Healthy Minestrone Soup
If all dinner recipes were a one-pot dish, I would be in heaven. They simply offer the pleasure of home cooking assembled with little fuss and minimal clean-up. This Healthy Minestrone Soup is one of my favorite one-pot meals of all time! Simple, hearty, loaded with veggies and affordable ingredients. It is also loaded with onions which speaks to my Balkan roots. We love onions & leeks to bulk up our meals! On top of all that, this soup is delicious and nourishing.
What is minestrone soup?
Minestrone is a popular thick and hearty Italian soup, combining vegetables, beans, and small pasta.
This soup dates back to the Roman era. It is only when the Romans reached economic growth that Italians had access to a variety of new vegetables on the market. It was this new mix of vegetables that inspired creative ways of putting food together which started the minestrone craze.
Gathering ingredients from leftover meals, Italian peasants would make this “poor man’s soup” because it was primarily made with leftovers. I just love that! In my culture we also have many recipes that were created by the lower class or “poor people” and are today considered popular or luxury meals.
My take on the Minestrone Soup is made with lentils, black beans, onions, carrots, leek, garlic, potato and broccoli. I love to use vegetable stock in a recipe like this, as well as canned tomatoes and tomato paste to give the soup a really nice base. A few simple seasonings along the way also give the soup great flavour!
One of the best things about minestrone soup is that it can truly be a clean-out-the-fridge recipe. You can replace or add any ingredients based on what you have on hand or what is in season. Traditionally the most common vegetables that are used are the ones below:
- even cheese!
While the ingredients above are common, it doesn’t mean you have to stop there. The more vegetables, the better, with this tasty dish.
Making a great minestrone soup at home
If you’ve been to Italy and had authentic Minestrone soup, then you know that real deal is usually full of body and flavor from tomatoes, herbs, really good olive oil and good quality vegetables.
To make the soup amazing, full of body and flavor you will first of all need a great big pot! Yes, a big pot because you need to fit all of the delicious ingredients in there.
Get a little caramelization – make sure to let your onions and garlic caramelize in some olive oil. Let the onions sweat, soften and caramelize before adding the garlic, carrots and the whole leak.
Be sure to use a good quality vegetable stock because this minestrone soup is worth it! I love vegetable stock. I try and use the best quality one I can find, since preparing my own vegetable stock has not been on my to do list in recent times.
Sweat out the leek – once you have added the whole leek, add some vegetable stock, cover the pot with a lid and let them sweat out for some time before adding in the lentils, beans and broccoli.
Since so much food gets wasted, it is so important to utilize the whole broccoli! While the broccoli florets are tasty and nutritious, so is the broccoli stem. In fact – the broccoli stem is also high in fiber which helps us keep things moving! Chop up the stem into small pieces and throw them in the pot.
If you can, grab chopped tomatoes that are made with garlic and onions. The more onions and garlic, the more flavor! That gives the soup body.
Seasoning is key. Stir in the seasonings at the end and be sure to always taste and adjust everything according to your palette! For the minestrone I love to use Italian seasoning, paprika, parsley, marjoram and of course salt & pepper.
Making the soup ahead
You can absolutely make this Healthy Minestrone Soup ahead of time! I usually prepare a batch like this one day ahead of time and it serves as a dinner meal for at least a few days ahead. This is great if you are not a fan of cooking every single night. You can add some toasted bread or a nice sourdough on the side to switch things up. Also, preparing this dish at least one day ahead allows all of the flavours to set and somehow the taste just gets better!
Storing / Freezing the minestrone soup
Minestrone soup leftovers can be refrigerated for roughly a week. It can be reheated on the stove in a pot over low heat or in the microwave.
This soup can also be frozen and saved for a later time. Simply portion out the soup in freezable containers and freeze them for up to a few months. When you are ready simply thaw the soup and reheat.
One pot meals are a heaven sent! There is something so comforting about a dish filled with healthy and nourishing ingredients. This Healthy Minestrone Soup is a recipe you can prepare ahead of time. It is a simple dish that keeps you organized with at least lunch or dinner already done and dusted. You can adjust the vegetables and still get a delicious, healthy meal.
Did you make this recipe?
Wholesome and nutritious, minestrone soup is a great crowd pleaser. This soup is simple to make and easy to tweak according to the ingredients you have in your home. Please let me know this Healthy Minestrone Soup turns out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram.
|1tbsp olive oil|
|2whole yellow onions (chopped)|
|3cloves garlic (chopped)|
|2 carrots (chopped)|
|1 leek (chopped)|
|1head broccoli (chopped)|
|1large potato (chopped)|
|1tin black beans (rinsed & drained)|
|1tin cooked lentils (rinsed & drained)|
|2liters vegetable stock|
|1tin chopped tomatoes|
|2tbsp tomato paste|
|1tsp Italian seasoning|
|1tsp dried paprika|
|2tsp dried parsley|
|salt & pepper to taste|