Cozy Tomato Spinach Soup
Wintertime is a nice time to cozy up and eat soups, making you feel all warm inside. This soup is delicious! It has a rich tomato flavor with a touch of parmesan – although the cheese is optional. Fresh spinach adds a wonderful texture and quinoa macaroni makes it healthy and fun!
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
½ teaspoon garlic, fresh minced
¼ teaspoon oregano flakes
¼ teaspoon basil
¼ teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons red wine of choice or substitute*
6 cups water
2 cups crushed tomatoes, canned** or homemade
2 cups marinara sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste or homemade
¼ cup quinoa macaroni noodles or macaroni of choice
4 cups fresh baby spinach, cleaned
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons palm sugar*** or sugar of choice
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, powdered or grated
4 tablespoons Optional, parmesan cheese, shredded
- In soup pot, sauté onions in oil until tender, add garlic half way thru cooking. Add seasonings.
- Add red wine, allow pot to simmer for three minutes.
- Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, marinara sauce and water.
- Bring to a boil and add macaroni. Lower to a simmer, stirring well so macaroni doesn’t stick. Simmer until macaroni is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add spinach and continue to cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in vinegar and sugar and parmesan cheese.
Optional: Serve in bowls and sprinkle a small amount of shredded parmesan cheese on top.
Cooking time: 35 minutes
* Red Wine Substitute: Non-alcoholic red wine, red wine vinegar or grape juice, or Alcohol Burn-off Chart: http://homecooking.about.com/library/archive/blalcohol12.htm
**Cans BPA free: Foods in steel cans coated with a baked on oleoresinous C-enamel that does not contain the endocrine disrupter chemical, bisphenol-A (BPA). Oleoresin is a non-toxic mixture of an oil and a resin extracted from various plants such as pine or balsam fir.
***Palm sugar is made from the sap of a sugar palm tree (also called date palm). Coconut sugar comes from the buds of coconut tree flowers. They are two different types of sugars, but sometimes you can find a combination of both. Both are natural sweeteners that come from trees and are collected as sap — like North American maple syrup. The sap is then boiled in enormous vats to create either a sugar paste (sold in jars or tins) or rock-like chunks of sugar also known as “jaggery.” (Jaggery can be made from cane sugar as well – it just means the solid, rock-like form of sugar.) I use both palm and coconut sugar in my kitchen. It’s packaged in bags and looks like brown sugar.