I think I go through a soup phase every winter. Couldn’t call it unexpected, I suppose. Since learning the value of dressing for the weather, I don’t hate winter nearly as much as I used to, but I’m certainly no stranger to the “OMG when the f*** will this end” blues.
A lot of people panic about carb cravings in the colder, darker months, but they’re actually a normal response to lack of sunlight and blah emotions. Carbohydrates play a role in serotonin production, so when we experience a dip in serotonin levels and start feeling bummed out, our body starts begging for carbs to help make more.
The good news is that working nutritious sources of complex carbohydrates into your diet with a balance of protein and healthy fats can give you the energy and mood boost you need without sending you into a food coma. Pasta is a common carb craving, and there’s no reason to take even white pasta off the menu completely either. Portion is key. Of course, you can also go for whole grain and bean-based varieties as well. Here’s a way to enjoy a little of what you’re hankering for in a soup that also provides plenty of protein and veggies. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cups cooked chicken, cut into small chunks or shredded
- 8-12 cups water or low-sodium broth
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 2 cups mixed cut-up vegetables (I used leftover roast eggplant and zucchini)
- 4 cups kale
- 1 lb gnocchi
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large soup or stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sautee until onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add red pepper flakes, oregano, and chicken. Add broth and tomato paste. Bring mixture to a boil.
- Add vegetables, kale, and ghocchi. Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes and then lower heat.
- Simmer on low for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot.
What foods do you crave in the wintertime?