Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easy as Lunch

I tried one of Gardein's newest meals today, the Burgundy trio with beefless tips, veggies and rice. At only 230 calories for a full serving, it deserves high marks as a healthy, easy-to-prepare lunch.

The ample serving of beefless tips--which are very high in protein--have one of the best, most steak-like textures of any vegetable protein I've tasted right out of the package. My only suggestion would be to substitute the white rice with brown or multi-grain rice. I'm also hoping that Gardein packages the low-fat, cholesterol-free tips separately in family-size servings. I'd like to incorporate them into other recipes with quinoa and couscous or as vegetable kabobs (sans the rice).

Also look for the Sicilian and Thai trios at Whole Foods, Kroger and Safeway stores.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Vegetable Minestrone

The spring weather definitely inspires me to head to the local market for some seasonal vegetables. Just because the temperatures are heating up doesn't mean there's anything wrong with supping on soup (it's actually a light and nutritious way to start the season). I came across a really good recipe for Spring Vegetable Minestrone and took some liberties to make it just a bit more vegetarian and (hopefully) much more tasty. The final product is a colorful and flavorful addition to any dinner table. It also stands alone as a hearty meal.


Olive oil
2 large shallots (diced)
Dry white wine
3 garlic cloves (minced)
Cayenne pepper (even a small amount provides a much-needed kick)
3 Carrots (diced)
1 large Yukon gold potato (diced)
2 turnips (diced)
4 cups vegetable broth (I prefer lower sodium options)
Fresh Italian parsley
Fresh thyme
Bay leaves
10 oz. shelled peas
4 oz. snow peas (trimmed and cut)
Fresh spinach


Heat oil in a saucepan over medium to high heat and add shallots. Cook until they soften. Then add the wine (a third cup), garlic and a pinch of Cayenne pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Then add the carrots, potato and turnips and saute for about a minute before adding the broth and 5 cups of water. Add the parsley, thyme and bay leaves to the soup (you can either cook them loosely or tie them with kitchen twine--keep in mind you'll need to remove them later). Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil before reducing the heat to medium-low and cooking for at least 20 minutes. Finally, stir in the peas, snow peas and spinach and cover. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove the herbs and discard. Serve the soup in bowls and sprinkle with tarragon.