Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Real Food: Rustic Tomato Basil Stew

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time eating raw vegetables in the winter (other than juicing them.)  In the summertime, give me a pile of tomatoes, some basil straight from the patch outside my door, and a fork, and I am quite happy.  But today I'm wearing a wool sweater, it's 14 degrees outside, and I want something warm

Canned soups seem like an easy, quick solution for a healthy and hearty lunch in winter.  I don't know if you've ever looked at the label on the back of your favorite canned soup, but nearly all of them are quite unhealthy.  They promise a low calorie, satisfying meal, but even those marketed as "healthy," "low sodium," "natural," or "organic" are typically full of added sugars and sodium, not to  mention a host of other things you don't want to eat.

This recipe is made using Muir Glen Organic No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes.  This is crucial!  I don't know if you've read the labels on the back of your diced tomatoes before, but those are full of sodium too.  Lesson for the day: read labels! You control the salt in this recipe, and trust me, you don't need much.

I "invented" this stew on Monday and have had it for lunch every day this week.  It's really been hitting the spot.  It's hearty, sweet, and savory at the same time.  It's so good.  There is no reason why this recipe can't be multiplied and served to your family for dinner.  If your kids are squeamish about tomatoes, tell them it's "pizza soup" and add a sprinkle of grated Parmesan or mozzarella.  They will probably love it.

Rustic Tomato Basil Stew

Prep Time: 2 min.
Total Time: 10 min.
Serves: 1
Calories: 158

1/2 T EVOO (I like California Olive Ranch)
Dash Sea Salt
1/4 t Red Pepper Flakes
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
(1) 14.5 oz can Muir Glen Organic No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes
Basil to taste, fresh or dried

1. Add EVOO, garlic, salt and pepper flakes to a cold skillet.  Set the burner to medium high heat and stir constantly as it warms.  This allows you to heat the garlic slowly, to avoid scorching.  Stir until the garlic is simmering, fragrant, and deepens in color slightly, about 2 minutes.

2.  Add tomatoes and basil.  Bring to a simmer, stirring often, until the tomatoes cook down a bit and start to thicken, about 5 minutes.

3.  Transfer to a bowl and garnish with Parmesan if desired.

If you try it, let me know what you think!

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