Italian Vegetable Soup

Italian Vegetable soup with freshly grated parmesan.

Italian Vegetable Soup    Serves 4

This soup resembles a vegetable and bean minestrone but without the pasta typically used in a minestrone.

But I promise you won’t miss the pasta. There is so much flavor and texture from all the diced vegetables, herbs and beans. And for even more flavor, garnish each serving with freshly grated parmesan.

One of the most important ingredients in a minestrone is beans. In this recipe I use canned beans for the convenience. But feel free to prepare dried beans and then use those in the soup. In Italy, for genuine minestrone, the borlotti beans are the beans to use. The borlotti bean is a variety of common bean first bred in Colombia as the Cargamanto bean, which you can buy here on Amazon: cargamanto. It is also known as the cranberry bean that you can buy here on Amazon: cranberry bean

The vegetables for minestrone should be diced. Dicing is similar to chopping, except dicing is always finely chopped, consistent in size, and neat in appearance. It’s the precision of the cut that distinguishes dicing from chopping. My dicing skills (and patience) aren’t great so I resort to using this vegetable chopper tool. The chopper works best if you cut the vegetables into pieces and then put the pieces in it.          Look how beautiful these vegetables are!

Minestrone is historically made with whatever fresh vegetables that an Italian cook happened to have on hand so feel free to experiment with your own vegetables additions. I recently found myself without the celery and zucchini in this recipe. Instead, I chopped some green cabbage and it was delicious.

If you want to reduce the amount of sodium, use reduced-sodium broth and reduced-sodium canned tomatoes and omit the parmesan.

Kids might enjoy this more if you add meatballs. I sometimes will add 5 Costco Meatballs to each bowl. This adds an additional 230 calories, 18 grams of fat, 12 grams of protein and 520 mg sodium.

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried or 1 Tablespoon dried fresh thyme leaves

1/2 tsp dried or 2 teaspoons fresh chopped sage leaves

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 small zucchini, diced

32 ounces low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 (14/5 ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes and juice

1 (15 ounce) can low sodium cannellini or blacker pinto beans

3 cups chopped baby spinach leaves

1/3 cup grated fresh parmesan, optional

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, sage, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. If your vegetables are diced to bigger than a 1/4 inch dice, cook a little longer until the vegetables are tender.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, in a small bowl mash half of the beans with the back of a spoon, and set aside.
  4. Add the zucchini, broth and tomatoes with the juice and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes.
  5. Add the mashed and whole beans and the spinach leaves and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes more.
  6. Serve topped with Parmesan, if desired.
    Nutrition Facts
    Servings 4.0
    Amount Per Serving
    calories 265
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 6 g 9 %
    Saturated Fat 0 g 2 %
    Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
    Trans Fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
    Sodium 1397 mg 58 %
    Potassium 1120 mg 32 %
    Total Carbohydrate 36 g 12 %
    Dietary Fiber 11 g 46 %
    Sugars 11 g
    Protein 15 g 30 %
    Vitamin A 119 %
    Vitamin C 57 %
    Calcium 36 %
    Iron 27 %
    * The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
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Soy and White Wine Marinated Grilled Salmon

Soy and White Wine Marinated Grilled Salmon

There’s no healthier, easier, or faster summer entrée than a perfect piece of grilled salmon. This recipe is easy to make ahead of time for weekend parties or a quick mid-week dinner.

The marinade makes a succulent, moist, flavorful salmon. The white wine is the acidic component in the marinade that tenderize meats. It also plays an important role in imparting flavor.

Start marinating the fish 4-6 hours prior to when you want to put the salmon on the grill.

Serve with roasted broccoli with parmesan and walnuts, miso wild and brown rice pilaf, and arugula, beet, walnuts and goat cheese.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 -20 minutes

Servings 4 servings


For the Salmon:

2 lbs. salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces, patted dry

For the Marinade

2/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

2/3 c pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc white wine (best with a dry white wine)

2 Tablespoons olive oil


Prepare the marinade

Mix ingredients together in a Ziploc bag or a 13 x 9 glass baking dish. Place salmon in the bag or dish and turn to coat salmon evenly. Put in the refrigerator and marinate 4-6 hours, turning the salmon periodically during that time to evenly disburse the marinade around the fish.

Grill the Salmon:

Heat coals, gas grill, or grill pan to medium heat. Remove salmon from the marinade and place salmon on the grill. Cover and grill over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side. This time may vary and will depend on the thickness of the fish. The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork. Use a meat thermometer for precise temperature.

Use a fish spatula to transfer off the grill onto a beautiful serving platter.

How to tell when grilled salmon is done.

While the FDA recommends cooking fish to 145°F, for a flakier, more moist and tender salmon filet many chefs find that it’s best when it’s cooked to “medium” which is 125°F degrees.

Grilled fish is cooked when it is 145°F, but remember about carry-over cooking, where food will continue to cook once you’ve pulled it from the grill or oven. To ensure your fish isn’t overcooked, transfer it from the grill when it is 125°-130°F, then let it rest for a few minutes before stripping away the skin and serving.


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Lemon Garlic Butter Tilapia

Lemon zest, garlic and butter!

Lemon Garlic Butter Tilapia

This only takes 20 minutes from start to finish and could easily be prepped hours ahead, refrigerated and popped into the oven for dinner. (If you do, anticipate that the fish will take longer to cook since it will be cold).

This preparation method is so versatile that you can use any fish in the recipe. I made this recipe with Mahi Mahi as shown here with roasted dill carrots, roasted red and orange peppers and Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley.

Mahi Mahi, Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley, Roasted Carrots with Dill, Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers.

Make the fish in a beautiful ceramic dish and you can serve the fish oven to table.

This makes two generous servings.


3 Tablespoons butter

4 cloves garlic, minced (use a garlic press like this one on Amazon. It is lifechanging! 

Zest of 1 lemon (use a microplaner here on Amazon)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (use a lemon squeezer a good quality one will make a HUGE difference)

4 (5-6 ounce) thawed tilapia fillets (I use the Costco Tilapia Loins that come in 3 lb. frozen bags) or 20-24 ounces other fish

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish, optional


Assemble all ingredients.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray. Use a paper towel to remove excess moisture from the fish. Place the fish in the dish and season tilapia with salt and pepper, set aside.

Make the sauce: In a small bowl, add the butter, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Place in the microwave and heat just to melt the butter. Stir the ingredients and spoon onto of the fish.

Place into oven, lay a piece of foil or parchment paper over the top and bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes. This may be longer if the fish is cold or thicker. Use a meat thermometer so you know for sure.  Fish is food safe at 145 degrees. Many chefs find that it’s best enjoyed when it’s cooked to medium 125°. Remove the fish from the pan with a fish spatula, it is angled and will make it easier than another type of spatula.  Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.


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