We’ve been experiencing a severe cold snap here in Ontario for about 2 weeks now. I can’t think of a better way to spend a bitterly cold morning than getting up and preparing a delicious, warming soup for a healthy lunch! Check out today’s guest post by Bindu Grandhi, who extols the health virtues of potatoes and shares a soul-comforting soup recipe.
Potatoes get a bad rap largely because of how they’re eaten – greasy French fries, salt laden potato chips and even baked potatoes which are usually loaded with fats such as butter, sour cream, melted cheese and bacon bits. But if you take away the fattening toppings and frying, potatoes are filling, moderate in calories, non-fattening, and high in fiber that offer significant protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer, and help to lower cholesterol.
They also contain a compound called kukoamine that researchers believe helps to lower blood pressure. Potatoes are loaded with nutrients, are high in potassium and just one baked potato offers about 20 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin B6 which is good for the heart.
Tips for Selection and Preparing Potatoes:
Select potatoes that are firm with no soft or dark spots. Avoid potatoes that have started to sprout – an indication that they’ve been sitting on the shelf too long. If you buy potatoes in bags, open the bags right away and discard any that are rotting, because one bad potato can spoil a bagful.
Store potatoes in a location that is dry, cool, dark and ventilated, and do not refrigerate them because the starch will convert to sugar. Most potatoes keep for several weeks.
Don’t wash potatoes until you’re ready to cook them. Scrub well with a vegetable brush under running water. Cut out sprout buds and bad spots. If the potato is green or too soft, throw it out.
During the winter months I love making my Mom’s recipe for Spicy Potato Soup. It’s super tasty and the spice bag adds incredible flavor. Enjoy!
Spicy Potato Soup from Indian Vegetarian Cooking From an American Kitchen by Vasantha Prasad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
- 1 Tbsp. light olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 cups vegetable broth or water
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- ½ cup whole, low-fat or skim milk
For the spice bag, in a piece of cheesecloth tie:
- ½ tsp. black peppercorns
- 3 whole cloves
- 2-inch cinnamon stick, broken into 2 pieces
- 1 green cardamom pod
- In a nonstick 3-quart saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion and potatoes, and sauté over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onion is limp and turns golden. Add the broth and spice bag, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat, add the salt and cilantro, and let cool.
- When the mixture is cool, discard the spice bag, squeezing the liquid back into the soup. Transfer the contents of the saucepan into a blender or a food processor and puree the soup.
- Return the soup to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, add the milk, and simmer for 2 minutes. Serve hot.
Per serving: 122 calories, 4g protein, 16g carbohydrates, 4.5g fat, 250mg sodium, 4mg cholesterol, 2.5g fiber
About the Author:
Author of Spice Up Your Life, Bindu Grandhi is passionate about healthy and flavourful cooking, especially when it’s flexitarian. She shares her health knowledge with the world by providing practical, healthy and tasty recipes as The Flex Cook.
Yum! Have you any favourite potato recipes to share?