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Assemble your own soup for that extra kick

January 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Whether you're watching your health or your waistline, soup is a good choice for both. You can kick that can up a notch by assembling some superior soup.

Buy a box or a can and then think about the extras you like in terms of starch, such as rice, corn or pasta.

When it comes to produce, spinach, mushrooms, celery and onion bring out a nice flavor and texture to the pot.

And pop in some protein, such as poultry or beans, for staying power. Then there are fats-- a dollop of sauce, sour cream or cheese tops it all off.

One idea is a can of creamy tomato or tomato pepper soup combined with once frozen sweet corn kernels, a few tablespoons of pesto and a dollop of low-fat Greek yogurt.

Rather than chicken broth, buy stock, which has far less sodium. Add pre-cooked chicken or turkey strips, cooked brown or wild rice and mushrooms for a savory soup with texture.

Another thing you can do with stock is make an Italian brodo with cheese tortellini, fresh spinach and some shaved Parmesan. If you aren't into wilted greens, add the spinach right before serving.

Don't forget herbs. Finishing off a soup with snips of fresh basil, thyme or other aromatic herb will give your bowl that restaurant quality you're looking for.

Since most prepared soups are swimming in salt, don't add any. As a matter of fact, the more produce you add to your pot, the less sodium you'll be sipping or slurping.