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Asparagus and Spinach Minestrone Soup

Serves 4.


    Asparagus and Spinach Minestrone Soup

    In Italian parlance, the word minestrone means “big soup.” This recipe certainly fits the billwith a hearty spring vegetable-and-bean soup that delivers big-time flavour andnutrition. If available, fiddleheads can be used instead of asparagus.


    Nutrition bonus

    Nutritionally overachieving asparagus is rich in a range of nutrients, including folate, vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

    Pay it forward

    Don’t compost leek tops and asparagus ends. Bundle them up and stash them in the freezer along with other veggie trimmings, such as mushroom stems, in an airtight container. When you’ve collected enough, use these scraps to make vegetable stock.


    Asparagus and Spinach Minestrone Soup


      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
      • 2 small leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
      • 1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped
      • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) pieces
      • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste
      • 1 tsp (10 mL) Italian seasoning
      • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) crushed red pepper flakes
      • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
      • 20 oz (591 mL) can diced tomatoes
      • 2 cups (500 mL) cooked or canned navy beans, drained and rinsed
      • 4 cups (1 L) low-sodium vegetable broth
      • 4 cups (1 L) spinach
      • Juice of 1/2 lemon


      Per serving:

      • calories259
      • protein12 g
      • total fat5 g
        • sat. fat1 g
      • total carbohydrates45 g
        • sugars9 g
        • fibre15 g
      • sodium475 mg



      In large saucepan over medium, heat oil. Add leeks and yellow pepper; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in asparagus and garlic; heat for 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper; heat for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, beans, and broth to pot. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in spinach and lemon juice and heat for 5 minutes.



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      Mussels with Tomato, Saffron, and Fennel

      Mussels with Tomato, Saffron, and Fennel

      B12-rich mussels are a very good and economical source of protein and iron. Steamed mussels are a classic way to enjoy seafood—and so is this rich, aromatic broth of tomato, fennel, and saffron. Be sure to allow saffron to fully infuse to get the full flavour benefit, and finish off the dish with the fragrant fennel fronds. Sustainability status Farmed mussels are considered highly sustainable due to their low impacts on the environment. They are easy to harvest, require no fertilizer or fresh water, and don’t need to be fed externally, as they get all their nutritional requirements from their marine environment. Mussel prep Selection: Look for mussels with shiny, tightly closed shells that smell of the sea. If shells are slightly open, give them a tap. Live mussels will close immediately. Storage: Keep mussels in the fridge in a shallow pan laid on top of ice. Keep them out of water and cover with a damp cloth. Ideally, consume on the day you buy them, but within two days. They need to breathe, so never keep them in a sealed plastic bag. Cleanup: In addition to being sustainable, farmed mussels tend to require less cleaning than wild mussels. Most of the fibrous “beards” that mussels use to grip solid surfaces will have been removed before sale. But if a few remain, they’re easily dispatched: grasp the beard with your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward the hinge of the mussel and give it a tug. Afterward, give mussels a quick rinse and scrub away any areas of mud or seaweed, which, with farmed mussels, will require minimal work.