Lunch and Dinner · Soups

Hearty Italian Minestrone Soup

Happy Sunday everyone!

Yesterday Hunter and I went on our Saturday morning hike at our favorite state park and boy was it chilly! The weather in New England has been so so odd lately, it sure hasn’t felt like winter…I can see all of my (dead) grass! I’m surely missing the snow as it feels wrong we don’t have any.

So after our chilly hike, I headed to the grocery store for our weekly shopping and knew I wanted to make a hearty soup! I wasn’t feeling tomato or butternut apple and I really don’t care for chicken noodle but I remembered when Jon and I went to Olive Garden earlier this month, I ordered the minestrone and viola, that is what I wanted today.

Now this isn’t Olive Garden’s recipe..pretty sure that’s kept secret, but it is filling and delicious! It makes A LOT, so feel free to cut the recipe in half if you choose! It ended up making 12; 1 cup servings–but the calories and fat are relatively low I ended up portioning out 2 cups per serving. A 2 cup serving gave 17 grams of fiber!! Happy, healthy digestive system for the win!

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Just look how beautiful it looks, trust me it tastes even better!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 small white onion minced
  • 1 small to medium sized zucchini shredded
  • 1⁄2 cup frozen cut green beans
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced- (I used the garlic in a jar, much easier-2 tsp)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth- I always try to buy reduced sodium, that way I can control the salt
  • 1-15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-15 ounce can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 -14 ounce can diced tomatoes, juices and all-don’t drain!
  • 1⁄2 cup carrot shredded
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp salt (or season to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper (or season to taste)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1⁄2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup red wine ( I used a dry table red)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup medium shell whole wheat pasta
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

How to make it:

  1. In a soup pot, on medium heat, saute the onion in the oil until translucent and starting to caramelize.
  2. Add in green beans and zucchini, continue to saute for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add in the vegetable broth and tomatoes (liquid too!), beans, carrots, water and spices-except salt. Salt toughens the beans if added too early.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add spinach and uncooked pasta to the pan and cook for an additional 20 minutes – until noodles are soft but not mush! Half way through last 20 minute simmer add in the wine, Parmesan cheese and salt.
  6. Tastes great right after it’s prepared and even better after getting to mingle for a few hours.

Serve with a piece of good crusty bread and a sprinkle of more Parmesan if you wish!

Hope you enjoy, we sure did!

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