Lovin' spoonful

This comforting soup is ready in a flash. If the sight of spinach incites juvenile revolt, add it quietly to obliging adult bowls

In the can
Using canned ingredients doesn’t mean you’re compromising on nutrition. In fact, some studies put canned vegetables on top, containing higher levels of phytochemicals, such as beta carotene and lycopene, than their fresh counterparts. That said, sodium can be a problem. So when serving canned beans, be sure to drain and rinse well to reduce the saltiness. Look for low-sodium stock and taste soups and sauces before you add salt.

Fill up with fibre
Why do we recommend whole wheat macaroni? Each serving contains twice the fibre of regular pasta — and most kids could use a boost to their fibre intake to prevent constipation. Enough roughage on the plate also spells easier weight management, plus a lower risk of both diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

1 onion, chopped
1 cup (250 mL) rinsed and drained canned beans such as Romano or white kidney
2 cups (500 mL) packed baby spinach
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups (1.5 L) chicken stock
14 oz (398 mL) can of cherry or plum tomatoes
4 cups (1 L) frozen lean meatballs, about 1 lb (500 g)
½ cup (125 mL) whole wheat macaroni
1 tbsp (15 mL) basil pesto
salt and pepper
grated Parmesan cheese

Countdown to dinner

30 minutes to go Chop the onion, rinse and drain the beans, and wash the baby spinach. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.

15 Add the stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.

10 Add the meatballs, beans, macaroni and pesto. Bring back to boil, then reduce to simmer, cooking 8 minutes or until macaroni is al dente and the meatballs cooked through.

8 (dessert prep) While the soup simmers, you have time to put together the quick Layered Yogurt Parfaits. For each serving, put a dollop of yogurt in the bottom of a glass, followed by a layer of sliced bananas and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Layer again with yogurt, bananas and chocolate syrup. Garnish with nut-free plain granola, or chop peanuts and sprinkle on top. Refrigerate.

2 Slice bread. Season soup with salt and pepper.

0 Serve the soup in bowls, adding spinach as desired. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and enjoy.

Soup recipe makes 10 servings.

FILED UNDER: