V, VG, DF, GF (serves 4+)
When it comes to food, being a first generation Aussie from Italian parents has it's perks.
Unfortunately, the most loved Italian foods - pizza, pasta, salami and biscotti don't really qualify as part of a healthy Mediterranean Diet.
My personal food and health journey started with removing many foods I had grown up with to address a bunch of ongoing health concerns (sinusitis, hayfever, migraine and IBS-C).
Diet change was the foundation of my personal healing and triggered the lifelong learning that led to where I am now, a qualified nutritionist.
But I still love my Italian food.
When I cook Italian for my family, I stick with the healthiest elements of a true Mediterranean Diet, which often requires whole food substitutes, but allows me to have my Italian and eat it too!
Mama's Minestrone is a delicious example. It has all the flavours of Italian home cooking in one of the healthiest and heartiest Mediterranean meals around. My family love it. Yours will too.
Here's my healthy family Minestrone recipe for you...
WHAT YOU NEED:
1 onion, diced 1 clove garlic, finely diced (optional)
1/2 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (+ extra for serving)
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
2 carrots, cubed
1/2 red capsicum, cubed
1 white potato, peeled and cubed
2 tins of BPA-Free Organic diced tomatoes (pureed in blender)
1 tin of BPA-Free Organic cannellini Beans (or red kidney beans), well rinsed
A little extra virgin olive oil
About 1.5L water
1.5 tsp rock salt
A shake white pepper
Optional for serving depending on diet/nutrition needs (see below):
2 cups cooked pearl barley/OR brown rice
Freshly grated parmesan cheese/ OR nutritional yeast
WHAT TO DO:
Sautee the onion, garlic and celery in a little olive oil until soft.
Add the remaining chopped vegetables, tomato puree, parsley, water and salt.
Bring to boil and boil rapidly for 2-3 minutes. Stir well, then move the pot to a smaller burner and reduce the heat to low.
Simmer with the lid on for 25-30 mins (you can set a timer).
Add the rinsed beans and mix through. Taste for flavour and season if needed. Allow to cook another 5 mins or so to soften and warm the beans.
TO SERVE: You can serve this on its own as a warming chunky soup. It's also nice served over a small portion of cooked pearl barley. If you're gluten sensitive, gluten intolerant or otherwise gluten free, use brown rice instead of pearl barley.
Add a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese, fresh chopped parsley & cracked pepper.
*Vegan or Dairy Free - use a sprinkle of nutritional yeast instead of parmesan.