I'm all about my comfort foods. Whether it's a steaming plate of nachos (heaven), or some cheeky magic stars, when I'm feeling low I always turn to food. However, I've been trying to make some serious changes recently. Rather than going completely cold turkey on the food I love, I'm working my way towards finding healthy alternatives.
Thankfully I believe that I have finally found a replacement for my much-loved, but highly salty and cream laden, Heinz Tomato Soup. Though the two dishes taste irreconcilably different, the warmth and general delicious taste of my previous favourite go-to comforting dish is present in the new one. The nutritional benefits of this new alternative are brilliant as a multitude of antioxidants and vitamins are present. Moreover, at roughly 90 calories per serving, it's brilliant for those who wish to maintain a low calorie intake diet.
This is my go-to lunch now for one of those gloomy days. Y'know the ones in which it's raining outside, you've come home drenched, changed into some clean clothes and you just want to sink down into a soft chair clutching a bowl of something warm? Well this is my something warm.
Depending on my mood, I either opt to go dairy free with this one, or add a little bit of mozzarella. Thankfully with this
godly substance cheese , a little goes a long way, and you'll be left with an oozy, gooey soup with just a sprinkling of the stuff.
Ingredients (makes 2 servings):
1 clove of garlic
1 medium carrot
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
1/2 red bell pepper
Fri-lite spray or extra virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
8 fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried basil
Herbs to flavour
Grated mozzarella (optional)
- Finely peel and chop the onion and garlic. If you want a sweeter soup use a red onion instead of a white one.
- Finely chop the bell pepper, making sure you get rid of any seeds.
- Peel the carrot and grate it. I like to think of myself as quite an organised person, so I like to have everything prepped before I start any actual cooking. Tip: it makes it easier to keep to your timings and therefore not burn things (as I've sadly learnt from experience)
- Spray five or six sprays of fri-lite into a saucepan and heat. Alternatively, place a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into a pan and heat. Personally, I prefer the second option because of the health benefits associated with healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and because I believe it makes it taste better. However, it adds a whopping 80 calories to each serving.
- Place a piece of onion into the pan; when it starts to sizzle the oil is heated and you can add the rest of the onion, garlic and red pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is soft.
- Add the grated carrot, chopped tomatoes, pepper (and salt if you wish) and the herbs for flavouring. Typically, I use a pinch of each of the following: thyme, oregano and parsley.
- Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the basil and stir on a low heat for a minute. If you are using mozzarella add this at the same time as the basil and stir until the cheese has melted.
Now you've seen my favourite comfort food alternative, what's yours?