I’m a fan of the new Mark Bittman.
While I didn’t know the “old” Mark Bittman, I just didn’t have much use for his recipes because they generally required a side of Lipitor.
But the “new” Mark Bittman is a man who…FOUND NUTRITION…AMEN!
Seriously, after his doctor told him he needed to lose weight, lower his cholesterol and improve his health or he wouldn’t be around much longer, he started eating less meat and focused on eating more fruits, veggies, whole grains and minimal processed foods. As a result, he lost lots of weight, lowered his cholesterol and became an advocate for food reform and encouraging America to eat better by enjoying real food instead of junk food.
His recent books, “Food Matters” and “The Food Matters Cookbook” make a strong case for the need for most of us to make major changes to our diet to become healthier and more sustainable. Caution: Bittman is seriously passionate about food reform. (Just check out some of his posts he calls, “This #$!% Has Got to Stop.”)
He also landed a new gig on the Cooking Channel and his new show, The Minimalist aired earlier today. Let’s just hope the producers let Bittman’s healthy side shine. Mark, if you want some dietitians on the show, just let us know…
Since Bittman had traded in butter and bacon for beans and broccoli, his recipes are now ones that I can make and feel good about. In this week’s Times Magazine, he wrote about a matrix of soups—including creamy, brothy, earthy and hearty— to show how easily healthy veggie-rich soups are to make. And, to make a creamy soup, he shows that it’s not necessary to make it with heavy cream or any full-fat (read: sat fat) dairy products.
Since it’s a rainy day here in SF, I decided that it’s a perfect night to have a hearty soup. Since Craig is bean-aphobic, I decided that I’d do either the Hearty Minestrone or the Creamy Spinach soup. I ran the nutritionals on two that I plan to make to see just how they stack up nutritionally.
Mark Bittman’s Creamy Spinach Soup
Put 1 chopped onion, 2 peeled garlic cloves, 3 cups water and salt and pepper in a pot over high heat. Boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer until the onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Add 10 ounces chopped spinach and 1/2 cup parsley leaves; cook until the spinach is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup (low-fat or fat-free) Greek-style yogurt and purée. Garnish: A spoonful of (low-fat or fat-free) Greek-style yogurt and chopped parsley.
(Note: I added the low-fat or fat-free to this recipe.)
Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
70 calories; .5 grams Fat, 2.5 grams Fiber; 5 grams Protein; 400 mg sodium (based on 1/2 tsp salt added)
Mark Bittman’s Hearty Minestrone
Sauté 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped celery rib and 1 teaspoon minced garlic in 3 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups cubed potatoes and salt and pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine) and 5 cups water. Boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 cup chopped green beans; simmer for 20 minutes. Garnish: Chopped parsley and grated Parmesan.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
220 calories; 11 grams fat (1.5 sat fat); 6 grams Fiber; 5 grams Protein; 390 mg sodium (based on 1/2 tsp salt added)
Clearly, both are nutritionally great, but I was surprised that a creamy soup had 1/3 the calories of a minestrone. Both will be part of my recipe file.