“Free” Soup – Dieter’s Best Friend!
This recipe is one my mother and I have used for over twenty years, and we still love it. Many diets have “free” vegetables, which are basically vegetables that are allowed without restriction. What this soup does is combine those vegetables in with a richly flavored broth and serves them up as the perfect anytime dish to fight off the munchies, serve as a quick and easy lunch, or a filling side dish with your evening meal.
Back in the day, cabbage, okra, green beans, carrots, tomatoes, onions, and celery were all considered “free” or vegetables that could be eaten without limitation. I liked to walk on the wild side and toss in some corn too. I like to live dangerously that way. I’m not sure if these vegetables are considered evil today, I guess you’d have to check outside and see which way the wind is blowing ~pauses to sigh and roll her eyes~, but common sense refuses to allow me to consider this soup anything but healthy and delicious!
Most often, when I am dieting my problem is not so much hunger as a desire to munch. Reaching for this soup rather than pretzels, chips, or any number of higher carb and calorie snacks is definitely a step in the right direction to a healthier you! I make a huge pot and keep it in the fridge, heating it up whenever I need it for up to five days.
Ingredients aren’t exact, you mainly need to go with the veggies that you personally enjoy. I am using okra, green beans, carrots, and cabbage. You need an onion to season it but I am just using a frozen seasoning blend which includes onion, bell peppers, and celery.
I prefer to use frozen vegetables over canned. Of course, nothing beats fresh vegetables anytime but when those aren’t available to me, frozen wins out.
The two things you must have to make this soup so delicious are Ranch dressing mix and a large (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes. Of course you can use diced but I prefer crushed for a thicker, more filling broth.
Wash and chop your cabbage.
I use about half of a head.
Peel and chop your carrots.
Place all in a big pot.
Add your onion or seasoning blend.
This recipe really is forgiving and allows for limitless customization.
If I had it, I’d toss in a whole bell pepper, too.
Toss in your other veggies, for me that means the green beans and okra.
Pour in tomatoes…
Add water. I am adding about six cups.
You may prefer more or less, depending on how much liquid you like.
Now add in your ranch dressing mix.
I usually buy mine in a large container rather than the individual packets, it is much more economical that way. I often use ranch dressing mix to season soups and stews. This mix adds an amazing amount of flavor and zest and your soup will require little to no additional seasoning to be absolutely delicious.
Note: I am referring ONLY to dry ranch dressing mix here, not bottled ranch dressing.
Stir that up. It will be rather thick but as the vegetables cook up, a lot more liquid will be created.
This is how it will look after about half an hour on medium heat.
You only need to cook it until the vegetables are as tender as you like. I like mine to be cooked but not mooshy. I think “mooshy” is my word for the week on Southern Plate. I’ll have to see if I can work it into the rest of this week’s posts as I am certain I have worked it into every one so far!
Voila! The dieter’s anytime meal!
Have a great day!