Diabetes Quick Fix: Meatball Minestrone

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Meatball minestrone is a hearty soup. This recipe can be doubled easily. If you have time, make extra and use it for another quick meal.

Fennel seeds and oregano flavor the meatballs. The fennel seeds are oval, green-brown seeds that come from the common fennel plant. They have an anise taste and are used in many liqueurs. They can be found in the spice section of your market and will keep for 6 months.

Helpful Hints:

— Cannellini beans or chickpeas can be substituted for navy beans.

— Minced garlic can be found in the produce section of the market.


— Prepare ingredients.

— Make minestrone.

Shopping List:

1 bottle fennel seeds, 1 bottle dried oregano, 1/4 pound lean (95% fat-free) ground beef*, 1 can low-sodium, no-sugar-added diced tomatoes**, 1 package whole wheat spaghetti or linguine, 1 can navy beans, 1 piece Parmesan cheese, 1 yellow onion, 1 bunch celery and 1 bag washed, ready-to-eat spinach.

Staples: canola oil, fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth***, minced garlic, salt and black peppercorns.



Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 pound lean ground beef (95% fat-free)*

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup sliced yellow onion

1 cup sliced celery

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 cups drained, canned low-sodium, no-sugar-added diced tomatoes**

3/4 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth***

3 cups water

1/2 cup whole wheat spaghetti or linguine, broken into small pieces (2 ounces)

8 cups washed, ready-to-eat spinach (10 ounces)

1/2 cup rinsed and drained, canned small navy beans

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Mix fennel seeds and oregano into ground beef. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Roll into meatballs about 1inch in diameter to make 8 meatballs. Heat oil in a medium, nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Brown meatballs on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate. Add onion and celery to the saucepan. Saute 3 minutes without browning the vegetables, stirring once or twice. Add the garlic, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and water. Bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook gently for 8-9 minutes, stirring once to make sure the pasta cooks freely in the liquid. Add the spinach and beans. Lower heat to medium and return meatballs to the soup and cook to heat through, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in 2 large soup bowls with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Makes 2 serving.

Per serving: 460 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 6.3 g monounsaturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 32 g protein, 60 g carbohydrates, 14 g dietary fiber, 11g sugars, 490 mg sodium, 2,010 mg potassium, 510 mg phosphorus

Exchanges/food choices: 2 1/2 starch, 4 1/2 vegetable, 2 lean protein, 1 fat

Shop Smart

* lean ground beef (95% fat-free), containing per ounce: 39 calories, 1.4 g fat, 0.6 g saturated fat, 19 mg sodium

** canned low-sodium, no-sugar-added diced tomatoes, containing per cup: 41 calories, .3 g fat, .04 g saturated fat, 24 mg sodium

*** fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, containing per cup: 20 calories, 0 g fat, 150 mg sodium


(From “Delicious One-Pot Dishes” by Linda Gassenheimer, published by the American Diabetes Association. Reprinted with permission from The American Diabetes Association. To order this book call 1-800-232-6733 or order online at www.shopdiabetes.org)


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