Hot chocolate. Eggnog. Peppermint mochas. Cake. Lattes. Cinnamon Rolls. Eggnog lattes. Candy canes. Shopping. Presents. Chinese Food. Treats. Sparkle. Twinkle lights. Mistletoe. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
My mom always taught me that I should have a lot of “color” on my dinner plate. As a kid, I thought this meant I should eat sprinkles for every meal (obviously). Since she’s not Willy Wonka, I’m pretty sure she meant a well-balanced meal—full of veggies. Let’s be real. December is magical, but it can also be the busiest month of the year with the worst possible food for us to eat. In no way am I going to suggest you skip holiday treats—that would be a trick (and HELLO! It’s December not October). Plus, that’s just not how I roll (I suddenly want a cinnamon roll; anyone else?)!
Instead of skipping Christmas treats and feeling guilty about going for seconds at the holiday party, opt for healthier meals throughout the week. My favorite option this season? Italian Veggie Fagioli Soup.
Italian super markets are much more limited in their variety of foods than American stores. The plus side: simplicity. The down side: boredom. I have to note that the food in Trapani is delicious! Although we are in carb heaven they have amazing fresh fish options as well. Eating out is always delectable. It’s also tantalizingly hard to not stuff your face with bread, pasta, or cheese—despite the fish options. My solution? We needed to quarantine ourselves in the house and take a break from carbs—just a break, not a break-up, and unlike Ross, we had no plans to see the copy girl.
Great idea right? Right. Er, sort of, if it hadn’t rained and been cold. I decided the best option would be to come up with a healthy soup option full of color and protein. It hit the spot. (Fun fact: Fagioli means beans in Italian.)
- 3 cans beans (your choice)
- 2 big (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
- (about) 20 grape tomatoes
- 3 cups veggie broth
- 1/2 cup celery
- 1/2 diced onion
- 2 cups fresh green beans (cut in half or thirds)
- 3 cups zucchini (about 3 medium sized)
- Olive oil
- Italian seasoning
- truvia or stevia (can use sugar)
- Turn oven to 400
- Cut tomatoes in 1/2s or 1/4s and place on cookie sheet
- Sprinkle 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 tsp garlic, 1 heaping tsp oregano, and salt and pepper
- Bake for 20 minutes (might be less depending on how small you cut your tomatoes)
- While baking rinse beans and chop veggies (I like to sprinkle a little salt and pepper and garlic on the beans after rinsed)
- In a dutch oven, saute celery and onion with 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 tsp garlic, and 1/2 tsp truvia until tender
- Add the rest of veggies and saute with 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 tsp garlic, and 1/2 tsp truvia and simmer for 5 minutes (you don't want them to be cooked)
- Add veggie broth, crushed tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, and beans and bring to a boil
- Boil for 3-5 minutes and turn the heat to low and cook for 15-30 minutes (the longer you simmer the tastier it gets)
- Add 2 tsp garlic, 2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp oregano and salt and pepper to taste (feel free to omit or add more according to your tastes) stir well
- Serve with Parmesan cheese on top!
Here’s why I love this recipe, and it’s a must for your household:
- It’s full of “color.” This recipe has tons of veggies and you can make it your own by adding your favorites!
- It’s full of protein. I used 3 cans of different beans in mine. It’s hearty and filling. If you want to make it even heartier, you could add ground beef or ground turkey, as well.
- It’s easy. Perfect for the craziness during this time of year. Plus, it goes a long way. Have it again, have it for lunch, or freeze it for later in the month.
Now go get your soup on!