Minestrone Soup

My body begs for soup in the winter. This veggie packed hearty Italian soup is one of my go to healthy comfort foods. I love chopping the veggies, it’s great therapy! And, the smells that fill my house and kitchen as the soup simmers on the stove or in the crockpot. Aaaah, now that’s a lil bit of heaven. Serve this yummilicious soup with a green salad and a garlic bread for dipping. 

If you’re cooking for just one or two, go ahead and make the full batch of soup. The soup freezes well, for those days when you’re pressed for time. Make this soup your own by adding your fav veggies or beans. Don’t like cannelloni beans, use kidney beans. As you can tell from the recipe, I LOVE garlic! If you don’t, ease up on the garlic madness! 

Peace & Java
Prep Time: 20 min          Cook Time: 60 min            Total Time: 1 hour 20 min              Serving Size: a heaping 1 1/3 cups

Servings: 12                       Difficulty: easy pease        Yield: about 4 quarts, 16 cups       SP: 2
​​



INGREDIENTS:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 bulb fennel, chopped

1 medium potato, chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 cups kale, washed and roughly chopped

1 small yellow squash, chopped

1 small zucchini, chopped

1 cup cut green beans, fresh or frozen, 

1 cup, whole wheat pasta shells, or elbow macaroni

4 cups fat free vegetable both

1 8 oz.  can spicy low sodium vegetable juice

2 14oz. cans diced tomatoes, with basil and oregano with juice

1 can reduced salt cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup basil, roughly chopped

1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

6 roasted garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsps Italians seasoning

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp ground oregano

2 bay leaves

2-3 Parmesan rinds

Freshly grated Parmesan, optional


DIRECTIONS: 

1. In a large heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium low heat. Add the onions and sauté, uncovered until a lil browned, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and fennel to the pan and sauté, 2-3 minutes. Salt and pepper, the veggies and add the garlic and Parmesan rinds to the party, stirring to mix the seasoning with the veggies.

2. Add the bell peppers, potato, red pepper flakes, oregano and bay leaves to the pot and cook 5 minutes.  – At this point, you may transfer the cooked veggies to a crockpot set on low and continue with the recipe. 

3. Add the canned tomatoes with juice, the tomato juice and the broth. Stir to lift any browned bits from the pot. That color is flavor! Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer the soup covered for 20-30 minutes, until the vegges are soft, but still have some bite. No mushy veggie soup here! We are not making baby food. 

4. Stir the green beans, zucchini and squash into the soup. Stir in the beans. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add additional broth if needed for desired consistency. Add the basil, parsley, lemon zest and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. 

4. Serve the soup garnished with 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan for 1 additional SP if you’re counting. 
NOTES, TIPS & TRICKS: 

The pasta will swell as the soup sits and it soaks up the broth. If you don’t like that look or taste, cook the pasta separately and add the pasta portions to the soup as you reheat it.  

I like to vary the types of canned diced tomatoes for this soup. There are brands with onions and garlic. I think I’ve seen red peppers too. I also like to use ones with reduced salt or no salt added if I can find them. 

If fresh herbs aren’t available, or don’t look great at the grocery store, buy frozen herb cubes and use them instead.  

When you buy Parmesan cheese wedges, save the rinds. Toss the rinds in a freezer bag and freeze. Use the rinds to flavor soups and sauces. 

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