Hearty and Healthy Winter Minestrone Soup


Loaded with fresh seasonal vegetables, white beans and a broth that is so flavorful – a perfect bowl of soup for a cold winter’s night!

INGREDIENTS


• 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
• 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
• 3 stalks celery, chopped
• 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
• 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
• 1 small zucchini, thick sliced and quartered
• 1 medium russet potato, peeled and cubed or 2 cups cooked pasta shells
• 1 bunch of Swiss chard, ribs removed, leaves rough chopped
• 1 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
• 1 tsp. salt, more or less to taste
• 1 tsp. dry oregano
• 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
• 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, including liquid
• 1 (32 oz.) container of vegetable broth – low sodium
• 1 Bay Leaf
• 1 (14.5 oz.) can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
• 1 cup water
• 1 Parmesan rind (1 by 2 inch square)
• 2 tbsp. fresh chopped Italian parsley
• 2 tbsp. fresh chopped basil leaves
• 2 cups cooked pasta (shells, spirals or macaroni)
• *Fresh shaved Parmesan for garnish
• *Fresh chopped Basil for garnish

DIRECTIONS


1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat. Add onion, carrots, bell pepper and celery. Cook, stirring frequently until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

2. Add garlic and sauté stirring until fragrant. Add zucchini, potato and Swiss chard and season with salt, pepper, oregano and Italian seasoning and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Stir in canned diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the greens are wilted and the potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the low sodium vegetable broth, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind and beans to the soup and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

4. Add your favorite pasta to boiling salted water, and stir to ensure pasta does not stick together. Once al dente drain and add to soup, about 5-10 minutes, depending on pasta selection chosen.

5. Add Basil, Italian parsley and cooked pasta. Simmer until soup thickens and heats through. Discard the bay leaf and Parmesan rind, check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with fresh basil and shaved Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Tips


Buy Parmesan sliced directly from the wheel so that it includes the rind. Once your Parmesan is used up, put the rind in a freezer bag and label/date to save for future soups, sauces or stews. You can also substitute Swiss chard for fresh kale (same prep techniques). You can also use fresh spinach. For this green veggie, you will add at the very end, those leaves wilt quickly!