I have to say I’m not a fan of  the cold weather; even more so since I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis. The cold damp weather can really aggravate my symptoms, but the thing that makes me happy in the winter is eating soups. I love soups! Having grown up in Romania in the 80’s, I spent most of my time with my grandparents as my mum had to work. My grandma was an amazing cook; she would always make at least two courses every lunch time, first course always being soup. Her soups were so delicious, with lots of different vegetables, lemon, herbs, as well as delicious bone broths. Growing up with very traditional home cooked meals as a young kid definitely instilled my love of cooking and I am eternally grateful to my grandparents for it. That all changed when I moved to England at the age of twelve, but that’s another story…

So here’s my version of Minestrone Soup. It’s so good I could literally eat it every day. It’s packed full of so many delicious veggies that it’s a truly satisfying meal. You can cook a big batch of it and either freeze some or have it for lunch the next day too.

Traditionally Minestrone Soup has white potatoes and pasta in it, ingredients which I’ve omitted from my recipe as these foods contain simple carbohydrates causing a spike in blood  sugar levels, making us crave these foods even more. Constant spikes in blood sugar levels may lead to increased insulin levels, which over time may lean to insulin resistance, meaning that the body can no longer read the messages given by insulin to let sugar into the cells for energy(1). The increase of insulin and glucose in the blood stream is an inflammatory process which may be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes(2). This soup on the other hand is full of complex carbohydrates, protein and fibre which benefit both the digestive system and cardiovascular health.

I use butternut squash, but you can use pumpkin or sweet potato too depending on what you have in the fridge. I’m definitely one for modifying and adjusting recipes to suit you, but as squashes are in season at the moment it makes sense to use these. I then add cannellini beans and green beans and presto! Delicious, filling, warming, comfort food in a big steaming bowl of soup!

minestrone_soup1

Minestrone Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

1 medium onion finely chopped
1 celery stalk finely chopped
1 medium carrot finely chopped
1/2 butternut squash pealed and cubed
1 large clove of garlic finely chopped
200g pasata
300ml boiling water
1 tin pre cooked cannellini beans (230g)
100g green beans
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
squeeze of lemon juice
generous pinch of salt and pepper to taste

 Method

In a heavy bottom pan, heat the coconut oil then add the carrot, onion and celery and gently saute for 3 minutes. Add the cubed butternut squash and continue to cook for 10min stirring regularly. Add the garlic and cumin and stir through, then add the pasata and water. Cover, bring to the boil then simmer for 20min or until the butternut squash is soft. You can now add both the cannellini beans and the green beans and continue cooking for a further 10min. Season with salt and pepper, squeeze of lemon and add the olive oil. Serve immediately!

Enjoy!

 minestrone_soup2

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC314317/  (1)

http://www.livescience.com/34757-insulin-resistance-develop-diabetes-heart-disease.html  (2)