Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Paleo Chicken Minestrone Soup

When I was growing up, my family would go out for Sunday afternoon meals every week. Many of those meals would be enjoyed at Olive Garden. I loved ordering minestrone soup as my soup or salad choice. What a comforting bowl of veggies, pasta and beans (definitively not Paleo). And what's better than using a buttery, garlicky breadstick to soak up the last bit of soup?

Answer: Paleo [chicken] minestrone soup with Paleo Herb Crackers!

I can't take all the credit for creating this soup. Even though I grew up eating Olive Garden's minestrone soup, I had a Paleo version at Mmm...Coffee back in January. They were my ultimate inspiration for this soup.

Paleo Chicken Minestrone Soup
Rating: 10 clubs
Serves: 8

2-3 T. olive oil or fat of choice
1 onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
6 oz. can of tomato paste
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
5-6 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
3 T. fresh basil, chopped
2 t. dried oregano (or 2 T. fresh)
2 t. dried parsley (or 2 T. fresh)
1 t. dried thyme (or 1 T. fresh)
2 – 2 ½ cups chicken, shredded
A few large handfuls of spinach
Sea salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste

  1. Heat your fat of choice in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions, carrots, zucchini, squash, garlic and mushrooms to the pot. Season with sea salt and pepper. Sauté for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally (I use a wooden spoon), until veggies are tender.
  3. Add the tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Mix well to distribute the tomato paste.
  4. Pour in the chicken broth and mix.
  5. Add in all the herbs. Mix. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, stirring a few times.
  6. Add the chicken and spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted and chicken is warmed through, stirring frequently.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
  8.  Ladle into bowls and enjoy! 

Questions for today: Do you have any childhood memories of eating out with your family? What were some of the restaurants you and your family frequented? In addition to Olive Garden, we often went to Red Lobster and the MCL Cafeteria (all 5 of us could eat for $20 at the cafeteria). I have many fond memories of going out for Sunday afternoon meals with my family.

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