Tomato Vegetable Soup

It’s still tomato season here in the Hudson Valley, so I was inspired to prepare this recipe using fresh, organic tomatoes.  The customers really loved it!

Ingredients:

28 oz. fresh (or canned) tomatoes—blended
(if using fresh tomatoes—to get a smoother consistency—strain after blending)
2 tbs. olive oil
½ cup chopped onions
2 tbs. minced or finely chopped garlic
2 celery stalks—diced
½ cup diced carrots
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
3 cups water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes (I like Rapunzel brand)
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
2 tbs. rinsed quinoa (optional)
1 cup finely chopped kale—or other leafy greens

Heat oil in a medium size soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and sauté for a few minutes. Add celery, carrots, salt and pepper. Continue to cook until vegetables begin to soften. Add blended tomatoes, water, bouillon, nutritional yeast and quinoa. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Add chopped kale and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve warm or hot. Makes approx. 6 cups.

By adding kale, quinoa and nutritional yeast to this recipe, you are boosting the nutritional value with extra-added fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Tomatoes are often considered a vegetable, though in actuality they are a citrus fruit. Tomatoes are an incredibly versatile food. They are delicious eaten raw, in salads or on sandwiches, and take on a wonderful sweetness when cooked. Their high acid content makes them a perfect food for canning. Tomatoes are such an important part of the American diet that it’s hard to believe that they were once considered toxic. It wasn’t until the mid 1800’s that they became a staple food in the U.S.
One medium whole tomato contains around 22 calories, 0 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of protein and 6 milligrams of sodium. It also provides 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 20 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, 2 percent of the RDA of iron, and 1 percent of the RDA of calcium. Here are some of the health benefits of tomatoes.

1. Ward off Cancer : Numerous studies have concluded that the more tomatoes people eat the lower their risks of certain cancers, especially lung, stomach and prostate cancers. A substance called lycopene, which is responsible for tomatoes red color, is thought to be the reason for this cancer protective effect. Processed tomatoes contain even more lycopene than raw ones. The process of cooking breaks down the cell walls, helping to release the lycopene. Eating tomatoes with a little bit of fat, such as olive oil, helps lycopene to be better absorbed by the body.

2. Prevent DNA Damage: Tomatoes are high in important antioxidants such as vitamin C and Vitamin A. These vitamins work to fend of DNA damage from free radicals. Consequently, tomatoes may help to ward off age related diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes.

3. Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease: Tomatoes contain important nutrients, such as niacin, folate and vitamin B6, that have associated with the reduction of heart disease risk. One study found that women who ate 7 to 10 servings of tomato products per week had a 29 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease than women who consumed less than a serving and a half of tomato products each week. Results were even more impressive when the women ate oil-rich tomato products.

4. Protect Against Thrombosis: Another study showed that drinking 8 ounces of tomato juice daily reduced platelet aggregation significantly, among study subjects. Those drinking a placebo showed no benefit. It’s important to drink low-sodium tomato juice if you are trying to protect against thrombosis (blood clots in the blood vessel) , as high sodium levels can cause negative effects for this type of disease.

5. Ward off Inflammation: A double blind study found that drinking a glass of tomato juice a day can reduce blood levels of TNF-alpha by 34 percent. TNF-alpha causes inflammation. High levels have been found in individuals with most chronic, degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.

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