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Can healthy food be delicious?
Brinda Sapat
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December 27, 2006

Soups and salads make for a healthy dinner, particularly for those who are looking at losing weight. It is light and easily digestible. The calorie count is low and the small amount of calories you take in are 'good' calories.

Not appetising enough?

A soup and salad dinner could sound boring -- particularly if you are thinking of plain old tomato soup and sliced carrots and cucumber.

Every meal needs to be tasty and satisfying. A salad does not mean you are restricted to just cold raw foods. You can cook them -- just make sure not to overcook; then the nutritional value of the vegetable decreases.

About soups

Soups are simple and nourishing and retain the nutrients of the vegetables/ meat. A soup alone can form a complete meal.

About salads

A salad provides you with essential vitamins and complex carbohydrates. A warm salad feels good on a cold evening and a cold one is refreshing on a hot summer day. The raw vegetables provide the fibre that aids in digestion.

Soups + salads = glowing complexion

What should the soup and salad include?

Here are three wholesome recipes each, of soup and salad. Feel free to make your own concoctions, now that you know what the essential ingredients should be.

Chick Pea and Leek soup


1 cup dried chickpeas (white chana)
� medium leek
1 medium onion, sliced
1 bay leaf
1-2 teaspoons mixed herbs
4 cups water
� cup shredded cabbage
� cup broccoli, chopped
1 stick celery, sliced


Soak chickpeas in water overnight. Drain. Add leek, onions, bay leaf, herbs, water, salt and chickpeas in a saucepan with enough water. Bring to a boil and then simmer, till chickpeas are almost done. Add cabbage, broccoli and celery. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender.

Warm Roast Vegetable Salad


1 medium onion, sliced thick
1/2 zucchini, sliced thick
5-6 thick slices of eggplant
1 green capsicum, cut into thick strips
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tbsp olive oil
Rock salt to taste


Combine all the above ingredients in a baking pan. Drizzle rock salt to taste. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30-40 minutes or till vegetables are tender.

Serve on a bed of raw arugula or salad leaves.

Can be served hot or cold.

Tomato and Mixed Vegetable Soup


2 cups tomato puree
1 medium carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/4 cup green peas
2 spring onions, quartered (green stem sliced for garnish)
1 medium boiled potato cut in large pieces (keep skin on)
Tabasco sauce to taste


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and toss in the vegetables. Cook till vegetables are moderately done. Add the tomato puree, salt, pepper and Tabasco. Boil and then simmer till vegetables are ready. Garnish with sliced spring onions.

Whole Wheat Pasta and Broad Bean Salad


1/2 cup whole-wheat pasta (shape of your choice), boiled 
1/2 cup broad beans, boiled
1/2 cup tofu/ paneer, diced large
1 small tomato, chopped
1 spring onion, sliced with the green stem
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon vinegar


Toss all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let it stand for 30 minutes before eating. Dish out on a bed of lettuce.

Can be served warm or cold.

Chicken and Noodle Soup


1/4 cup chicken, cut as you like
2 mushrooms, sliced
A few Chinese noodles
2 cabbage leaves, cut large
Green stem of spring onion, sliced
1 dry red chilli
1 1/2 cup chicken stock (or Maggi chicken tastemaker)
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 small piece of ginger, sliced fine


In a pan, heat olive oil and fry the chicken and ginger. Cook till almost done.

Then add the mushrooms, red chilli and cabbage leaves. Cook for 2 minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil and then add the noodles. Cook till noodles and chicken are done.

Garnish with spring onion.

Avocado and Prawn Salad


1 avocado, cut in 1/2
50 grams prawns, cooked
1/2 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 medium red pepper, chopped
1/4 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 medium onion, chopped
2 green olives chopped
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil


Mix all ingredients except avocado, adding salt to taste.

Spoon the mixture into the avocado hollows and serve cold.

Other quick and easy ideas

If you don't fancy any of the above recipes, try your own combinations based on the basic ingredients.

Just remember -- your soup and salad dinner should be wholesome and tasteful. If you are still hungry at the end of your meal, you are quite likely to dig into junk food in the middle of the night!


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