Minestrone Soup With Quinoa And Lentils

2015 Minestrone

Built around the well-loved, traditional Italian meal-in-a-bowl, this Minestrone Soup does away with the pasta and replaces it with high-protein, gluten-free quinoa and is packed with seasonally harvested veggies and hearty lentils. Feel free to play with your own seasonal, vegetable variations or add some that you already have on hand.

Autumn is a time to start adding more cooked, warming foods to the diet and this thick, rich, one-pot meal is easy to prepare and supports to the digestive system at this time of year. I always make a large potful so that I have it on hand in the fridge or freezer for a cold night or for a quick hot lunch.

Curling up with a warm bowl packed with these beautiful ingredients will comfort the soul and satisfy the tummy.

Minestrone Soup With Quinoa And Lentils

Ingredients
  • 1 red onion – medium diced
  • 1 -2 cloves garlic- finely chopped
  • 3 carrots – medium diced
  • 10 mushrooms sliced
  • 3 cups kale (stems removed) or silverbeet/chard – shredded
  • 1 large zucchini – medium diced
  • 2 celery stalks with leaves on – finely sliced
  • 700g jar diced peeled tomatoes or 3 fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups red lentils
  • 1.5 cups quinoa
  • 8 cups of water/vegetable stock
  • fresh (or dried) basil leaves
  • fresh (or dried) oregano leaves
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
  • salt and freshly crushed black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil – or enough to cover the bottom of the pot
Method
  1. Rinse lentils under running water and pick through them to remove any foreign matter. Optional- you may also like to pre-soak them for 1 hour prior to cooking in order to aid digestibility.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat.
  3. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and sauté 5 minutes until the veggies are soft.
  4. Add the garlic and sweet paprika and cook for about one minute or until garlic begins to colour.
  5. Add the zucchini and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes and the water/stock, raise heat to high and bring to a boil.
  7. Lower the heat to medium/low and add red lentils, basil and oregano.
  8. Allow the soup to gently boil (uncovered) for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent lentils from sticking.
  9. Add the quinoa and cover for 20 minutes.
  10. Remove the cover, add the kale and more water if needed. Bring back to a gentle boil and cook for another 5 minutes or just until the kale is tender.

Garnish with fresh oregano (and optional freshly grated parmesan).

Enjoy.

quinoa and lemon crusted fish

Quinoa crumbed fish 2 002

Quinoa truly earns its name as a top ‘super-food’ and is an important addition to any diet.  It’s nutritional profile deems it one of the richest sources of protein found in a plant food as well as being a very rich source of Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc and Iron. It is also high in fibre and all-important antioxidants.

Quinoa is officially a seed, not a grain, and is naturally gluten-free.  This is important as many people I see who follow a gluten-free diet replace wholefoods with refined starches out of caution, and miss out on the healthful benefits of a wholefood diet.

Quinoa is extremely versatile in cooking. It can be used hot and cold as well as in sweet and savoury dishes.

This dish uses the wholegrain in its rolled form and makes a wonderful replacement for traditional wheat-based breadcrumbs. It provides a rich serve of protein, combining both animal-based and plant-based sources, as well as providing a satisfying, crunchy texture.

Quinoa And Lemon Crusted Fish

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 small fillets firm, white fish (eg. Flathead as pictured)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup organic quinoa flakes
  • 3 generous tbsp. fresh, grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • good pinch of salt, pepper
  • 4 sprigs of finely chopped parsley leaves
  • coconut oil for cooking
  • 4 lemon wedges

Method

  1. Wash fish fillets and pat dry with paper towelling.
  2. In a shallow bowl combine quinoa flakes, lemon zest, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Place beaten egg in a second shallow bowl.
  3. Coat the fish fillets in the egg and then roll in the quinoa mixture, pressing it firmly until well coated.
  4.  Place a large frying pan on a medium heat. Melt the coconut oil and shallow-fry the fish for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towel.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges and a beautiful lemon-dressed fresh salad.