Super Healthy, Beef Vegetable Quinoa Stew



italian stew photoJPG

 I can’t wait for you to make this! Beyond hearty and delicious, this main course stew has it all and then some! It starts with a rich tomato base, lean ground beef and chock full of vegetables and quinoa. I call it a stew versus a soup since it’s so wonderfully thick. One huge bowl (2 cups) has only 269 calories, 5 grams of fat and 5 Weight Watchers SmartPoints.  A bowl of pure yumminess!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes


Ingredients

½ cup quinoa (dry)

1 cup water

1½ cups onions, diced

1 pound extra lean ground beef or ground turkey, see shopping tips

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

! (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 (24 oz) jar of your favorite pasta sauce, I like Barilla or Classico 

1 (14.5 oz) can reduced-sodium beef broth

2 cups zucchini, chopped (slice zucchini in half and cut into slices)

2 cups mushrooms, chopped

1 cup red bell peppers, diced

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

Black pepper, to taste

2 cups fresh spinach leaves, packed

6 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese, optional topping


Instructions

1. Cook quiona: In a small pot, add ½ cup quinoa and stir in 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer, cover and cook on low heat, until all water is absorbed, about 12-15 minutes.

2. In a large nonstick pot, add ground beef, onions and garlic. Brown beef throughly, stirring often and breaking up beef into very small pieces. Once browned, pour into a colander in the sink, to drain the fat.

3. Add beef and onions back to pot. Stir in tomatoes, pasta sauce, beef broth, zucchini, mushrooms, red bell peppers, red pepper flakes, Italian seasonings and black pepper. Mix well. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer, cover, and cook 25 minutes. Remove cover, stir in spinach and cooked quinoa. Mix well. Cook 2 more minutes, until spinach is wilted.

4. This soup freezes great!

Makes 12 cups total, 6 servings (each main course serving, 2 cups)


Food Facts
While quinoa is usually considered to be a whole-grain, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley. It takes less time to cook than other whole grains, just 10 to 15 minutes. And, quinoa tastes great on its own. A ½ cup raw quinoa makes about 1⅔ cups cooked.


Shopping and Prep Tips

I used a healthy grass fed ground beef. You can find one in most supermarkets. I bought it at Trader Joe’s. I’ve also used their 96% lean ground beef. But whether you use ground beef or turkey, once browned, you drain the fat into a colander in the sink. Once drained, you add it back to the pot. Doing this extra step, cuts the fat way down.

Most supermarkets sell quinoa in the rice aisle. I bought mine at Trader Joe’s.


Prep Tip
If you have of can of diced tomatoes just toss into the blender and puree.


Weight Watchers SmartPoints
5
Weight Watchers Points Plus 6
Weight Watchers (old points) 5

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 main course bowl (2-cups) (no Parm cheese)
269 calories, 5g fat, 1g sat. fat, 22g prot, 33g carbs, 7g fiber, 669mg sod, 12g sugar
FACTS: for SmartPoints
187 calories, 1g sat. fat, 5g sugar, 19g protein