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Italian-style greens and beans soup and vegetarian chili

The early part of March (and sometimes the entire month) can often be chilly (or very cold). But there's nothing better to shake off the "brrs" than a hot bowl of delicious soup or chili.
And the cool thing about the following recipe is that it's quick and easy, there's only a few ingredients and it can be used as a main meal or a simple supper.

Italian-Style Greens and Beans Soup
½ cup of chopped onion
½ cup of crumbled Italian sausage
1 tsp of minced garlic
¾ tsp of Italian seasoning blend
1 can (14.5 oz.) of reduced-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1 can (15 oz.) of Read Greens & Beans with Sausage (a seasoned combination of white kidney beans, collard greens, tomatoes and sausage)
¼ cup of finely chopped red bell pepper
½ cup of thinly sliced kale or spinach (packed)
Optional: Shredded Parmesan cheese
Makes 3 to 4 servings (Please Note: This recipe can be easily be doubled if you're feeding a crowd.)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

1. Cook the onion, sausage, garlic and Italian seasoning in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat until the sausage is completely cooked, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the broth, Greens & Beans and red pepper; simmer for 3 minutes.
3. Stir in the kale.
4. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

Here's a recipe for vegetarian chili from newspaper columnist (and expert cook) Connie Schultz:

Housewarming Vegetarian Chili
4 cups no-salt-added tomato juice, divided
¾ cup bulgur wheat
1 Tbsp olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 ½ cups chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1 ¼ cups chopped carrot
2 (14 ½ oz.) cans diced tomatoes, drained
¼ cup chili powder, or to taste (not chile powder)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
+ Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained
Optional: Corn bread, grated cheddar, diced onion, cilantro and sour cream, for serving

1. Bring 1 cup tomato juice to a boil in a pan.
2. Add bulgur, stir and remove from heat.
3. Let stand.
4. Meanwhile, warm oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
5. Add garlic, onion, bell pepper, celery and carrot.
6. Saute until tender, about 10 minutes.
7. Stir in diced tomatoes, chili powder, lemon juice, basil, oregano and cumin.
8. Season with salt and pepper.
9. Bring to a simmer; cook 2 minutes.
10. Add beans, remaining tomato juice and bulgur mixture.
11. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Optional: Serve with corn bread and toppings, if desired.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Cook time: 1 hour

Sources: “Italian-Style Greens and Beans soup is delicious”-Family Features-The Vindicator, January 22, 2014 and “Around the Table-Food For Thought-Serving up a Bowl of Love”-by Connie Schultz-Parade magazine, February 16, 2014

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