Tuesday, January 24, 2012

healthy minestrone soup.


What else is better on a rainy day than a bowl of hot, homemade soup made with lots of vegetables and healthy ingredients?  Not much!  So I decided to make this version of minestrone soup over the weekend and we had it for dinner last night.  As you can see, I added cabbage to my soup.  Believe it or not, there are a handful of reasons why cabbage should be a part of our daily (or maybe weekly) diet. 

Why cabbage?
  • Cabbage may be used to treat acute inflammation, the initial reaction your body has to trauma (ex: swelling or redness)
  • Cabbage is also known as lactic acid that acts to disinfect the colon
  • Cabbage can also be used to relieve headaches
  • Cabbage has anti-cancer properties in it, and is also said to be capable of treating other skin conditions
  • Drinking cabbage juice from the stem is a good cure for ulcers
  • Cabbage may help reduce the risk of developing colon cancer
  • Cabbage has high levels of fiber to help keep our intestines healthy

To start, I gathered a bunch of produce from my local grocery store.  Notice all of the gorgeous colors!

Willsey decided that he wanted to help too…

Tada!  The finished product was served with some fresh bread. Yum!

Here's the recipe!

Healthy Minestrone

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
½ head Savoy or Napa cabbage, finely sliced, blanched and drained
½ bunch Swiss chard, finely sliced
1 large baking potato, cut into small cubes
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 – 28 ounce can coarse ground tomatoes
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped slightly
3 sprigs rosemary, chopped slightly
½ cup parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
Kosher salt and pepper
1 small piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (optional)

1.     To blanch the cabbage – first remove the core and cut into fine slices.  Place into a stockpot of boiling water and cook for about 2-3 minutes.  Drain and place into an ice bath.  Leave it in the ice bath until needed.

2.     Using the same stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high.  Add the onion, celery, garlic, and carrots and cook until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. 

3.     Add 4 cups water, the cabbage, chard, potato, chicken broth, tomatoes, herbs, canned tomatoes, and cheese rind.  Bring soup to a gentle simmer and cook about 30 minutes. 

4.     Place half of the can of beans into a food processor or mini blender.  Add a splash of water and puree until smooth.  Add the bean puree and the beans to the soup and simmer for about 15 more minutes.  Add the spinach and cook 2 -3 more minutes.

Note: Season with kosher salt throughout the cooking process to add depth of flavor to the soup.  When you wait until the end to add the salt, you are left with a salty taste.  Also, save your parmesan cheese rinds!  Cut them up and put them in the freezer because they are a great way to add extra flavor to your soups.  Leave the cheese rind in the soup since it will eventually (almost) melt away.  Serves 8 people.

I guess Willsey is tired from all his cooking in the kitchen!

Willsey had a rough day at doggie training.  He is in the process of becoming a model doggie citizen.  I am sure all of his hard work tired him out!



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