Smoked Sausage Minestrone

Smoked Sausage MinestroneThis rustic and hearty soup gets its flavour boost from the addition of smoked Ontario sausage. A healthy meal option brimming with vegetables and pasta, this classic minestrone weighs in at only 240 calories and packs 8 grams of fibre per serving.

2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil, divided
1/2 lb (225 g) smoked Ontario sausage, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, trimmed and sliced (white and green part only)
2 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, halfed lengthwise and sliced
1/4 small savoy cabbage, shredded
1/2 tsp (5 mL) each, salt and fresh cracked pepper
2 bay leaves
1 – 28 oz (828 mL) can diced tomatoes, with juices
6 cups water (approx.)
1 – 19 oz (562 mL) can kidney beans, rinsed and well-drained
1 cup (125 mL) dried elbow macaroni

Garnish: parmesan cheese, olive oil and fresh, chopped parsley

In large Dutch oven, heat half of the oil over medium high heat. Brown sausage pieces. Transfer to plate.

Add remaining oil with onions, leeks, carrots and cook until onion is translucent and golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in zucchini, cabbage, rosemary, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Cook one minute. Add diced tomatoes with their juices, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour in water, adding extra if required to cover vegetables. Bring to boil, reduce heat to maintain simmer and cover for 15 minutes.

Stir in reserved sausage, kidney beans and pasta and continue to cook until pasta is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Serve in warmed soup bowls garnished with fresh shaved Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and fresh chopped parsley.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Per Serving: about 240 cal, 12 g pro, 7 g total fat (1 g sat fat), 34 g carb, 8 g fibre, 15 mg chol, 550 mg sodium. %RDI: iron 25%, calcium 4%, vit A 90%, vit C 70%