January 21, 2019 | Posted by Stephanie Banyas
Orange is the new black. SIxty is the new forty. Souping is the new juicing.
I have never been a believer in juice cleanses. I think that a human body is able to self-cleanse just fine. I also feel that there are more effective and long term ways to lose weight and feel recharged. When I am feeling sluggish and a bit overweight, I switch up my workout routine, reluctantly eat less gummy bears and chocolate bars ( i.e. sugar) and I eat more healthy food. The thought of drinking all of my meals for 3 days or longer is just not "appetizing" to me nor does it seem healthy. Actually, it’s not healthy. But, no judgements.
So, when I recently read that souping was the new juicing, I was excited, not because I was feeling unhealthy or needed to lose weight but because I love soup and any excuse to make it and eat it or in this case, drink it had me interested. Unlike juice, soups contain lots of nutritional value as well as fiber to fill you up and keep you full for hours. You can choose to eat your soup chunky with a spoon or puree it and drink it in a thermos or mug. Plus, creating a flavorful soup filled with all kinds of ingredients and a flavorful stock is much more creative to a cook, like me, than stuffing some vegetables and fruit into a juicer.
One of my favorite winter-time soups is minestrone, I have fond memories of my Italian grandmother making it for me as a child and my mother serving steaming hot bowls of it to my brother and me on snow days. Their version was the classic red variety with canned tomatoes serving as the base of the stock. But, I am thinking green, not only because of this cold, damp, dark winter weather but also because we are all about Swiss chard this week in the B-Team test kitchen. After juicing a bunch of it for Christie's delicious green mocktail...we found ourselves with lots of leftover green pulp. Instead of tossing it into the garbage, we decided to repurpose it and turn it into a delicious flavorful green vegetable stock. Genius? I think so. Green? Absolutley. Delcious? You be the judge.
Easy Being Green Minestrone
6 cups store-bought vegetable stock, we prefer 100% natural Swanson® Vegetable Cooking Stock
1 cup Swiss Chard pulp
1 medium Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 jalapeno chile
1 large zucchini, halved and diced
½ pound green beans, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 can white cannelini beans, drained, rinsed well and drained again
1 bunch Swiss chard, ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped or torn into bite-sized bits
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 lime
Grated parmesan cheese, optional
1.Combine the stock and Swiss chard pulp in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer. Using a paring knife, make a small slit into the jalapeno and add it to the stock along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover the pot and remove from the heat and let steep while you prep the vegetables.
2. Combine the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped (you do not want a puree, you still want a bit of texture).
3. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the vegetable mixture, a teaspoon of salt and a ¼ teaspoon of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture the vegetables begin to release their liquid. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the vegetables are very soft and slightly browned around the edges and have reduced by half, about 10 minutes, making sure to stir every few minutes. This step is incredibly important to achieving a full flavored broth.
4. Add the stock to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the zucchini, green beans, tomato and white beans, reduce the heat and cook for stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded, 20 minutes.
5. Add the Swiss chard and cook for 10 minutes longer. Remove the jalapeno and discard or coarsely chop and add it back to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the cilantro and lime juice. To eat chunky: Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with cheese, if desired. To eat or drink smooth: Remove the soup from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender (in batches, if needed) and blend until smooth. Pour into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat.
The soup will last tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or tightly covered in the freezer for up to 1 month