RECIPE: Minestrone soup & spinach salad with dried cherries and pecans

(WXYZ) - Vision Health Month

February is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month. More than 2 million Americans, ages 50 and over, have AMD, a 25 percent increase from the last decade. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in those 65 and older. You can reduce your risk for AMD with the following steps recommended by “Prevent Blindness America” (

* Visit an eye doctor regularly

* Stop smoking

* Eat healthy foods, including foods rich in certain antioxidants

* Stay active

* Control the blood pressure

* Protect the eyes from the sun by wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and a brimmed hat

Diet is essential for maintaining the health of your eyes. A diet that is low in saturated fat and rich in antioxidant foods including vitamins C and E, selenium, zinc, and carotenes lutein and zeaxanthin may delay or reduce the severity of AMD. These foods play a key role in keeping your eyes healthy:

* Food sources of vitamins and antioxidants (lutein, zeaxanthin): Carrots, Corn, Kiwi, Pumpkin, Yellow squash, Zucchini squash, Red grapes, Green peas, Cucumber, Butternut squash, Bell pepper, Celery, Cantaloupe, Sweet potatoes, Dried apricots, Tomato products and tomatoes, Dark green leafy vegetables, Spinach, Kale, Turnips, Collard greens.

* Foods rich in Zinc include spinach, nuts, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, beans, lean beef and pork, shellfish (oysters)

* Nuts: contain Omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and copper which play a role in preventing age-related eye diseases. Even just a handful of nuts at two or three times a week can reduce your risk of AMD.


Recipes for Vision Health

Marvelous Minestrone Soup

Serves 8


1 tbsp. Meijer olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, sliced thin

1 cup diced carrots

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (32 oz.) pkg. Meijer Naturals beef stock (or vegetable stock)

1 (15-1/2 oz.) can Bush’s hot chili beans (do not drain liquid)

2 (14 oz.) cans Meijer Naturals Italian seasoned diced stewed tomatoes

1/2 cup uncooked mini sea shell pasta or Orzo pasta

1 small fresh zucchini, sliced

McCormick black pepper to taste


1. Heat oil over medium heat in a stockpot, add onion, celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper; cook until crisp tender (about 4-5 minutes).

2. Add garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes.

3. Stir in broth, bean, and tomatoes and bring to a boil.

4. Add pasta, zucchini and pepper.

5. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 152, Fat 5.5g, Cholesterol 17mg, Sodium 531mg, Carbohydrate 19g, Fiber 4.5g, Protein 7.5g


Spinach Salad with Dried Cherries and Pecans

Serves 4


5 cups Earth Bound® Farm baby spinach

1/2 cup sliced red onion

1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1/3 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)

1 Michigan apple (semi-tart such as Gala, Jonagold, Honeycrisp) thinly sliced (brush with pineapple juice to prevent browning)

Optional garnish: Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Maple-Honey Vinaigrette

1 Tbsp. Meijer Dijon-style mustard

2 Tbsp. Meijer pure maple syrup

1 Tbsp. Meijer honey

2 Tbsp. Meijer extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. Meijer balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

McCormick black pepper to taste


1. Combine spinach, pecans, cherries, red onion and apple in a large salad bowl and set aside.

2. To prepare vinaigrette, whisk together mustard, maple syrup, honey, olive oil, vinegar, salt and black pepper to taste in a small mixing bowl until well combined and smooth.

3. Just before serving, combine vinaigrette and salad, toss and serve immediately. Garnish with gorgonzola cheese crumbles if desired.

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 245, Fat 12g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium, 237mg, Carbohydrate 33g, Fiber 4g, Protein 3g.

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