Category Archives: soup and chili

Sardinian Minestrone


James and I spent ten days in the Ogliastra region of Sardegna (sardinia), Italy.  We traveled in a little convertible, black Fiat through the most rugged terrain, visiting villages nestled on the side of the mountains where people lived to be over 100 years old without disease.  Yes, no cancer, no diabetes, no dementia, and no heart problems.  Often times we arrived in mid-day to find the streets deserted, but late afternoons, the streets came alive, and in the evening, there would be dancing and laughter and liters of cannonau wine.

This area of Sardinia is known as one of the Blue Zone areas, an area in the world where people live a quality life well into their nineties and one hundred years old.  Typically, the Sardinian diet consists of fava beans and chickpeas, fennel, goats milk and goats cheese, tomatoes , almonds, milk thistle, and cannonau wine.  The soup I’m sharing today, celebrates these ingredients.  The world’s longest living family from Sardegna eats a similar minestrone soup almost every day.


To start, I soak 16 ounces of beans in water.  I use a combination of any three beans.  Today I’m using lima beans, chickpeas, and azuko beans.  The Sardinians almost always use a type of fava beans or chickpeas.  Those two beans are the toughest to cook and seem to go along with the ruggedness of the Sardinian Mountains.  I cook the beans first, usually after rinsing and draining, and then simmering for a couple of hours.  Recently, my girl, Molly Kennamer, introduced me to her Tupperware pressure cooker.  This cut my cooking time by two hours. A great little kitchen appliance! 

The freshest of vegetables is what gives this soup its flavor and nutrition.  The Sardinians change their soup weekly, depending on what is available from the garden.


After adding the beans into a huge stock pot, I add a vegetable broth (or water), onion, fennel, carrots, celery, garlic, barley and a can of crushed tomatoes. 

The onion and fennel must be minced well.  My new chopper gadget from Tupperware makes this job a breeze.  One onion turns into tiny choppings with just three “fun” pulls:

Step 1:



Step 2:


And the fennel:


Give it a stir and add salt and pepper and little kick of cayenne.  I chop a little flat leaf Italian parsley and grate some pecorino cheese to top it off before we eat.



This is a staple at my house.  I make it in many different variations.  I hope you enjoy!

Sardinian Minestrone, Longevity Soup
This is a hearty soup eaten by the worlds longest living people. My family says its the best soup I make. It's best served with a slice of sourdough bread, Parmesan or Pecorino cheese and a splash of Italian Parsley.
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2798 calories
411 g
236 g
69 g
151 g
40 g
2735 g
7245 g
28 g
0 g
23 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 2798
Calories from Fat 603
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 69g
Saturated Fat 40g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 19g
Cholesterol 236mg
Sodium 7245mg
Total Carbohydrates 411g
Dietary Fiber 89g
Sugars 28g
Protein 151g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 16 oz beans: I use three different types - lima (or fava), azuko (or red beans), and chickpeas
  2. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 bulb of fennel, finely chopped
  4. 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  5. 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  6. 3 carrots, chopped
  7. 3 medium potatoes (or four), I like the yellow type
  8. 2/3 cups of barley (small pasta can be used)
  9. 2 cups of broth (water can be used)
  10. 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  11. 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or more)
  12. 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  13. a splash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  14. chopped Italian parsley
  15. grated pecorino cheese or freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. 1. Cook dry beans until tender. You can use cans if you have little time. Or, use a pressure cooker. Sometimes I use a crock pot.
  2. 2. Add beans to a stock pot.
  3. 3. Add all other vegetables.
  4. 4. After vegetables become tender, add the crushed tomatoes.
  5. 5. Cook until everything is tender.
  6. 6. Serve in a small bowl, top with parsley and cheese.
  7. 7. Add a slice of sourdough bread and enjoy.
  1. The nutritional information provided by this recipe card inaccurate. I will correct the glitch as soon as I can, but for now, you can be assured there is NO SUGAR added to this recipe.
Adapted from Blue Zones Solutions
Adapted from Blue Zones Solutions
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Creamy Zucchini Immunity Soup

