Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Minestrone Soup

I'm lying here sick in bed (maybe that snowball fight wasn't such a good idea), and even with two sweatshirts, two comforters, and a pair of fake Ugg boots, the only thing that seems to help the chills is a hot bowl of  minestrone soup. My family loves minestrone, and I think I've tried a billion different varieties from my mother's kitchen experiments to the many Italian restaurants that dot New England. I got this recipe from the Vitamix cookbook, but I changed it due to lack of materials.

 2 cups chicken broth
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 tsp minced garlic
4 baby carrots
1 pinch: salt, pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 can beans
Drizzle of olive oil
1/2 onion
1/2 zucchini
Optional: cheese

I tossed everything but the beans, olive oil, onion, and zucchini in the blender and increased from Variable 1 to High. Meanwhile, I drizzled olive oil in a pan and turned the heat on medium-high. I then chopped the onion and zucchini, and tossed them in the pan with one of Emeril's spice packets (it's essentially salt and pepper with a few other spices I don't have around the house, but I'm sure cooking the veggies in olive oil would be just as good). I drained half a can of Pinto beans, and by that time the base in the Vitamix had started to steam, so I turned it off. This was a 5 minute process. I then poured everything into a pot on the stove and waited for the soup to boil. I topped off my serving with some shredded cheddar cheese.

Taste score: 8/10
Likes: I really liked this. I used Hunt's crushed tomatoes with basil, and it gave the soup a hearty, tomato-ey flavor without tasting like a senior citizen's dinner. The recipe called for raw onion, which has too intense of a bite for me, so I'm glad I cooked the onion on the stove.

Dislikes: I would have liked a little more texture. The recipe calls for canned corn, which I don't have. I think next time I'll chop up the carrots and add them to the onions and zucchini on the stove. I also wish I had Parmesean cheese. 

Nutrition score: 9/10
 Pretty good. The broth adds sodium, but 1 cup of soup is under 100 calories, has 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and only 1 gram of fat. Check out this recipe for minestrone with kale to add some Vitamin A. I'll have to try it next time!