Dec 102013

Minestrone Soup with Quinoa

2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
2 medium carrots, diced *
1 cup fennel, diced *
1 cup red onion, diced *
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped *
2 bay leaves ^
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped *
¼ tsp fennel seeds, crushed *
1 ½ cups kidney beans (or any kind you like), drained ^
2 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned) ^
1/3 cup cooked quinoa (follow the directions on the box) ^
sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
1 cup spinach cut in fine strips
3 tbsp basil, thinly sliced

1) In a large pot heat oil over medium heat
2) Add *, stir often for about 8 minutes
3) Add 6 cups water or vegetable stock, and ^
4) Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes
5) Remove bay leafs, add salt and pepper
6) Stir spinach and basil into soup

Yummy! Freezes well so make extra and pull out when in a hurry!
Makes 8 cups (137 calories per cup)

Quinoa is available at your local health food store and at Upayanaturals.

Looking for another great meal idea! Check out Chickpea Croquettes.

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What is Quinoa anyway? Nutritionally, quinoa might be considered a supergrain–although it is not really a grain, but the seed of a leafy plant that’s distantly related to spinach. Quinoa has excellent reserves of Protein, and unlike other grains, is not missing the amino acid lysine, so the protein is more complete (a trait it shares with other “non-true” grains such as buckwheat and amaranth). The World Health Organization has rated the quality of protein in quinoa at least equivalent to that in milk. Quinoa offers more iron than other grains and contains high levels of potassium and riboflavin, as well as other B vitamins: B6, niacin, and thiamin. It is also a good source of magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese, and has some folate (folic acid).

Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa’s amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and arteriosclerosis.

Tanya Morrison


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