Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oil-Free & Vegan Minestrone

As I mentioned on the Facebook page, one half of TCV (the half that is about to run 26.2 miles in under 4 hours, my goal come December) is on a diet. I'm trying to shed a few pounds before my St. Jude Childen's Research Hospital race coming up here in Memphis. Not lugging a lot of extra weight makes for a much more pleasant marathon experience --  especially when you've run 20 miles and you still have 6.2 more to go. Coincidentally, some members of my family decided that since we want to lose a little weight before the holidays, we would make things interesting. About two weeks ago, the guys each put in $100, and the winner of pounds and percentage of weight lost will split the pot. Talk about all kinds of motivation! I hope I'm not giving away too many of my secrets, but here goes...

I've changed up a few things in my diet that have a a dramatic and immediate effect. We're talking a loss of about 15 pounds in 10 days. I'm actually surprised by how quickly the pounds have come off, so I thought I'd share what I've been doing. 

I've cut out carbs for the most part. I'll still have a little rice, but no white potatoes, bread, or anything like that. I'm off cheese for now, but I do still eat lowfat Greek yogurt because it's such a good source of protein. Last but not least, I've been cooking without oil and butter. I didn't think it was possible, but I've found a few ways that work.

In addition to beans and rice, I've been eating soft-boiled eggs for protien. I've also been eating lots of vegetables and salads. I've ingested an inordinate amount of cabbage in the form of kimchi, and have eaten scores of sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and portobello mushrooms. 

This particular minestrone soup is great because it contains so many vegetables, and it's really flavorful and filling. If you have it over a little rice, it will give you a complete protein, which is important when training for a race. This recipe makes a big batch; that's good because I'm pretty hungry after all that running. I've been having it for lunch almost every day. This is my second batch. It will keep in the fridge up to a week. 

Oil-Free and Vegan Minestrone

2 cups tomato wedges (about 2 large or 4 medium tomatoes)
12 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery (about 3 ribs)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrot (about 3 medium)
1 1/2 cups diced white onion (about 1 large)
1 1/2 cups wine (like Pinot Grigio)
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (less of you don't like spicy stuff)
Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups sliced zucchini (about 2 medium)
2 drained 13.4 ounce boxes cannellini beans (like Whole Foods 365 brand)
1 tablespoons capers (rinsed)
1/2 cup slices sun-dried tomatoes
1 1/2 - 2 cups vegetable stock (like Whole Foods 365 brand)
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
Pinch of cane sugar (optional)
3 cups prepared rice or pasta (to serve)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional, to garnish)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the garlic and tomatoes in a single layer on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until garlic cloves are nicely browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Once cool, mince the roasted garlic, and set aside until ready to add to the soup.

Heat a large frying pan with high sides over high heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion to the dry pan and spread the vegetables out in a single layer. Once they start to caramelize (about 2 minutes), stir them up and again arrange them in a single layer. You will notice that the pan is starting to show a layer of brown on the surface; this is a good thing! Add the wine, and using a wooden spoon, scrape up all of the brown bits from the pan. Reduce until the wine is thick and syrupy. Add the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, zucchini, beans, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups of the vegetable stock, tomato paste, minced garlic, and roasted tomatoes. Stir to incorporate. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are at a desired tenderness. Use remaining stock to think the soup if needed.

Serve over rice or even pasta (if you are into that sort of thing) and garnish with parmesan if you'd like. (Makes 6 servings.)


Shiva rei said...

thanks i will try the recipe at home..

Senja Berita said...

Wow very nice recipe,
thanks for sharing this recipe content.

tenderb said...

Congrats on the weight loss. I love that this soup is largely vegetables.