SMOKED SAUSAGE MINESTRONE
MAKES 12 SERVINGS TOTAL TIME 6½ HOURS 450 g smoked sausage (such as kielbasa) 1½ cups chopped carrots 1½ cups chopped celery 1 onion, diced 8 sprigs fresh parsley 2 bay leaves 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning ½ tsp pepper 4 cups sodium-reduced chicken broth 2 cups water 1 sweet red pepper, diced 1 cup frozen peas 1 cup tubetti pasta or orzo ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional) In slow cooker, combine sausage, carrots, celery, onion, parsley sprigs, bay leaves, Italian seasoning, pepper, broth and water; cover and cook on low until vegetables are tender, 6 to 8 hours.
Discard parsley and bay leaves; using slotted spoon, transfer sausage to cutting board. Add red pepper, peas and pasta to slow cooker; cover and cook on high until red pepper is tender and pasta is al dente, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice sausage crosswise into rounds; return to slow cooker. Ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle with chopped parsley (if using). Serve with crusty bread or cheesy crostini. PER SERVING about 336 cal, 25 g pro, 10 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 37 g carb (4 g dietary fibre, 8 g sugar), 51 mg chol, 744 mg sodium, 593 mg potassium. % RDI: 6% calcium, 14% iron, 70% vit A, 125% vit C, 18% folate.