Immunity SoupI don’t know why I fret over the names of my soups, but naming my soups are so hard.  I name them, rename them, and then I forget what I named them.  For instance, the other day my mother-in-law asked for some of my delicious immunity soup (meaning this one), but I made her my cream of mushroom soup that I also once called immunity soup.  She was so confused because it wasn’t the soup she asked for…I forgot to tell her I rename soup often.  So, I’ve made new rules and my new rules are this:  when it goes on the bog, the name is official. This soup has been called zucchini and kale soup, creamy vegetable soup, and anti-cancer soup, but from this day forward, it will be called “Creamy Zucchini Immunity Soup” even though it has lots of kale in it.  And split peas, lentils, leeks, carrot juice and even celery.  I can’t include all that in the name.  I named it because I like the long “e” sound at the end of the first three words.  I guess it’s the poet in me.

Continue reading Creamy Zucchini Immunity Soup

Beans and Greens Soup


Beans and Greens SoupIt’s soup time at the Garner house.  When the weather gets cold, we always make a huge pot of Sunday soup.  Today, I made a pot of my healthy beans and greens soup. This soup is packed with nutrition.  There are three types of beans: black beans, kidney beans, and cannellini beans.  We all know that silly song that we used to sing as kids…”beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…” Well, I’ll stop there, but the truth is: it’s true.  Beans are good for your heart.  Actually, just a half of cup of beans per day has been found to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.  Continue reading Beans and Greens Soup

Half the Potato You Think I Am Soup

Potato SoupPotato Soup is the ultimate cold weather comfort food.  I woke up this morning freezing and desperately needing a big bowl of potato soup to comfort my soul.  The kind of soup a girl from the deep south needs when fall begins to feel like winter.  The kind of soup that makes everything feel better.  I don’t make potato soup very often because it lacks the nutrient dense punch I get from other soups.  The starchy potatoes, milk, and butter tastes so good but leave you with unwanted calories and very few nutrients.  A few weeks ago I went on a quest to make all my favorite food nutrient dense.  This is one of the recipes I created, and to me, it tastes better than my original recipe with half the calories, half the fat and double the nutrients.  You’ve got to try it to believe it. Continue reading Half the Potato You Think I Am Soup

Veggie Chili

Veggie Chili

I know, I know it’s almost April and this is cold weather food, but it was rather chilly yesterday so it just felt right to throw together a huge pot of vegetarian chili.  This healthy dish is our favorite comfort food on cold days. Absolutely delicious!

Gather some spice and fresh vegetables and get started on a pot of yum.


The chopping is the hardest part: chop, chop, chop onions that make you cry and peppers that make you burn.  Of course, you could use frozen, but I think fresh is best.

garlic and peppers

This recipes makes a lot so if you are single or just a couple, you may want to share with friends or cut all ingredients in half.  We have a large family, and we still have leftovers. I like to freeze what’s left  in quart size bags for later use.  This works out great when there’s no time to prepare a meal.  Thaw a bag in warm water for just a minute, remove and pop into the microwave.  Make sure to date your bags to guarantee freshness.

Note: This recipe was inspired by Dr. Fuhrman’s,  Eat to Live.  We have tried many variations of this recipe, depending what we have in the kitchen.  Once I was missing garlic and jalapeno peppers so I added a package of ranch dressing mix (recommended by my brother, Eddie).  It added a different twist to the taste but not as spicy.  It’s fun to experiment so give it a try and let me know what you create.

Veggie Chili

Veggie Chili
Recipe type: chili
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12+
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder
  • A dash of Cajun, or blackening seasoning (can be omitted, but we like it spicy)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 pack firm tofu, dry with a towel and cube
  • 2 cups fresh onions, finely chopped (approximately 4 medium onions)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, finely diced, seeds removed
  • 2 adobe peppers (the ones in a can), chopped
  • 1 can green chilies
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce (tends to be sweeter)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can white beans or any bean of your choice
  1. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to a stock pot to brown the tofu. Sprinkle with cumin, and chili power. Saute tofu gently so as not to tear the tofu apart. The tofu needs to absorb as much of the seasoning as possible before adding any other ingredients.
  2. When tofu is lightly browned, add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Saute until onions are translucent.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir until paste has dissolved and ingredients are well blended. Allow this to simmer until vegetables are tender, approximately 20 minutes.
  4. Before serving add salt and pepper to satisfy your taste buds. This is where I sprinkle a little Cajun seasoning to appease my Louisiana roots.