Posts Tagged ‘cuisine’

a bowl of soup

Last summer I taught my first “Globally Inspired Heart Healthy Cooking” class series using the American Heart Associations’ Healthy for Life program. Each class in this 4-part series focused on how a different staple food (corn, rice, beans, potatoes) is used in various cuisines around the world. One thing I noticed when teaching these classes is how common soup recipes seem to be. Soups and stews are a source of comfort and nourishment all around the world!

Before the modern kitchen came to be, soups were created by boiling wild plants, grains, beans, and roots in water, sometimes along with meat and bones from animals that had been hunted. Today, many soups and stews still use combinations of those ingredients including grains, vegetables, beans, and animal bones. Herbs and spices are often added to these ingredients in water or broth to make healthy, flavorful, and comforting dishes. Below are three soup recipes from different regions of the world that combine ingredients such as whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables, herbs, and spices to create unique flavors:

African Peanut and Greens Stew – features red potatoes, pureed pumpkin, collard greens and peanut butter cooked in broth and seasoned with onion, garlic, jalapeno, and ginger

Mexican Posole – features pork, hominy, corn, brown rice, and tomatoes stewed in tomato sauce and seasoned with onion, garlic, chili powder and cilantro

Moroccan Lentil Stew – features lentils, butternut squash and tomatoes, cooked in broth and seasoned with onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon

While each of these soups has a unique flavor, they do share some commonalities:

  • Whole grains like corn or brown rice and/or starchy vegetables like beans and squash provide fiber and complex carbohydrates for sustained energy. MyPlate recommends we make at least half our grains whole grains due to the important nutrients they provide.
  • A color variety of vegetables including fresh, frozen, canned, or dried options from the vegetable subgroups: dark green, red and orange, beans, peas and lentils, starchy and other.
  • Lean proteins such as poultry, pork loin, beans, peas and lentils, nuts and seeds. Protein foods provide the body with many important vitamins and minerals in addition to protein, which is a nutrient that provides calories. 

Do you have a favorite soup or stew recipe that combines ingredients from these food groups to create a balanced, comforting meal? If so, please share in the comments below!

Written by Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

Reviewed by Holly Bandy, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Stark County


American Heart Association. Healthy for Life. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/company-collaboration/healthy-for-life

USDA MyPlate. https://www.myplate.gov/

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