Slow-Cooker Minestrone

Feb 10, 2008 at 11:45 a.m. ET

Fighting a cold or just need some sustenance for your soul? This hearty, soothing stew is the perfect antidote. One serving boasts loads of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and lots of mmmm mmmm good. This recipe yields 12 servings -- eat some now, freeze some for later.

Serves 12

Ingredients:

2 carrots, sliced on the diagonal (about 1 cup)

2 celery stalks, sliced on the diagonal (about 1 cup)

½ cup frozen peas

1 (8 ounce) sweet potato, diced (about 1 cup)

1 (28 ounce) can roasted tomatoes or Italian plum tomatoes, cut up

1 (15 ounce) can great northern beans, rinsed, drained

3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch salt

1 pound escarole or spinach, washed, patted dry, chopped (about 3 cups)

4 ounces dry small shell pasta (about 1 1/4 cups)

1/2 cup scallions, green and white parts chopped

1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley

1/2 cup fresh grated Romano cheese

Directions:

Toss carrots, celery, peas, potato, tomatoes, beans, broth, vinegar, fennel seeds, cayenne and salt to slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir in escarole and pasta. Soup is ready when pasta is tender. Divide into serving bowls and garnish with scallions, parsley and Romano cheese. Serve with a crusty slice of whole grain bread or baked croutons.

Nutritional Analysis (per 2 cups garnished with 1 tablespoon each scallion, parsley, and cheese): Calories 254 (14% from fat); Protein 17 grams; Carbohydrates 40 grams; Fiber 9 grams; Total Fat 4 grams (Saturated Fat 2 grams; Monounsaturated Fat 1 gram; Polyunsaturated Fat 1 gram); Cholesterol 6 milligrams; Sodium 335 milligrams.

Points and Prizes Keyword: ROMANO worth 50 points good through 02/17/08.

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