No matter what the weather, my family loves a bowl of soup, but most recipes take too long to make for a midweek 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 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.
• 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 prep time with sliced celery, available in the produce section or salad bars of many supermarkets.
• Find minced garlic in the produce section. Two crushed garlic cloves can be used instead.
• Prepare ingredients.
• Make soup.
• While soup cooks, open a washed, ready to eat salad and warm some bread.
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.
Fassoulada (Greek Bean Soup)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup frozen chopped or diced onion
1 pound sliced zucchini (about 2 cups)
1 stalk celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
1 cup drained, canned, no-salt-added, whole tomatoes
1/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice
2 cups no-salt-added, rinsed and drained navy beans or Great Northern beans
4 cups washed, ready-to-eat spinach
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
HEAT oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, zucchini, celery and garlic. Saute 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, tomatoes and rice. Break up tomatoes with the edge of a cooking spoon. Bring soup to a simmer. cover and cook 15 minutes. Add a little water if the soup becomes dry.
ADD beans, spinach and thyme. Cook until beans are warm and the spinach wilted, about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle feta cheese.
Per serving: 566 calories (13 percent from fat), 8.3 g fat (3.6 g saturated, 2.8 g monounsaturated), 17 mg cholesterol, 34.5 g protein, 94.5 g carbohydrates, 19.7 g fiber, 486 mg sodium.
Yield: 2 servings.