"If your plan is for one year, plant rice.
If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."
Fall is a great time to make your favorite soups. Teach your children how to make several basic soups and you are giving them tools to feed themselves for a lifetime. Kids can take an active role in making soup when you take them to the farmers market to shop for veggies and in the kitchen helping chop, dice, and slice (with parent approval and appropriate knife safety precautions, of course).
Minestrone is one of my favorite soups because it is a perfect comfort food and it is so good for you. You can also make it a thousand different ways with vegetable combinations and fun, small pastas. Always choose organic vegetables and Italian pasta, whenever possible.
This is the recipe that I prepare at least once every 2 weeks. Trust me on the lemon!
GROWING HEALTHY KIDS: Our Recipe Collection
· 2 Tablespoons olive oil
· 1 medium yellow onion, diced
· 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
· 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (or substitute bok choi, sliced)
· 3 cloves garlic, minced
· ½ teaspoon dried oregano
· ½ teaspoon dried thyme
· 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
· 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, with the juice
· 1 cup vegetables, sliced or cubed (zucchini, butternut squash, spinach, green beans, potatoes, spinach, etc.)*
· 3 cups vegetable broth
· 1 cup water
· 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
· 1 bay leaf
· ½ cup small Italian pasta (elbows or shells)
· Juice of 1 lemon*
Heat soup pan with oil to medium heat. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add celery (or bok choi), carrots, and garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Add remaining ingredients except for pasta and lemon.
Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover, cooking for 15-30 minutes.
I prefer to cook the pasta separately (in case any soup is leftover) and add a little to each bowl before adding the soup.
Before serving, remove bay leaf. Cut lemon in half and squeeze a little on each bowl of soup.
*NOTE FROM NANCY: Adding fresh lemon juice is the key to a great minestrone soup, in my humble opinion. My favorite vegetables for minestrone soup are zucchini and green beans.
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder and Wellness Architect
Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.