoes

– 31/2 oz. fresh white crabmeat

– Few sprigs of parsley or tarragon, finely chopped

– Squeeze of lemon juice

– 12 oz. watercress

– 11/2 cups unsweetened soy milk

Directions: To make the chickpeas, place the beet juice and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to about 1/4 cup and has a thick syrupy consistency. Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the chickpeas in a small baking pan and pour over half of the syrup, mixing well. Season and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, pour over the remaining syrup and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, keeping an eye to make sure the syrup does not burn. When ready, set aside. Saute the leek, garlic, celery and zucchini in the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of water for about 5 to 8 minutes. Add a splash more water if necessary. Pour in the stock, then the sun-dried tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Mix the crabmeat with the chopped parsley or tarragon, and then season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Refrigerate until needed. Removed the sun-dried tomatoes then add the watercress and soy milk. Simmer for a couple of minutes to soften. Blend until smooth and season to taste. Serve, topped with a spoonful of crabmeat and a scattering of chickpeas.

"The key to a flavorful soup is homemade chicken or vegetable stock. To make a quick vegetable stock, simmer 1 quart of water with onions, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper for an hour. Cool the stock and use as needed.” —Chef Rama Ginde, WannaBee Chef, Hillsdale

Carrot, coconut and ginger with cilantro sambal | yield: 4 servings, calories: 227 per serving


– 11/4 cups fresh coconut, grated

– 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

– 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds

– 2 shallots, diced

– 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped

– 5 Tbs. ginger, peeled and grated

– 1/2 tsp. chile flakes

– 1/2 Tbs. coconut oil

– 11/2 lbs. carrots

– 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock


– 2 cups cilantro, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup grated fresh coconut

– 1 Tbs. ginger, peeled and grated

– 1 small green chile, seeded and coarsely chopped

– Juice of 1 lime

– Salt and pepper

Directions: If using a whole coconut, prepare it by piercing the three eyes with a skewer, and drain out the liquid. Then, wrap it in a towel, place on a hard surface, such as the floor (or take it outside), and give it a firm blow with a hammer to crack it open. Use a spoon to gently lift the flesh away from the harder exterior and remove the brown skin using a potato peeler if desired. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small frying pan for about 2 minutes, then grind in a mortar and pestle. Saute the shallots, garlic, ginger, chile flakes and ground spices in the coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of water for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a splash of water if the mixture sticks to the pan. Add the carrots, fresh coconut and stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes until the carrots are soft. To make the sambal, place the cilantro, grated coconut, ginger and chile into a mini food processor and pulse to a coarse, dry paste. Stir in the lime juice and season to taste. When the soup is ready, blend until smooth, season and serve topped with the sambal.

"If you are a fan of coconut or want to add a little creaminess without dairy, substitute half of the stock with light coconut milk.” —Chef Rama Ginde, WannaBee Chef, Hillsdale

Beets with tarragon buckwheat | yields: 4 servings, 147 calories per serving


– 1/2 cup raw or unroasted buckwheat

– 1 tsp. olive oil

– 1 medium onion, coarsely diced

– 1 garlic clove, finely sliced

– 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, ground in a mortar and pestle

– 3 medium beets, approximately 1 lb. unpeeled weight

– 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. sherry vinegar

– 3 cups vegetable stock

– 3/4 cup tarragon, leaves picked and coarsely chopped

– 1 tsp. English mustard

– Salt and pepper


– 1 beet, washed and peeled

– 1 Tbs. canola or olive oil

– Flavor ideas: ground fennel seeds, sumac and fresh thyme

– Salt and pepper

Directions: For the beet chips, preheat the oven to 300F. Thinly slice the beet into perfect circles about 1/8-inch thick. Thoroughly coat with the oil, salt, pepper and any other flavor you have chosen. Lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes, turning halfway. Check every 5 minutes, and remove any that are already cooked—smaller chips will cook quicker. Let cool before serving. Rinse the buckwheat in a strainer under cold water and transfer to a saucepan with about 2/3 cup cold water and a generous pinch of salt. Simmer with the lid on for 8 to 10 minutes until tender. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside in the strainer to ensure all excess liquid drains from the seeds. Gently heat the olive oil and add the onion, garlic and ground fennel along with 1 tablespoon of water. Sweat, with the lid on, for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add a splash more water if the onions stick to the pan. Peel and coarsely grate the beets and add to the saucepan with the tablespoon of sherry vinegar and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the beets are tender. Meanwhile pound the tarragon, mustard and teaspoon of sherry vinegar in a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste. Season to taste and stir through the buckwheat. Set aside. When the soup is ready, blend until smooth and season to taste. If the beets are particularly sweet, a good grinding of pepper may be needed to create a good balance. Serve the soup, topped with the tarragon-dressed buckwheat and beet chips.

"Using different varieties of beets such as golden or candy cane will create more depth of flavor and sweetness. When used as a garnish, the different colors make for a beautiful presentation.” —Chef Andrew Gonci, Ridgewood Culinary Studio, Ridgewood

Superfood chowder | yield: 4 servings, calories: 241 per serving


1/3 cup black quinoa

– Pinch of salt

– 11/2 cups unsweetened soy milk

– 9 oz. smoked haddock

– 1 bay leaf

– 1 onion, peeled and halved

– 6 peppercorns

– 1 medium leek, finely sliced

– 1 garlic clove, chopped

– 1/2 Tbs. olive oil

– 1 fresh corn on the cob

– 3 cups vegetable stock

– 51/2 oz. spinach, finely shredded

– 3 Tbs. chives, finely chopped

Directions: Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a small saucepan, cover with 2/3 cup water, add a pinch of salt, bring to a boil and cook with the lid on for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes so that the grains absorb any remaining water. Return to the strainer and run under cold water again to cool completely. Set aside until needed. Place the soy milk in a medium saucepan with the smoked haddock, bay leaf, onion halves and peppercorns. Slowly bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Strain and set the cooking broth aside. Clean the saucepan and return to the heat. Saute the leek and garlic in the oil and 1 tablespoon of water over low heat for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Stand the corn upright and slide the blade of a sharp knife along the length of the cob, removing the kernels as you do so. Add these to the saucepan, along with the reserved cooking broth and the vegetable stock. Add the cob for added flavor. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce to a simmer, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes. When ready, remove the cob and used a slotted spoon to skim any foam that has formed on the surface. Add the cooked quinoa, along with the spinach and fish. Bring to just below boiling point, season to taste, garnish with some chopped chives and serve immediately.

"Before cooking the quinoa, toast it in a preheated 350-degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes—it will give your soup a nutty undertone.” —Chef Andrew Gonci, Ridgewood Culinary Studio, Ridgewood

Categories: Bergen Health & Life, Home & Style Features, Homepage Features, Restaurants Features