Originally posted May 27, 2014. Updated June 2015.
When I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is spend hours making dinner. If your family is anything like mine, by 5:30 p.m. we’re hungry and on the fast-track to grumpy (or hungry!) and something has got to hit the table quickly before we make each other completely miserable! My quick and easy minestrone soup may appear complicated because of its lengthy ingredient list, but it includes a combination of staple fresh ingredients, a few standard pantry items and a flavorful blend of dried herbs. Better tasting and a million times more nutritious than ANY canned version out there, this delicious, beautiful and healthy soup can be prepared in about 20 minutes. Serve it with a side of garlic toast and it’s pretty much heavenly (because who doesn’t love dipping a slice of crusty bread into their soup?!). If you’re following a vegetarian diet or working towards eliminating animal products from your meals, simply omit the Parmesan cheese and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and voilà, you’ve got yourself a delicious and satisfying vegetarian soup!
In my practice I find that many people feel it is a major challenge to boost their daily intake of vegetables. If this sounds like you, try this recipe and keep it on-hand! Each serving of soup provides a minimum of one serving of vegetables and delivers a healthy dose of satisfying fiber (great for blood sugar, weight and cholesterol management) and B-vitamins, thanks to the beans and whole grain pasta. This is also a great dish to serve to kids because it presents a variety of vegetables in a single, colorful and delicious dish.
If you’re wondering how many servings of vegetables are recommended for optimal health, click on this simple guide from the USDA and ChooseMyPlate.gov. I love how it clearly lays out the daily and weekly servings by age and gender; in general, it’s recommended that adult men and women consume a minimum of two to three cups of vegetables per day. If you follow the MyPlate model and cook recipes like my Quick Minestrone Soup (!), you’ll have no problem meeting your daily and weekly goals!
So get out your soup pot, roll up your sleeves and get cooking. Your tastebuds and your health will thank you for it!
Quick Minestrone Soup
Time: 20 minutes
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 cups mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 pound green beans, rinsed, trimmed and cut into 1-to-2 inch pieces (about1 1/2 cups)
- 1, 15.5 ounce can low-sodium garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1, 15-ounce can Italian-style diced tomatoes
- 1, 32-ounce box of low sodium chicken broth (can sub. vegetable broth)
- 1/2 cup whole wheat medium shell pasta
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed in the palm of your hand
- 1/2 teaspoon whole dried oregano, smashed between the palms of your hands
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrots. Stir and heat vegetables until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add mushrooms, garlic and green beans to the pot. Stir to combine with other vegetables and heat until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients, except for Parmesan cheese. Bring soup to a boil.
- Lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with approximately one teaspoon of grated cheese
Nutrition Facts per Serving:
Calories: 180, Total Fat: 3 g, Saturated Fat: 0.5 g, TransFat: 0, Soduim: 270 mg,, Total Carbohydrate: 30 g, Dietary Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 9 g, Vitamin A: 50% DV (2563 IU), Calcium: 10% DV (104 mg), Vitamin C: 35% DV (20mg), Iron: 15% (2.28mg), Folate: 23 mcg, Potassium: 414 mg