As winter digs in, few things make life feel cozier than a steaming bowl of soup. How about a tasty brew that provides lavish amounts of vegetables with an array of vitamins and functional factors? And one you can make and have on the table in less time than it takes to unwind from the day?
The beauty of putting a soup together quickly is that you preserve the nutrients and even enhance some of them. Cooking tomatoes may diminish the amount of vitamin C in the fruit, but it actually raises the level of the highly powerful antioxidant lycopene—heart-healthy and active against cancer. Lycopene is what gives tomatoes their vibrant color. Cooking not only increases the amount but makes it more biologically available. Studies show that cooking tomatoes for a half hour, as in this recipe, raises the lycopene content by 35 percent.
Another virtue of making soup is that almost anything you have on hand can go into it. Carrots that have been sitting in your fridge? Cooking water you saved (a good habit to get into) from steaming yesterday's vegetables? Toss it in the pot.
TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes
Use whatever vegetables you have on hand, but get used to stocking tomatoes (fresh and/or canned) and onions or leeks, for starters.