Super Clean & Green Chicken Minestrone

With the chilly weather upon us and all our over indulging in heavy hearty meals which is always so comforting at this time of year, it is a nice change to enjoy a super clean and nourishing soup from time to time to cleanse the body and give the heavy meals a break.

I know I’ve posted a lot of soups lately, but here is one I like to have when I’m feeling lethargic, bloated and to feel nourished or just because it is so good for you.

The warmer weather isn’t too far from sight and in only a few months we will be out in singlets and shorts again before we know it. After all we know how easy it is to get off track, so let’s get active and enjoy this nourishing bowl of superfood goodness to revitalise our body and souls.

+ I have given the options to add some quinoa, or rice noodles if you like and vegan/vegetarian options

 

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Spiced Pumpkin, Turmeric and Coconut Soup

Time to spice things up, A twist on an old classic soup. If you like Thai flavours of ginger, coconut cream and coriander well this is a simple yet tasty dish to help change-up the everyday pumpkin soup recipe.

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Green Split Pea & Ham Soup

Another Winter soup recipe for you, this one I have to admit isn’t one I’ve grown up eating. I am more used to the Italian chunky soups like minestrone but I thought I would give this soup a go and see what I thought. One thing I first learnt was it was made with split peas not green peas. While you can see recipes that use green peas traditionally it’s actually split peas.  It also uses ham hock to flavour the soup then shred the meat and add to the soup. I have to say it wasn’t one of my favourite soups ever but a nice change nevertheless.

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Hello Winter…Cauliflower, Leek & Watercress Soup

Hello Winter… It is the first day of Winter in Australia and it has definitely shown up ready for the party. It was a crisp chilly morning on the GC. The kids all slept in late (which never happens) making us rush for the school drop off creating plenty of hysteria in the house. Welcome Winter I can not wait! (slight sarcasm)

After visiting my sister in the vibrant city of Melbourne I can’t complain much they have been putting up with cooler weather for months now. I came back gaining a better understanding on how weather affects places differently and how it affects your city socially. We all know that in our warm climate here in Queensland we don’t really have respect for the cold and can’t cope with a day under 20’C. It is apparent that we all go into hibernation mode as soon as winter peaks it head out.

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Italian Minestrone with Quinoa & Crispy Pancetta

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It is a dreary day here today wet, cold and miserable. Not the most motivating weather for a Monday. Winter is making a sneak preview and reality is checking in that we actually do get cooler weather here on the Gold Coast. Of course nothing to get too distressed about compared to the Southern Australian states and well overseas snowy climates, but we do still get a winter even if the cooler weather is only for a very short time. I rather like it actually, it makes for a nice change to the sticky, hot humid days that engross us for the majority of the year. Who’s complaining we have it pretty darn good so the few months of chilly nights we can totally deal with. Also makes dinner time more cosy and enjoyable too in my opinion. Nourishing  wholesome soups packed with veg and flavour I just can’t get enough of which are rather easy to make as well.

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Minestrone is a hearty Italian classic soup which I have been making since I first started learning to cook. As has my mother  and her mother before that. It is a basic winter staple in our home something we have all grown up on. Except now I add the goodness of quinoa to the tomato vegetable broth which makes this soup even more nutritious than before and a gluten-free option. The pancetta gives the dish an extra salty depth of flavour which I quite like but you can always leave it out to make this a vegan/vegetarian meal. Serve with some warm crusty bread and a glass of red to make it a full authentic Italian meal.

Italian Minestrone with Quinoa & Crispy Pancetta

A traditional Italian Soup with the added goodness of Quinoa

Ingredients

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery sticks, chopped

1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 zucchini, diced

1/2 bunch cavolo nero, (Tuscan kale) finely sliced

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp dried oregano

salt and pepper

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

1/4 cup red wine

400g tin chopped tomatoes

1/3 cup tri-colour quinoa, rinsed

400g tin four bean mix or borlotti beans, drained and washed

100-120g pancetta, chopped

Directions

  1. In a large stock pot heat oil on high heat. Add chopped pancetta and cook for 2-3 mins until just crispy. Remove from pan and a side
  2. Add onion, garlic and saute for 1-2 mins until softened. Add carrot, celery, sweet potato, zucchini, cavolo nero, bay leaves, oregano, salt and pepper to taste and half the pancetta to the pot. Saute for 3-4 mins stirring continuously until vegetables are just beginning to soften
  3. Add stock, wine and tin tomatoes stir to combine. Bring to the boil then add rinsed quinoa. Turn heat down low to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Add beans cook for a further 5 minutes. Serve soup topped with the remaining pancetta, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, extra cracked pepper and some warm crusty bread rolls. If you like some heat I added some chilli salt also.

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