Weight Watchers Free Vegetable Soup

Here’s the classic – darn good! This recipe makes a double batch. And it’s soooooo much better if you make it with homemade chicken stock, instead of the canned stuff. Although Better Than Bouillon brand concentrate is pretty good in a pinch. 

I like to stew some chunks of lamb or beef separately* so that I can add 2-3 ounces of meat to a bowl of otherwise almost no-calorie soup.

If you make it without the meat, it’s about 80 calories per cup. 

1 T olive oil (this makes it not “free” – but I think a little fat makes it a lot tastier!)
1 c chopped onion (1/2 an extra-large onion)
1 c chopped carrot (1 large or 2 small) 
4 cloves minced garlic
6-7 cups homemade chicken stock (or beef, chicken or veggie broth)
2 T tomato paste
2-3 c cut green beans (fresh are way better than frozen of course)
6 c chopped cabbage (about half of a small head)
1 T chopped fresh basil (12-16 leaves) (or 1 t dried)
1 t dried oregano
2 c chopped zucchini (2 small-medium or one extra-large) 
salt, to taste

In a 6-qt stockpot, saute onions, carrots and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except zucchini. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, then add zucchini and simmer another 5-10 minutes.

* Quick-Stewing of Lamb or Beef 

  • Start with stew meat – a tough, sinewy cut with plenty of fibrous tissue that needs breaking down.
  • Season your meat well, then brown it in some oil in a stainless steel pan or dutch oven.
  • Add enough broth to cover the cubes about 2/3 of the way up their sides.
  • Throw in some aromatics – garlic, some sprigs of rosemary or sage, maybe a little carrot or onion.
  • Simmer below the boiling point (temps of more than 200° do bad things to tough meat) for 60-90 minutes, until you can easily “cut” the meat with a fork.
  • Store separately from the soup, so you can control how much you add to any given portion and thus accurately track your calories.

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