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 3 Blue WW FreeStyle SmartPoints if made with 99% ground turkey and 5 Green if made with extra lean ground beef. A bowl of pure yumminess!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
½ cup quinoa (dry)
1 cup water
1½ cups onions, diced
1 pound extra-lean ground beef or 99% 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
1. Cook quinoa: 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 thoroughly, 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 for 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)
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 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.
If you have of a can of diced tomatoes just toss it into the blender and puree.
WW FreeStyle SmartPoints 3-Blue (made with 99% ground turkey)
WW SmartPoints 5-Green (made with lean ground beef)
WW Points Plus 6
|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 FreeStyle SmartPoints
100 calories, 0g sat. fat, 5g protein, 5g sugar
FACTS: for SmartPoints
187 calories, 1g sat. fat, 5g sugar, 19g protein