Meatless Monday: Spinach, Orzo and Bean Soup is a healthy vegetarian power-packed wonder!
This week I plan on sharing two of my favourite vegetarian recipes. Did I ever mention I was a vegetarian for four years when I was younger? I was! I became an expert at creating simple, creative and delicious vegetarian meals. Beans and lentils are an inexpensive alternative source of essential protein in many parts of the world, so they quickly became a go-to in my recipes.
For Meatless Monday I decided to dive into my pantry and use ingredients most of us have in the fridge or in our cupboards all year round. No fancy stuff, just simple good-for-you, stick-to-your-ribs food.
I hate to be preachy, but if you like to cook from scratch, you should have a few things on hand at all times. These are ‘miracle’ staples that can help you pull together a great tasting meal anytime, in no time flat.
Here’s a quick list:
• cans of beans: kidney beans, chick peas, black beans
• a small pasta or grain: orzo, macaroni, pearl barley, couscous
• staples like: onions, bell peppers, celery, carrots, lemons, green onions
• broth: vegetable, chicken and beef
• fresh spinach or kale, baby spinach or kale
If you’ve checked off everything on the list, than you’re ready to whip up a big batch of Spinach, Orzo and Bean Soup!
This totally yummy soup can be on the table in 15 minutes, I do not kid, 15 minutes! Did I mention aside from the speed, and simple ingredients, it’s a nutritional powerhouse. Beans – good for you, spinach- so good for you. It’s a meal you feel good about serving!
To notch up the flavour, and keep the salt content down, I have shaved lots of Parmesan cheese on the top of each serving. It really adds lots of punch and complements the ‘lemony’ flavour of the soup so much. Now just add some crusty bread and you’re done, enjoy!
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 2 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 4 cups (946 mL) chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- ¾ cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 1 19oz (540 ml) can bean medley (I used this mix of red & white kidney beans, Romano, black-eyed, chick peas)
- 2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped (optional)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 - 142g package fresh baby spinach
- salt & pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese, shaved (optional)
- In a large pot over high heat, add oil to pan. Add garlic and onions; sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add chicken broth and water; bring to boil. Add orzo and beans. Cover and simmer 10 minutes until pasta is cooked.
- Stir in chives (if using), lemon juice and spinach and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve topped with shaved Parmesan cheese (optional).