Five to Try March #2 – A Delicious Veggie Dish to Try

It seems only fitting that I’m blogging about this week’s Five to Try, a new vegetarian recipe that I tried earlier this week. My anniversary is coming up – tomorrow, March 20, marks 6 years completely vegetarian. I gave up particular meat groups one at a time over the course of three years and on March 20, 2005 officially gave up chicken.

So I’m constantly looking for ways to take tasty meat dishes and make them vegetarian. Thankfully, now there are so many more delicious meatless options in the frozen food aisle to toss in as “meat” crumbles, strips or actual planks of fake meat-like main course items.

For this one though, we’re going back to the basics. Soup. This recipe is courtesy of my Weight Watchers team leader. Well….sorta. You see, I thought I took good notes in “class” but once I went shopping, I had to improvise a little with the grocery list. Tough to buy for a recipe when you can’t remember if you need Ministrone soup or Lentil soup (BIG difference for anyone not familiar with the two!) Like a flavorful pasta versus something the texture and taste of – oh, I don’t know… SHOELACES perhaps! So I had to wing it and modify this one slightly.

Supposedly there’s a well-known Weight Watchers recipe called Five-Can Soup. However, when you actually Google this, you will find a completely different set of cans in the mix. I’m guessing my WW leader has an independent streak and likes to go out on her own because this one doesn’t even resemble the other. But I can tell you that it is FANTASTIC and best of all, it’s vegetarian!

Here’s what you need:

A can of shoepeg (or white) corn

A can of black beans

A can of mixed vegetables (Veg All is good)

A can of diced seasoned tomatoes (I prefer Del Monte – basil and oregano or any of the garlic and pepper flavored ones)

A can of Light Italian Vegetable Progresso (or another one’s minestrone) – this is lighter on calories and sodium though…

Now here’s where I differ… I also made brown rice (instant brown rice works fine here for time) and I made on the side some Gardein Beef Tips in a skillet sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with Cavender’s. But if you don’t want to go completely meatless, you can get some stew meat or beef tips like my hubby did and use those instead.

Make the rice and beef (both optional) separately. Dump all five cans in one big pot (do not drain!) Season to your liking – I used parsley, my McCormick Italian grinder, some garlic salt and my McCormick Garlic Pepper (yeah, we like garlic in the house). You certainly could add some more fresh-cut veggies like mushrooms or onion, but the idea was to be fast here and try this recipe as is (again, sorta).  Stir and heat your soup on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Then when it’s finished serve with the option of putting brown rice and meatless beef tips in it, and I swear you will be absolutely amazed how hearty and delicious this soup is.

 Like your own fabulous beef, rice and veggie soup without the meat in the broth or in the “beef!” I also sprinkled some Sargento shredded parmesan and romano at the end too for a little more protein (2 tsp of that is 2 points in Weight Watchers speak).

For fellow Weight Watchers PointsPlus folks out there, if you leave out the beef and rice, a generous serving of the soup is about 5 points because it contains so many low-point or 0 point options. And plenty of great protein for the fellow veggies among you who are always looking for ways to fulfill this need, too. And the time it took to “make” this whole recipe, even with the meatless beef and instant brown rice – 20 minutes! Now, if you need to cook real meat for someone in the household, you may need to add to that time a little but if they’re small cuts of beef, it won’t be that much longer in the broiler, skillet, grill or oven.

If you try it for yourself, let me know what you think. It made fabulous leftovers, too. And hurrah, we have one more rotating meal I can throw into the schedule at any time when I need it that’s tasty, filling and so quick to make.

And let’s not forget… I tried one more thing from March… cha-ching… three to go!

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