Low Fat and Low-Calorie: Zuppa alla Contadina (Farmers soup)

Vegetable soups are very popular here in Italy, it seems that anywhere you go you can order a delicious soup made with farm grown seasonal vegetables, light and just simple flavors cooked together and delicious. I love soups! But I do hate when they are more fattening than eating a piece of fried chicken.

Soups for me are something I choose to eat when I am trying to stay light, detox and stay warm, not for the opposite. Don’t get me wrong there are lots of soups out there that are just over the top and taste great, I don’t know like say chicken and dumplings, potato soup, tomato soup, etc… but one thing they all have in common is how heavy they are and how many calories are in them. I say if you really are craving it and that is all there is to eat then feel free (I’m no one to judge) but I just can’t justify eating it all the time; and for the amount of soups I eat and how I was raised in Italy with all these fresh low cal and delicious soups, the soups mentioned above just don’t even fase me, or exist in this country for that matter.

I am going to say that I have had them a couple of times while in the States and I do like them, but I definitely didn’t eat them if I was trying to be healthy or detox.
All this is to say that there are alternatives to soups not all of them are bad and heavy, they can be light, nutritious and perfect for a cold winter day. I hope that you enjoy this soup and lets all have a light and wonderful day!


1/2 cup each of mixed dried Legumes, soaked over night (makes sure you have at least 5-7 different ones)*

½ cup Barley

1 Carrot

2 Celery stocks

1 Onion

1 Garlic clove

2 small Potatoes

1 sprig of fresh Thyme

1 sprig of fresh Rosemary

5 leaves of fresh Sage

2-3 Bay leaves

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil + ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop up your celery, carrot, onion, and potato into small cubes. Put a medium pot over medium flame and heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil, add the cubed, celery, carrot, onion and potatoes as well as your garlic clove peeled but still whole. Let cook for about 5 minutes, then throw in your soaked legumes and barley, mix together and add water, you always want to make sure when cooking legumes you add double the water (so if you legumes arrive to 1/4 of the pot add 3/4 water.)

Add bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil, lower heat and let simmer for 2 – 3 hours.

In the meantime chop up finely your thyme, sage and rosemary. Put 1/2 the cup olive oil over heat in a small pot or pan and add your thyme, sage and rosemary, allow oil to get hot and then turn off heat and let sit.

Once your soup has boiled and the legumes are cooked remove the bay leaves and grab 3 ladles and blend smooth rejoin the blended soup to the pot and mix. You may begin to plate once all are served get the aroma olive oil and drizzle over the bowl of soup and enjoy!

* I used: Adzuki beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, soy beans, dried split peas, dried lentils.



22 thoughts on “Low Fat and Low-Calorie: Zuppa alla Contadina (Farmers soup)

    • Yes, Here in Italy they always add a drizzle of Olive oil, I have a couple of highly rated chefs that happen to be friends and when meeting up with them over a cappuccino or coffee, we talk about cooking and they sometimes give me excellent ideas, and this was definitely one of them. It’s a fantastic idea and really compliments such a simple soup; the good thing is that you can conserve whatever remains and use it in the future or also to marinate chicken or steak before grilling. I hope that you enjoy it and thank you for stopping by mythineats.

  1. Reading back a few posts and I was puzzled about your comment regarding tomato soup being ‘heavy’ !! As you know, I live in Spain so we have gazpacho, which, in my pueblo, is tomatoes, garlic, salt, olive oil and water. Or, when I do warm soup (as I’ve posted about recently) it’s tomatoes, and maybe a few other veg. One of the reasons I enjoy it is because it is definitely NOT heavy. Would be interested in your response (and really appreciated your comments about paella/risotto/rice).

    • Hi Roughseasinthemed, I find tomato soup to be heavy and this is my personal opinion. However, if you are refering to Gazpacho I would agree that it tends to be a lighter version than what you find in the USA, as you’ve probably read I lived in the USA for 8 years and when I have had their version of tomato soup it tends to have heavy cream in it so that makes it heavy and then accompanied with a grilled cheese sandwich I am sure you can imagine what I mean by heavy. Again, we all have different ways of eating and to me tomato soup is heavy, that doesn’t mean that the same could be said about how you feel about it. Some people love meat and say that it should be incorporated in a healthy diet and other people say that it’s bad for you. Some people swear that eating carbs speeds up you metabolism and others say it slows it down. So, I think this is a personal opinion, and how ones body reacts to certain foods. Thanks for bringing up the concern and I hope that I have been able to clarify the soup situation.
      Thanks for stopping by mythineats.

      • That’s helpful, thank you. I am totally ignorant about the USA and their cuisine so didn’t realise that was what you were thinking of. As I rarely, if ever, buy cream (more likely a light yoghurt) it doesn’t find its way into my soups. I think it detracts from the vegetables and their flavour. I have just had a bowl of soup – but there wasn’t enough so I regret to say I am now toasting a cheese sandwich ….. 😉

      • I also rarely buy cream, and I agree that it does take away from the veggies. Grilled cheese is always good…it’s one of those things that are always going to make you feel at home. My parents used to make those for me all the time and although I rarely eat them, when I do make them, they do hit the spot. Have a good day.

  2. adding cream to a soup will ALWAYS make it heavy!! ha ha ha …. I’ve been reading alot about mindful eating lately and it is taking the USA ‘by storm’ it seems … in an article on mindful eating the author was quite hopeful that American’s will start finally savouring their food!! Amen to that!! This week I bought 16 kilos of tomatoes – a big box for AUD23, so it was a bargain, I made tomato soup: onion, celery, chili, tomato that’s it! I pureed it with a blender and added cooked pearl barley which kept growing in the hot soup and softened even more!…. buon appetito. Grazie per il blog! abbracci dal Australia!

    • I agree, soups are so delicious without having to add anything that heavy to it. Sounds like your soup was a winner. Grazie per esserti fermata a trovare mythineats.
      Saluti dall’Italia

  3. I’m in love with the infused olive oil! I have a question: In the recipe you said you add “double water” when cooking the legumes. Then gave the example of 1/4 legumes to 3/4 water… Isn’t that a 3 to 1 ratio? (I’m asking because I always have the hardest time using dried legumes and really want it to work out right 🙂 )

    • Yes, you are right. However if you put all your ingredients in the pot first you would fill the pot up to 3/4 not completely, does that make sense?? But you have it right, depends on how you want to measure. God luck and don’t worry if your legumes aren’t cooking you can always add extra water.
      Happy cooking, let me know how it turns out.

      • Yes! That makes sense! I’m excited to try this… our grocery store now has a bag of mixed dried legumes I’ve been wanting to try for forever… I think this recipe will be perfect 🙂

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