Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Crock Pot Minestrone

After eating meat-containing (but very good) dinners all weekend, a healthy vegetarian meal was in order last night for a Meatless Monday. This soup was easy, since the crock pot did all the work for me, and tasted great. I loved the flavors of the swiss chard and yellow squash in it. I also made a big mixed green salad with lots of fresh vegetables to go along with it. There were lots of leftovers, so there was plenty for a healthy lunch today. This made quite a bit of soup, so I will be freezing some for an easy dinner in the future!

Crock Pot Minestrone


4 large stalks organic swiss chard
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 cups organic vegetable broth
29 ounces canned organic diced tomatoes, undrained
16oz can organic kidney beans, drained and rinsed
15oz can organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 organic yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 organic yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 organic carrot, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups whole wheat rotini pasta, uncooked


1. Remove stems from swiss chard and chop separately from leaves. In medium sized pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and swiss chard stalks and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

2. Add remaining ingredients, except for swiss chard leaves and pasta, to slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours. Add pasta and chopped swiss chard leaves and cook for another 20-25 minutes on low, or until pasta is tender.

(Recipe adapted from April/May 2014 issues of Taste of Home Magazine)

What are the nutritional benefits of this soup? Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. It is also a good source of minerals calcium, copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorous. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL), raise good cholesterol (HDL), and aid in blood sugar control.  Onions are rich in quercetin, a type of antioxidant, as well as vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, K, folate, thiamin, and minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese. Canned tomato products contain more bioavailable lycopene compared with fresh tomatoes, and are high in vitamin C.Kidney beans provide lots of protein, folate, fiber, and iron. Garbanzo beans are packed with fiber as well as lots of great nutrients, including protein, molybdenum, manganese, folate, tryptophan, copper, phosphorous, and iron. Yellow squash is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, iron, folate, beta-carotene, and lutein. Bell peppers are one of the best food sources of vitamins A and C. Carrots are very high in vitamin A (with one cup providing over 400% of the daily value), and they are also an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. Compared to white pasta, whole wheat pasta provides more fiber and nutrients, particularly B vitamins, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, and iron. 

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