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I frequently get busy and forget to eat a real lunch, which means I end up snacking on whatever is convenient throughout the day. In an effort to combat that bad habit I decided to make up a batch of this soup to have on hand for lunches this week. Now I have something warm, comforting, and healthy at my fingertips!

This recipe came to me via a friend who, as of last week, has run a 1/2 marathon in all 50 states (and several Canadian provinces)! The original recipe was published in Runner’s World Magazine and was presented as a Cassoulet but I love the texture of this soup with all the veggies chopped finely so you get some of everything in every bite. Our family’s version is slightly modified and is actually lower in calories than the original!

Runner’s World Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, (meat removed from casings)
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
2 leeks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium zucchinis, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or 1 med zucchini and 1 med yellow squash)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped or 1 tsp dried.
2 bay leaves
1 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken (low sodium, fat free) or vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Directions

Place carrots and celery in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place in a large bowl and add the zucchini and yellow squash to the food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and add to the bowl with the other veggies.

Cut the green tops and the bottoms off the leeks and discard. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and rinse thoroughly. Chop the leeks into 1 inch pieces, add to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to the bowl of veggies. You should have a happy bowl of veggies that looks like this:Pour one tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking into little pieces as it cooks. Drain the fat and discard. Remove the sausage from saucepan and set aside.

Pour the last tablespoon of olive oil into the saucepan. Add the veggies and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened (5-7 minutes). Add tomatoes, bay leaves, cayenne, parsley and thyme. Bring to a boil then add chicken stock, meat and beans. Return to boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. I had a little help with the stirring this time!This batch is sure to be extra good with such a great sous chef ! And it is:Runner’s World claims this soup makes 4 servings but if that is the case then I can’t eat a full serving! Even with those very generous serving sizes, this soup has only 412 calories and it is packed with vitamins, calcium, and iron. So enjoy this comforting soup guilt free!

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