Minestrone Monday

December 17, 2012 | | | | | |

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Mondays suck. Anxiety levels are high and morale is low. There are many reasons for this, but my Blue Monday is usually a result of its naughty predecessor: No Calorie Sunday.

No Calorie Sunday. Having a light snack.

I am a big believer in “No Calorie Sunday.” Sure, I love eating healthily and treating my body like the temple that it is. Just not on Sundays. On Sundays, I go off the reservation. Food trucks, frozen yogurt, cheeseburgers, Dominos…you name it, I’ll eat it. Throw a hangover into the mix, and things really get aggressive. Honestly, the amount of food consumed is both impressive and disgusting. By the time the Sunday Night Fear rolls around, I’m usually in a food coma and in need of adult supervision.*

Therefore, on Mondays I tend to be a little sluggish and a lot bloated. Today is no exception. I won’t go into the details of yesterday’s eating activities because they should never be seen in print. Let’s just say that there were several delivery orders involved, and I didn’t wake up this morning feeling like Gisele.

Adding to the anxiety caused by my food hangover is the fact that I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping, my roommate is in China, and I’m still self-employed. Like I said, Mondays suck. This morning, during my “social media management hour,” I realized that cooking something light and nutritious was the only way to turn my Monday around. I wracked my brain trying to think of a recipe that wouldn’t require too many pots and pans, since I prefer not to start the week by making a big mess in my tiny kitchen. (Especially when my roommate is out of town and unavailable to do the dishes.) And then it hit me: Minestrone.


This is the perfect cozy, detoxifying meal to kick off your week.** It’s warm, hearty, and chock full of vegetable goodness. A lot of minestrone recipes call for some sort of pasta, but none of us need the extra carbs right now, so I did everyone a favor and left it out. Trust me, you won’t miss it. I just ate this for lunch in my “office,” and my Monday blues are already melting away.* I’m pretty pumped about eating it for dinner too.

On top of being healthy and delicious, this minestrone is also idiot-proof and practically effortless. Plus, you only need one pot! This means you’ll have more time to do whatever busy and important things you do in the evening (watch tv, take a bath, have cocktails, etc.).

Cooking for one? You know I love you for it. Yes, this recipe makes four servings, but minestrone tastes even better reheated. So, throw it in the fridge and reheat it whenever you need a light lunch, dinner, or snack over the next couple days. Party-hopping? Minestrone is exactly what you need to fill you up beforehand without forcing you to break out your Spanx or loosen your belt buckle. You’re welcome. Now, go pick up some groceries and get to it.

*Needless to say, Sundays are Logan’s favorite day.

**You don’t indulge in No Calorie Sundays? Get off your high horse. I imagine you’ve been doing some damage to your liver and your waistline on the holiday party circuit.

*By “office” I mean my couch.

Minestrone Soup: (Serves 4)

2 large carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
½ large yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, butter beans, or chickpeas (pick your poison)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 small zucchini, diced
2 cups spinach, chopped
2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
½ tsp oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp crushed chili flakes
4 tbsp shredded parmesan, divided


Preparing your minestrone:

-Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pot. Add diced carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and a pinch of salt. Sauté over medium heat until the vegetables soften and the onions become translucent (about 8 minutes).


-Add the beans, diced tomatoes, and chicken (or vegetable) stock. Mix in the oregano and chili flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Simmer for thirty minutes.


-Add the diced zucchini and spinach and let your minestrone simmer for another 30 minutes.


-Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with parmesan, and dig in. Feel better? Of course you do.


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