30 Days of Low-Calorie Vegan Lunches: Turmeric Soup With Edamame and Mint Tea

Tender chunks of broccoli and cauliflower in a rich, spicy turmeric broth makes good medicine for what ails you.

It's January, which in my life means several things: lots of snow and freezing temperatures (last night it was 4F outside,) it's a New Year/New Resolution month, time to re-focus on my fitness and health goals, and it's my favorite month to travel to Huntington Beach, where I get 4 back treatments a day for two weeks and invariably come home in some sort of toxin release state. This time, it's a wicked cough caused by sinus issues and a tickly throat.

Yesterday (day 5 of coughing insanity) I decided to make some medicinal soups, took stock of my fridge and pantry, and came up with two fabulous, delicious contenders. First up, this easy, low-calorie variation on turmeric soup, to which I added 1/2 cup edamame and ate while sipping a soothing mint tea for lunch.

It's spicy with turmeric, ginger, and red pepper flakes, full of garlic and good veggie and herb nutrients as well as a healthy serving of protein in the edamame. I just can't tell you how good the steaming bowl of it felt to my throat as well as my soul.

(I'm going to include calorie counts for each ingredient because I am on a calorie-counting tangent right now, and aiming to stay under 1250 calories per day until I drop about 10 pounds I gained last year after my TMJ situation improved, allowing me to chew without pain and therefore eat more. Happy problem I guess????)

Turmeric Soup with Edamame

1/2 tablespoon avocado oil (65 calories) (olive or coconut also good, 60 calories in 1/2 T)
4-5 cloves garlic, minced (<1 calorie)
1/2 tablespoon minced onion flakes (or just use fresh onion, but that adds a few calories)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 tablespoon turmeric
Generous sprinkle of both garlic and onion powders, plus a little smoked paprika if desired
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (helps absorb turmeric)
About 6 cups veggie broth (or water with a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon - this option is 10 calories)
3 cups cauliflower florets (60 calories)
4 cups broccoli florets (120 calories)
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley and cilantro (<1 calorie)
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste

1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame (100 calories)

1 mint tea bag + sweetener of choice :)

Heat the oil in a soup pot and fry the garlic, onion flakes, and red pepper flakes for a few seconds, just until hot and fragrant. Add 4 cups of the water or broth, and bring to a simmer while you add in all the remaining spices and the cauliflower and broccoli. Add more water or broth until the vegetables are covered and you get the consistency you like. Bring to a boil and then simmer about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the frozen edamame by bringing a cup or so of water plus the edamame to a boil, then simmering at least 5 minutes. (I do it this way so I can really control the portion size, protein amount, and calorie amount of edamame with each bowl of soup. You could also just add a bag or half bag of edamame to the soup as it simmers and let it all cook together.)

Add salt to taste to your soup and toss in the fresh herbs. Let simmer another couple of minutes or until the vegetables are as soft as you like them to be.

Ladle the soup into a bowl, mix in the heated edamame, and garnish with more fresh or dried herbs if desired.

Brew a cup of mint tea and sweeten it with a little stevia while you wait for the soup to cool enough to eat it.

Calorie Summary

Half the pot of soup (the amount I ate today) = 130 calories without the edamame, so the entire lunch was 230 calories. Don't skip the cup of tea--I find that having a hot mug of tea with lunch makes it seem more like a complete meal, and helps me avoid sweet-treat cravings right after I eat, which I am very prone to having. :) 

I'd like to give a big shout-out to my sweet mom, who's been encouraging me to blog more about all the delicious food I've been making lately. She's my non-vegan taste-tester!