A few years back my husband and I decided to go on a “low-sodium diet.” Hypertension is prevalent in both of our families and we wanted to take some preventative measures. As we read recipes, did research, and lost weight we realized that this wasn’t a diet, but a lifestyle change. And we liked it! In order to make food taste good without salt and fat, I learned a lot about spices. Before we began the only spices I knew how and when to use were garlic and cinnamon. Now I’ve got 30+ spices that I use regularly. We also cut out many processed foods and pre-made meals.
One of the first cookbooks we used was The American Medical Association Hypertension Cookbook by Karen A. Levin. It’s probably our favorite cookbook and we use it often. Today and next Tuesday I’m going to share two of my favorites from this cookbook. Don’t let the word butter in both recipes fool you- they are low-sodium, low-fat recipes!
Butternut Squash Soup (Serves 4)
Calories: 155 Sodium: 198 mg Total Fat: 2 g all per serving
1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds, or two 12 oz packages of frozen butternut squash to save time!)
1 3/4 cups fat-free, no-salt added vegetable or chicken broth
3/4 cup apple juice (unsweetened if you can find it- we have used unsweetened applesauce)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 leek, thinly sliced (3/4 cup) OR a sweet onion
1/2 cup fat-free croutons (optional)
My husband was cooking so you’ll see his hands in the photos. Just wanted to clarify so you don’t think I have man- hands. 🙂 While you prepare the squash, heat 1-2 inches of water in the bottom pot of a double boiler. You can also steam in the microwave to save time!
Peel the squash.
Scoop out the seeds.
Chop the squash into 1-2 inch pieces.
Cover and steam the squash until tender- about 10 to 12 minutes.
After the squash has steamed, use a food processor to create a smooth puree.
Combine squash, broth, apple juice, and nutmeg.
Bring to a boil. You will want to keep it covered because sometimes it will splatter while boiling. Stir occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium or low and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, melt butter in a frying pan.
Chop the leek. I asked my husband where he learned to chop a leek and he said “Lydia’s Italy,” one of our favorite cooking shows on PBS. That made me laugh!
Saute the leeks until brown, about 7-8 minutes.
Ladle the soup into bowls and add the leeks.
Croutons are a delicious topping. This week we had Buttermilk Corn Muffins (another low-sodium, low-fat recipe) and they were yummy! I’ll share the recipe for those on Tuesday- stay tuned!