I have no problem that I draw ideas from the shortcut television commercials that tell you how to make good things from store-bought ingredients. But you can turn those ideas into real nutrition when your kitchen is stocked with clean organic ingredients like vegetable broth, organic canned beans and organic produce.
Another bit of good news is that you can get that produce not only at Tucson's health-oriented stores like Sprouts, but also at your local Basha's and Safeway. You'll find a whole section of health food at Basha's and the Safeway line of Organics is easy to find by the large O on each product. Most Tucson supermarkets have organic items nowadays, but the above-mentioned stores are making a determined effort to provide more of a variety and quantity of products. In addition we have Whole Foods and the local Food Conspiracy Co-Op, which is always worth a visit.
So the commercial that caught my attention today was about a canned soup that helps you lose weight, and as they displayed a product photo it was easy to see that it was an Italian minestrone. That set me to thinking how easy it is to make minestrone in the first place, and even if you want to make it vegetarian it is really only a question of substituting a couple of ingredients.
Normally I would always pick up organic broth in beef, chicken and vegetable at the store, so it isn't a big deal for me--and as I wrote the other day, you can resolve most of the question of going organic when you shop, not when you eat. So let's look at a good, hearty winter Minestrone and how to make it organic and vegetarian.
1 tablespoon organic olive oil
1 cup cubed organic carrots
1/2 cup chopped organic celery
1/2 cup chopped organic onion
5 1/4 cups organic vegetable broth
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh green beans cut into 1/2-inch pieces (4 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 cup dried small-sized organic pasta
1 medium organic zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 (14.5 oz) can organic diced tomatoes with basil and garlic, undrained
In a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onion; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the broth, cannellini beans, green beans, and pepper. Bring to a boil and add the uncooked pasta. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Stir in the zucchini and return to boiling; reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes more or until the pasta is tender and green beans are crisp-tender. Stir in the undrained tomatoes; heat through.
This is another candidate for a Meatless Monday, and with crusty bread, unsalted butter and a glass of wine, you can't go wrong!