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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Green & White Minestrone

Nick and I were in the mood for something on the lighter side after over-indulging a bit during Christmas. We've been eating a lot of soup this fall and winter, so a hearty minestrone seemed like just the ticket. This recipe isn't your classic tomato-based minestrone, but it is packed full of vegetables (including brussels sprouts!) for a satisfying yet low-calorie dinner. We served it with white toast (drizzled with olive oil and toasted in the ever-useful Cuisinart Griddler) and some apple slices. You'll still have room for dessert too!

My wonderful husband chopped and diced most of the vegetables beforehand (except the onion), so it was pretty easy to throw this together once I got home from work. Nick threw in a diced jalapeno pepper to add some a little heat.

I didn't have any dried sage on hand, so I scoured our spices and decided on dried thyme as a substitute (no particular reason). I think it was a pretty old bottle because I didn't notice much of the flavor in the finished product. Guess it's time to purge some of my old spices! Though I try to watch my sodium, I would recommend being generous with the salt (maybe if you have better dried herbs that would help too). Getting fancy with my amateur food photography here - action shot!

Next, add the potatoes and the sprouts. Pretty complicated recipe, right?

Finally, add in the macaroni and cook about 20 minutes more. We used Barilla Plus macaroni which tastes almost exactly like regular pasta but contains extra protein, Omega-3s and fiber. We served the finished product with some beautifully toasted bread on the side. I'm guessing the soup + bread is only about 250 calories! The leftovers will also make a great lunch for work tomorrow.  

Green & White Minestrone
Adapted from Healthy Cooking for Two (or just you) by Frances Price, RD
Serves 4

  • 1 c. chopped onions
  • 1/2 c. diced green peppers
  • 1/2 c. diced celery
  • 1 diced jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 4 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 t. dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 small new potatoes
  • 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered (you can also use shredded cabbage)
  • 1/2 c. elbow macaroni

In a heavy 3 quart saucepan over medium heat, cook the onions, green pepper, jalapeno and celery in the oil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but not brown.

Stir in the garlic. Add the broth, sage, salt and pepper; raise the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil.

Cut the potatoes into 3/4" cubes and add them, with the brussels sprouts, to the soup. Bring the soup back to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the macaroni. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables and pasta are tender.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Nutrition Index (approximate since the original recipe uses water instead of broth and some different vegetables)

Per serving: 157 calories, 4.1 g total fat, 12 mg cholesterol, 35 mg sodium, 4.3 grams protein, 27.5 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber

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