Easy minestrone soup is packed with veggies and high in protein: a healthy and satisfying dinner!
If you get my emails (and if you don’t, GET ON IT!), then you know I’ve been a little beyond excited about soup season. Last week it finally cooled down in LA, just in time for November comfort food. My body is feeling ready for the coziness that traditional comfort food brings, and I plan on sharing a few classics with a nutritious twist throughout the winter season. If you have any favorite classic comfort foods, let me know in the comments or shoot me an email, I’d love to try to make yours!
Comfort food has a bit of a bad reputation for being really high in fat and calories, but it doesn’t have to be over the top.
In fact, I think some of our favorite comfort foods can easily be healthier, or as my mom calls it, nutrified! I love the concept, because these foods truly bring us comfort and a feeling of coziness. And with a few small tweaks – and really it’s more about adding nutrition IN, rather than removing fat/calories/etc. – you can and should feel really good about serving comfort food!
Take this easy minestrone soup for example. It’s packed with:
- produce: carrots, onion, celery, zucchini, and tomato sauce
- protein and fiber: two cans of beans
- concentrated flavor: a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of parmesan
Serve with some warm bread or a salad if your’e feeling extra-virtuous but either way, dinner is done in about 30 minutes! A few minutes of prep and chopping, a little sautéing, and a little time to simmer on the stove, a healthy, warm dinner is ready. And the leftovers make a healthy lunch that takes no prep at all – isn’t that the best part of soups?
Speaking of leftovers for lunch, I have some news! I’ve left my full-time job and am now a WAHM (work-at-home-mom) which means I sneak bits of freelance work into the day when I can. Sometimes it starts early before the sun is up, sometimes during nap time, sometimes after everyone is in bed. I’m still trying to figure out a good rhythm, and balance – I hope it’s possible! What does this have to do with leftovers for lunch? Well, when I was working full-time, I always dreamed about the lunches I would make if I worked at home. (Fried eggs, elaborate salads, etc.) But now that I work at home, I realize that I need lunches ready-to-go so that I don’t waste any time making lunch, when I could be working. Leftovers are now my favorite.
So soups will be on a steady rotation in our house this winter. In this easy minestrone soup, I used a jar of marinara sauce instead of the traditional canned tomatoes (which is totally something I saw on a tv commercial!). This helps add a deeper, more developed flavor in less time and it also creates a smooth base for the soup instead of a brothy-base with tomato chunks, which I am totally loving in this minestrone.
I left the pasta out, which is traditional in minestrone not to cut carbs, but to choose my carbs more wisely. And I don’t mean this in a “which carb is healthier” type of way, but which carb do I enjoy more with this soup…and a warm, crusty loaf of bread won hands down.
When the soup is done simmering and ready to serve, give it a taste. Does it need more salt? Some pepper? A little heat? Adjust the seasonings and then give it a good sprinkle of parmesan and drizzle of olive oil. It’s ready for your spoon!
Easy Minestrone Soup is packed with vegetables and protein!
- 1/2 white onion
- 3 stalks celery
- 3 medium carrots
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1-15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1-15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 32 oz chicken or vegetable broth
- 26 oz jar of marinara sauce
- salt and pepper
- olive oil, parmesan cheese
- Clean and prepare vegetables.
- Chop onion. (about 1 cup chopped onion)
- Cut celery lengthwise and then chop. (about 1 cup chopped celery)
- Cut carrots lengthwise and then chop. (about 1 cup chopped carrots)
- Cut zucchini in quarters lengthwise and then chop. (about 2 cups chopped zucchini)
- Mince garlic.
- Heat oil in large stock pot. When hot add onion, celery, carrots and garlic.
- Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add zucchini to pan and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add beans, broth, and marinara to pot and stir together.
- Bring to a boil, and lower heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Nutrition facts don’t include toppings.
If you wanted to save some extra time, you could also buy the pre-packaged containers of mirepoix: onion, celery, carrot. Use 3 cups total.