GINNA PARSONS: Minestrone soup hits the spot on rainy night

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

I am officially eating healthfully again. Breakfast is an egg-white omelet and whole wheat toast or Greek yogurt or oatmeal – each with a side of fruit.
Dinner is chicken or fish with a couple of brightly colored vegetables and maybe a small serving of rice or pasta. If there’s dessert, it’s fresh fruit.
Lunch is leftovers. And one of my favorite leftovers is soup, mainly because it gets better each time it’s reheated.
This Minestrone Soup is from the January issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine. I made it one night last week and everyone enjoyed it except for our son, Patrick, and that was probably because he didn’t let his cool long enough and he burned his tongue on the first bite.
I served this with a slice of cheese toast made with whole-wheat sandwich bread sprinkled with some shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese.
This meatless meal really hit the spot on a cold, rainy evening.

Minestrone Soup
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can no-salt added crushed tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) low-sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1⁄2 cup whole grain elbow pasta
1⁄3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, cook and stir onion in hot oil 4 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic; cook for 30 seconds. Add celery and carrot. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Add zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the broth and the diced and crushed tomatoes. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add the beans and pasta. Cook 10 to 15 minutes more or until pasta and vegetables are tender. Top servings with cheese and parsley.
Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 236 calories, 7g fat, 719mg sodium, 36g carbs, 9g fiber, 10g protein.
Note: For a vegetarian meal, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. For gluten-free, use gluten-free broth and substitute 1⁄2 cup uncooked rice for the pasta. Cook 5 minutes longer or until rice is tender.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.