One of the great discoveries in my adult life was figuring out that minestrone soup doesn’t have to come from a can (and shouldn’t!). Fresh minestrone is so easy to make and so full of healthy goodness. My version includes cannellini beans (a great source of fiber), a little bit of red wine (antioxidants!), and fresh vegetables like carrots, zucchini, and a big handful of green leafies. I use ditalini, but any small pasta will do. In fact, you can easily modify the recipe and swap out the beans, pasta, and veggies for whatever you have on hand.
If you’re trying to switch to a plant-based diet, this is an easy recipe for your Meatless Mondays. My version is vegetarian – to make it vegan, simply skip the grated Parmesan garnish. You won’t even miss it!
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
- 1/3 cup celery, finely diced
- 1/2 cup leek (white part only), very thinly sliced
- 1 T minced garlic
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
- 2 c vegetable broth
- 1 T Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Dash pepper
- Dash red pepper flakes
- 2 cans cannellini beans (14 oz each), drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 c red wine
- 1/2 c ditalini or other small pasta
- 2 c spinach, arugula, or other greens
- 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
- Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
In a large pot, saute the onion, carrots, celery, leek, and garlic in olive oil until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, broth, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
In blender, combine one can of beans (already drained and rinsed) with 1/2 cup water until smooth.
Add blended beans, along with the other can of whole beans, red wine, and ditalini to the soup. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
Add greens and zucchini. Cook uncovered for an additional 5 minutes.
Serve. Can top with grated Parmesan if desired (or skip this to make the soup vegan).
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