Serves 4

Like Louisiana's gumbo, this hearty Spanish Colonial soup is a meal in one bowl, a Gulf Coast tradition from Texas to Florida. Fresh corn makes all the difference, so try to use it whenever you can. Otherwise, frozen kernels (but not canned) are fine.

Per serving: 255 calories, 18.1g protein, 27.1g carbohydrate, 4.4g dietary fiber, 10g total fat (2.2g saturated fat), 49mg cholesterol, 178mg sodium; Carbohydrate choices: 1.8


  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • 4 chicken thighs, skin removed, trimmed of all fat
  • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • One 4-ounce can chopped mild green chiles (optional)
  • One 14½-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced crosswise into thin rounds
  • 2 ears fresh corn (preferred) or 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley and/or cilantro sprigs for garnish

HEAT a large saucepan or soup pot on medium. Add the oil to the hot pot, swirling to coat the bottom evenly.

LIGHTLY BROWN the chicken; remove and set aside. Add the onion; sprinkle with the cumin; cook until the onion is tender and lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes.

RETURN the chicken to the pot, along with the garlic, chiles (if using), tomatoes (with juice), and water. Bring just to a boil; reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes.

ADD the zucchini. Continue simmering until the chicken is cooked and the zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes.

STAND each ear of corn on end in a large shallow bowl; slice downward to remove the kernels. Scrape the cobs with the back of the knife to release the creamy juices. Add the corn to the pot; cook just until crisp-tender, 2 or 3 minutes.

SHRED the chicken meat and return it to the pot; discard the bones. Season the soup with black pepper. Sprinkle each serving with chopped parsley and/or cilantro sprigs.

Serves 4

Per serving: 71 calories, 2.1g protein, 11g carbohydrate, 2.9g dietary fiber, 2.7g total fat (0.4g saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 181mg sodium, Carbohydrate choices: 0.7

Traditional gazpacho is blended until smooth, enriched with plenty of olive oil and bread crumbs. This light and chunky version, enlivened by V-8® juice and Tabasco® sauce, makes a refreshing snack or first course. For a bigger meal, top each bowl with cooked shrimp or crawfish tails.


  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  • ½ yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ small Vidalia or sweet red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup V-8® juice
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon for garnish
  • Tabasco® or another hot sauce
  • Celery seed for garnish (optional)

CUT the tomatoes in half crosswise; squeeze lightly to remove the seeds and pulp. Chop the seeded tomatoes finely. Place them in a serving bowl with the cucumber, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir in the V-8® juice, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Season to taste with hot sauce.

COVER the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or for up to 24 hours. Just before serving, stir well and taste; adjust the hot sauce, if necessary.

LADLE the soup into chilled bowls. Sprinkle with celery seed and parsley. Drizzle each serving with ¼ teaspoon olive oil.

So many of the great slow-pot foods of the South are easy to modify for a low fat diet-like this gumbo, thickened with okra and tomatoes instead of an oily roux. Try this heart healthy recipe today. Remember that leftovers freeze well.

Serves 8

Per serving: 264 calories, 22.4g protein, 32.1g carbohydrate, 4.9g dietary fiber, 5.4g total fat (0.9g saturated fat), 166mg cholesterol, 219mg sodium Carbohydrate choices: 2.1


  • 2 pounds medium headless shrimp, unpeeled
  • 1 small yellow onion, unpeeled and quartered
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 pound okra (fresh or frozen), sliced
  • One 14½-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • Cayenne and black pepper
  • 4 cups steamed long-grain brown rice, no salt added

PEEL, DEVEIN, and refrigerate the shrimp. Rinse the shells; drain well; place them in a large saucepan with the quartered onion and the water. Bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Strain; discard the solids.

HEAT a large nonstick skillet on medium high; swirl the oil around the bottom of the hot pan. Add the chopped onion, celery, and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until tender and browned, 10 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, and okra; stir until the okra browns around the edges and loses some of its viscous texture, 10 to 15 minutes.

SCRAPE the okra and seasonings into a soup pot; add the shrimp stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, continue boiling for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, cover; simmer for 45 minutes, until the okra is very tender and the gumbo is thick.

ADD the shrimp; simmer until pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Season well with cayenne and black pepper. Discard the bay leaves. Serve the gumbo over steamed brown rice in wide bowls.

Serves 8

Per serving: 226 calories, 11.6g protein, 39.1g carbohydrate, 9.1g dietary fiber, 3.1g total fat (0.4g saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 16mg sodium, Carbohydrate choices: 2.6

The smoky flavor of roasted garlic is a great substitute for ham or sausage. Make this hearty one-bowl meal with any beans you like--white, red, black, pinto, lentils, split peas--or a mix of several colors.


  • 1 pound dried navy beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 head roasted garlic, peeled and mashed (see sidebar)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil (optional)

PICK OVER the beans to remove any small rocks or other debris. Rinse well to wash away all traces of dust.

HEAT a soup pot or large saucepan on medium; swirl the oil around the bottom of the hot pot. Add the onion and celery; cook, stirring often, until the onion is lightly browned and translucent.

ADD the water, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and beans. Bring to a boil; lower heat to maintain a steady simmer, cover the pot, and cook until the beans are tender, 2 to 3 hours. (If you're substituting larger beans, they may need extra time.)

It's okay to use canned broth, but only if it's low in sodium.

MASH a cup of the beans and return them to the pot; add extra water or stock, if needed, to reach desired consistency. Season with black pepper. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in the parsley and basil just before serving.

FREEZE leftovers in a plastic zipper bag or airtight container. Double the recipe to stock your freezer with homemade fast food for busy (or lazy) days.