Many of us worry about or waistline this time of year, myself included. One thing I’ve learned from being a lifetime Weight Watchers member is that the holiday meal on its own is not really the problem. It’s all the meals surrounding it. We spend so much time, planning, shopping for, and preparing the big feast that we completely forget about what we’re going to eat the days leading up to it. We may come home with a car full of groceries only to realize we don’t have anything for dinner that night. Easy to heat up, previously solar-cooked, healthy foods like this minestrone can save the day. This soup can be stored in the fridge for up to a week and is even better the day after it’s cooked.
Sun Oven Minestrone
(adapted for the Sun Oven from Marcella Hazan’s Classic Italian)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 cups peeled, diced potatoes
2 cups diced zucchini
1 cup diced green beans
3 cups shredded savoy cabbage
A saltine cracker-sized piece of Parmesan cheese crust, scraped clean (optional)
2/3 cup canned diced tomatoes, with their juices
1 2/2 cups previously cooked cannellini beans(or other white beans)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Remove the leveling tray from the Sun Oven, place a rack or a trivet on the floor of the cooking chamber, and set it out to preheat. Combine the broth and water in a medium pot and put in the Sun Oven to heat while preparing the rest of the soup.
The onion through the cabbage are each added to the pot and cooked briefly before adding the next. To save time, prep each one as the previous one cooks.
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until softened but not browned. Add the carrots and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Do the same with the celery, potatoes, zucchini, and green beans, cooking each a few minutes before adding the next. Then add the shredded cabbage and cook for about 6 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the warm broth form the Sun Oven, the cheese crust (if using), and the tomatoes. Season lightly with salt. Cover and transfer to cook until the vegetables are soft and the soup has thickened, about 3 hours. Stir in the beans and cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the Sun Oven. Discard the cheese crust. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Adjust for salt. If not serving immediately, let cool and refrigerate in a covered container for up to a week.
Makes 6 to 8 servings