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Soup warms body and soul

Courtesy of Decadent Diabetic
You won’t miss the noodles in French Chicken Soup with pearled barley.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Although winter is short here in Albuquerque, there is very little that is as satisfying or warms the heart, body and soul as a rich bowl of soup.

One of my first articles for the Albuquerque Journal back in June 2016 ( was about soups for the summer.

For people with diabetes, soups can be a lower carbohydrate food that still makes us feel like everybody else. It is all in how you use them and the ingredients you prepare them with.

Soups are a great way to use up leftovers. The fun thing about most soups is that you don’t need to be exact with all the ingredients. If you like more of one flavor than another, make it your own. If you like more “stuff” in it, put more into the soup.

Soups can be thick and creamy enough to coat your spoon, a thin broth filled with lots of delicious and interesting items or something to revive the memories of childhood.

Who does not remember eating a big steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold winter’s day? If you have diabetes, noodles are your nemesis. Try substituting them with barley or with shirataki noodles.

No question soup tastes better when you use homemade chicken stock. Many of us do not have either the time or interest to make homemade. There are any number of stocks or broths on the market. My only suggestion is to use a reduced sodium variety. Add the fresh vegetables and parsley in as the soup cools for a “crunchier” texture and a fresher taste.

Using a chicken broth base you can create something very rich and hearty and Italian tasting with a Sausage and Artichoke Soup. If you crave a more New Mexico flavor, add a roasted chile to the soup at the very end.

Potato soup is a wonderful rich and creamy potage. However, potatoes are very high in carbohydrates and therefore not a good choice for those of us with diabetes. Roasted cauliflower makes a wonderfully delicious replacement for the carbohydrate-heavy potato. If the cauliflower adds a few more nutrients to your meal, so much the better.

The best thing about soups is you get to make them your own.

Chef Ward Alper retired to Albuquerque after being a professional chef in Boston and New York City. He blogs as “The Decadent Diabetic: Taking Back My Life and Table,”


Makes 2 big bowls

Net carbohydrates: 12 grams

1 medium onion, sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup pearled barley OR 1 8-ounce package shirataki noodles

1 quart chicken broth or stock

½ pound cooked chicken, shredded or diced

1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped (2 teaspoons dried)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence

2 medium carrots

2 stalks celery

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Sauté the onions in olive oil until a light golden color. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the barley and coat with the onion garlic mixture.

Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, dill, salt and pepper to the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the Herbs de Provence.

Slice the carrots and celery into similar sized pieces (about ½ inch thick) and add to the soup. Add the fresh parsley to the soup.

Refrigerate overnight.

Reheat to a boil just before serving.


Makes 4 full bowl servings

Net carbohydrates: 12 grams per serving

1 large sweet onion, sliced

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Courtesy of Decadent Diabetic
Hearty Sausage and Artichoke Soup is a creative use of a chicken broth base.

Black pepper to taste

Salt to taste

2-4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped (to taste)

2 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried)

3 teaspoons fresh basil (1½ teaspoon dried)

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth

1 8-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid

4 pork, turkey or chicken sausages (I use sweet); cooked completely and sliced into ¼-½ inch slices

2 14-ounce cans artichokes (in water), cut in half

In a large soup pot sauté onion in olive oil until soft but not brown. Add salt and pepper about one minute into the process.

Add garlic, herbs and flour. Cook for one minute more. Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring so as not to have lumps. Add the diced tomatoes and their liquid. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cook partially covered for 30 minutes.

Add the sausage and artichokes. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add optional zucchini and mushrooms.

Cool to room temperature, then let cool in the refrigerator overnight or up to two (2) days.

Reheat to a boil before serving. I usually top with grated Parmesan cheese.

OPTIONAL: Sauté 2-3 zucchini cut into ½-inch slices and 1-2 portobello mushrooms sliced about ½ inch thick for 1-2 minutes in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add to soup before refrigerating.


Makes 2 full bowl servings

Net carbohydrates: 10 grams per bowl

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large head of cauliflower (1-1½ pounds)

2 medium sweet onions, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil or butter

2-4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped (to taste)

2 tablespoons flour

1 big stalk of celery, roughly chopped

1 carrot, peeled and roughly sliced

1½ quarts low-sodium chicken broth

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons fresh dill (1 teaspoon dried)

3-4 heaping tablespoons sour cream

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt butter and combine with salt and pepper.

Cut cauliflower into florets. Toss with butter and turn out onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

In a large soup pot sauté the onion in olive oil until soft but not brown. Add salt and pepper about one minute into the process.

Add garlic and flour. Cook for one minute. Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring so as not to have lumps. Add the juice and zest of the lemon.

Add half of the roasted cauliflower, celery and carrot to the broth. Simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat. Remove from heat, let cool, and then add the remaining cauliflower. Using an immersion blender or food processor or regular blender, whip the soup until smooth.

Add the sour cream, dill and Parmesan cheese and blend to combine.

Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight. Reheat to just below a boil before serving or in warmer weather, serve cold.



Suggested on ABQjournal