Garden Minestrone is a colorful, hearty soup that can be enjoyed year-round. Take advantage of summer vegetables and serve this for a quick supper. You also can make this soup without the ground meat. Plan on freezing leftovers for another meal.

Garden MinestronePrep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Ready In: 35 min

Servings: 6

Ingredients
1 lb Extra-lean Ground Beef or Ground Turkey (7% fat)
6 cup fat free Beef Broth
2 cup chopped Cabbage
1 can (14.5 oz) diced Tomatoes, not drained
1 can (14.5 oz) Green Beans, not drained
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced Zucchini
1 cup uncooked Elbow Macaroni
2 tbsp dried chopped Onion
2 tbsp dried Parsley
1 tbsp chopped Garlic
1 tsp dried Basil
½ tsp dried Oregano
¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper

Directions
Brown meat in a 4-quart kettle that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Tips & Notes
Minestrone is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice. Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots and tomatoes.
There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. It can be vegetarian, contain meat or contain a meat-based broth (such as chicken stock).
Purists argue, that the base of minestrone is bean broth, and that Roman beans (Borlotti beans) are the beans used for genuine minestrone.
Some of the earliest origins of minestrone soup pre-date the expansion of the Latin tribes of Rome into what became the Roman Republic and later Roman Empire, when the local diet was “vegetarian by necessity” and consisted mostly of vegetables, such as onions, lentils, cabbage, garlic, broad beans, mushrooms, carrots, asparagus and turnips.
During this time, the main dish of a meal would have been pulte, a simple but filling porridge of spelt flour cooked in salt water, to which whatever vegetables were available would have been added.
It was not until the 2nd century B.C., when Rome had conquered Italy and monopolized the commercial and road networks, that a huge diversity of products flooded the capital and began to change their diet, and by association, the diet of Italy most notably with the more frequent inclusion of meats, including as a stock for soups.
Like many Italian dishes, minestrone was probably originally not a dish made for its own sake. In other words, one did not gather the ingredients of minestrone with the intention of making minestrone. The ingredients were pooled from ingredients for other dishes, often side dishes or contorni plus whatever was left over.
There are two schools of thought on when the recipe for minestrone became more formalized. One argues that in the 17th and 18th centuries minestrone emerged as a soup using exclusively fresh vegetables and was made for its own sake (meaning it no longer relied on left-overs), while the other school of thought argues that the dish had always been prepared exclusively with fresh vegetables for its own sake since the pre-Roman pulte, but the name minestrone lost its meaning of being made with left-overs.
However you prefer your minestrone, enjoy. Oh, and remember that one serving is an excellent source of fiber.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: 1½ cups
Calories: 245
Total Fat: 6g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 50mg
Sodium: 470mg
Total Carbohydrates: 25g
Dietary Fiber: 5g
Sugars: 8g
Protein: 21g

Source: DiabetesCare.net

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