Greek-style minestrone is a meal in a bowl

February 12, 2014 

No matter what the weather, my family loves a bowl of soup, but most recipes take too long to make for a mid-week meal. Greek-style minestrone fits the bill.

This thick and hearty soup made with vegetables, beans and Arborio rice takes only 20 minutes to make. It’s a whole meal in one bowl and a great way to brighten up a winter evening.

Navy beans, garlic, onion and tomatoes are the basis for Fassoulada, a Greek bean soup. With the addition of feta cheese and Italian risotto rice, it becomes an Italian-Greek fusion meal. Used to make creamy risotto, Arborio has shorter, plumper grains than other short-grained rice.

You can make this a vegetarian meal by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Serve it with a salad and crusty bread.

HELPFUL HINTS

Nutrition: This meal contains 561 calories per serving with 13 percent of calories from fat.

Substitution: Use a medium or short-grained rice if Arborio rice is unavailable. Domestic crumbled feta cheese is available in most markets and works well for this recipe.

Save time: Sliced celery can be found in the produce section or on salad bars of many supermarkets and save prep time. Minced garlic can be found in the produce section of the market. Two crushed garlic cloves can be used instead.

Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion: I’d serve an inexpensive Chianti or another light-bodied wine.

To buy: 1 package frozen chopped or diced onion, 1 small zucchini, 1 small bunch celery, 1 package washed, ready-to-eat spinach, 1 small can no-salt-added whole tomatoes, 1 can navy beans or Great Northern beans, 1 small package Arborio rice and 1 small package crumbled feta cheese.

Staples: Olive oil; minced garlic; dried thyme; fat-free, low-salt chicken broth; salt and black peppercorns.

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