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Beyond Trim

Save on Sodium and Money – Make Your Own Soup

There are not many meals that are easier than opening a can of soup but some of the commercial varieties on the shelf at your grocery store contain a whole day’s worth of sodium in a single can. And even though canned soup is relatively inexpensive, you can cut your cost in half by making it yourself.

Here is a simple vegetable soup recipe that makes up to 6 servings. It involves very little measuring, the ingredients cost around $5.00, and you can have it on the table in less than 30 minutes. Best of all, the sodium content is a fraction of that found in commercial ready-to-eat soups.

Vegetable Barley Soup

1 small onion, chopped (about ½ cup)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 quart low sodium vegetable broth (split)

1/3 cup uncooked pearl barley*

1 - 14.5 oz. can no salt added diced tomatoes

1 - 12 oz. package frozen mixed vegetables (peas, corn, carrots, etc.)

1 - 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Add the onion and a splash of the vegetable broth to a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the onions until they appear translucent and a bit golden. Sprinkle the spices over the onions and cook and stir until the spices coat the onions. Add the uncooked barley and stir an additional minute or two. Add the remainder of the vegetable broth. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, vegetables, and beans to the pot. Return to a simmer and cook for an additional 10 minutes until barley is tender. Makes 6 servings

Nutrition: 173 calories, 34g carb, 8g protein, 10g fiber, 184mg sodium

* You may substitute a short pasta or some cooked rice for the barley. If doing so, skip the first 10 minutes of cooking time and add at the same time as the vegetables. This gets your soup on the table even faster!

A high sodium diet may increase the risk of high blood pressure, stomach cancer, and osteoporosis, among other things. The American Heart Association suggests no more than 1500 mg of sodium per day for many groups of people:

  • those age 51 and older,
  • those who have high blood pressure,
  • people with diabetes,
  • people of African American descent, and
  • people with kidney disease.