lentil minestrone recipe
Photo by April Ashcroft

This is a great recipe when you have an abundance of Swiss chard and beet greens growing in your garden. Served with some hearty whole wheat bread, it makes a great meal for a cool, rainy spring day.

Lentil Minestrone

1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
8 oz. Swiss chard or beet greens, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil
2 cups cooked green lentils
1 cup cooked wheat berries or other cooked grain
4 cups water, veggie, or bean broth, divided (page 52)
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
A dash or two of cayenne pepper
Sea salt

In a large soup pot, cook onion, carrot, celery, and cabbage in 1 cup water, over medium-high heat, stirring often until vegetables are crisp tender. Add greens, garlic, tomatoes, and basil, and cook until all vegetables are tender. Add cooked lentils, grain, and remaining broth. Cook until heated through. Add vinegar, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste.

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April Ashcroft is a nutrition coach and cooking consultant. She has a passion for teaching others how to gain optimal health through plant based nutrition. She began teaching cooking classes in 2004 through the Dixie State College Community Education program. In 2005 she co-founded the Vegetarian Society of Utah and continues to serve on the board of directors. In 2007 she created Health 4 Life Cooking classes and teaches private classes monthly. She is also available to teach for your church, business, or civic group. In 2010 she earned a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University’s Nutrition Fundamentals on-line certification program. Since 2006 she has been a member of Dr.Furhman.com where she keeps up with the most cutting edge un-bias nutritional research and loves to share it with you! In January 2012 she joined the team of providers at The Bridge Health Recovery Center where she teaches the benefits of high nutrient plant based nutrition to help those suffering from chronic illnesses and seeking health through holistic methods.

April has published two cookbooks, Whole Food Goodness and Whole Food American Favorites. Recipes in these two books are 100% vegan and are high in nutrients using only the most wholesome ingredients that you can find at most any grocery store.

She lives in beautiful southwest Utah with my husband Brian and cats Benson and Baxter. She has three daughters and seven grand-kids and loves hiking, biking, swimming, water and snow skiing, and anything that involves being in the great outdoors!