When it comes to ways to get your daily servings of five to nine vegetables and fruits, I don't think there is anything better than soups and stews. Comforting and nourishing, a soup or stew can be loaded up with a rainbow of vegetables. And all those lovely colors mean that it is packed with antioxidants.
Antioxidants are protective against cancer and boost the immune system. They reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. And all that fiber in vegetables feeds your good gut bacteria which also boosts immunity. Pair this soup with a large green salad that has lots of raw vegetables in it for an even bigger antioxidant punch.
Make this soup with whatever colorful vegetables and greens you have on hand. Don't feel you need to stick with my ingredient list. Don't have spinach? Use kale or collards. Don't have green beans? Use peas. Don't have Italian seasoning? Use any combination of oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, sage, and rosemary. You get the idea. Anything goes!
Anything Goes Minestrone
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 cups green beans, cut in 1 inch pieces
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
6 cups water
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup whole grain small pasta (elbows are nice)
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
Saute onion in a small amount of water for 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauce 2 minutes adding more water as necessary to prevent sticking. Add next 9 ingredients (potatoes through water), bring to a boil and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through. Add the beans and pasta and boil until pasta is done. Add the spinach and let it wilt. Ladle up generous portions into large bowls and enjoy! Makes 6 generous servings.