Italian “minestrone” is a vegetable soup that predates the Roman Empire and shares a root meaning with the Latin word for “to serve.” Each serving of this hearty, healthy ragout (ragu, another fine Italian word) offers ample amounts of vegetables — meaty eggplant, sweet carrots, tomatoes and tender baby spinach — and a fragrant array of spices. The slow simmer adds richness and lets all those Mediterranean flavors mingle in a soup that improves with age.  

Difficulty Level: Moderate
Yield: 8 (1 cup) servings 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Recipe Ingredients:
1/2 cup vegetable broth  
5 cups fresh eggplant, cubed 
3 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced  
2 cups fresh yellow onion, diced  
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds 
1 1/2 cups green pepper, diced  
1 3/4 cups red bell pepper, diced  
1/2 cup carrots, diced 
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
3 1/2 cups petite-diced tomatoes in juice  
1 1/2 cups baby spinach, chopped  
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped  

1. In a medium stock pot, add the broth and sweat eggplant, garlic, onion, fennel seeds, green and red peppers, carrots, Italian seasoning, and salt. Sauté for 5–8 minutes. 
2. When vegetables are slightly tender, stir in tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.
3. Simmer ragout for 15 minutes or until it reaches 165°F.
4. Stir in spinach and basil, remove from heat, and serve. 

Nutritional Data:  calories 2.05g, fat 0.34g, sat fat 0.34g, cholesterol 0mg, sodium 384.11mg, carbohydrates 17.55mg, fiber 5.55g, sugars 7.47g, protein 3.00g 

Created by Chef Edwin Cabrera, Copyright © AdventHealth Press