I have always found that soup is a great way to help be control my diet. Since it takes so long to eat, if I have it before a meal I find that I eat so much less. One of my favorite kinds of soup is minestrone soup. It is both healthy and filling! Turn it into quinoa soup and you have got a real winner. Between the quinoa and the beans, this dish is protein packed meaning that you don’t have to worry about getting hungry five minutes after you eat. In fact, minestrone soup is one of the few soup recipes that I consider a meal in and of itself.
While most minestrone soup recipes use canned beans, I like to make minestrone with dried cooked beans. To do this you need to soak the beans in water over night in the refrigerator. Drain and cover with fresh water. Simmer uncovered for 45 – 55 minutes, adding salt in the last five minutes.
If you want to cook the broth a bit longer to let the flavors combine, you can cook it for an hour and just add in the quinoa in the last 20 minutes. But, if you are pressed for time, this recipe is great as written.
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 3/4 c. onion, diced (preferably white or yellow)
- 3-5 garlic cloves, depending on size (about 3 tsp.), minced
- 5-6 tomatoes,* quartered
- 3 Tbs. white cooking wine
- 1/2 c. vegetable broth
- 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 Tbs. fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb. (16 oz.) quinoa spaghetti noodles
- 1 lb. lean ground meat (I use deer, but any lean meat works.), OPTIONAL
- Add the olive oil, onions, and garlic to a large, deep skillet. Turn the heat to medium-high, and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, cut side down, to the skillet, along with the wine, broth, herbs, and salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour, until the tomatoes have softened. Gently stir occasionally.
- When the tomatoes have about 15 minutes remaining, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa noodles, and cook according to package directions.
- While the noodles are cooking, brown the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, if using. Turn heat to low when cooked.
- Next, pour the tomato mixture into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.
- Run the sauce through a mesh strainer. Use a spoon or spatula to help push it through.
- If you're using meat, stir the sauce into it when it's cooked. Drain the noodles when they are done cooking, and serve either topped or tossed with the sauce.
With Meat (I used ground turkey for calculations): Servings 8, Calories 350, Fat 12.1g, Carbohydrates 41.7g, Protein 20.9g, Cholesterol 58mg, Sodium 190mg, Fiber 4.2g, Sugars 2.5g, WW Pts 9
Vegetarian: Servings 8, Calories 240, Fat 5.9g, Carbohydrates 41.7g, Protein 5.4g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 129mg, Fiber 4.2g, Sugars 2.5g, WW Pts 6 *I love using heirloom tomatoes, but Roma and Beefsteak work as well. You can even add some cherry or grape tomatoes if you like.