Recipe Corner: Winter Minestrone Vegetable Soup

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By Christine Vartanian Datian

Ingredients:

8 cups low-sodium chicken, beef or vegetable broth

2 cups water

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery (and top greens), diced

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2 medium zucchini, peeled and diced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium white onion, diced or sliced

1 medium green or red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 cup small elbow pasta or your favorite small pasta

1 8-oz. can white beans or kidney beans, rinsed and drained

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1 cup cooked diced turkey or cooked shredded chicken

1 cup low-sodium crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

1 10-oz bag fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 teaspoon each sea or Kosher salt, dried basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon each red pepper flakes, black pepper and ground fennel seed

Olive oil

Romano or Parmesan cheese (garnish)

Flat-leaf parsley and fresh basil, chopped (garnish)

Fresh buttered croutons (garnish)
Preparation:

In a large saucepan, sauté carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, onions and bell pepper in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 5-8 minutes, stirring; do not burn garlic.  Add the pasta, beans, turkey or chicken, broth, water, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, and all spices, and bring to a full boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until vegetables and pasta are tender, about one hour or a little longer.

Add the spinach about 10 minutes before soup is ready to serve.  Adjust seasonings.  Remove bay leaf and serve soup topped with choice of cheese, chopped parsley, basil, and croutons.

Serves 4-6.

*Christine’s recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee, Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, and at http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/

*For Christine’s recipes that have been published in Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, go to:   <http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian>
http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian