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Healthy Minestrone Soup Recipe

Bob created this soup when he was trying to find something to do with the head of cabbage that found it’s way into our fridge.  It was very hearty and we served it as a main course with crusty Italian garlic bread, and sliced provolone cheese. It can also be served as a warming first course or as a side-dish with meat, in place of salad. It’s a wonderful dish to bring or serve at a pot luck party, especially in winter.

Use Substitutions to Make a Lower-Fat, Vegetarian Minestrone

Cabbage is a nice addition to minestrone. Photo: Hajnalka Ardai

Cabbage is a nice addition to minestrone. Photo: Hajnalka Ardai

The bacon is completely optional, and the chicken stock can be replaced with vegetable stock to make a lower-fat, vegetarian meal. The parmesan cheese can be eliminated without compromising taste, and some salt can be added if desired.

Ingredients for Minestrone Soup Recipe

  • 1 strip of bacon (optional)
  • 2 TB of olive oil (or 4 TB if not using bacon)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 ½ cups chopped celery
  • 1 ½ cups chopped carrots
  • 1 ½ cups white wine
  • 1 28 oz.can peeled plum tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken stock (or substitute same amount of vegetable stock)
  • 2 ½ cups chopped potatoes with the skin on
  • 1 large green zucchini, chopped, or substitute or mix with yellow squash
  • ¼ head of cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 can dark kidney beans
  • 1 ts dried basil
  • 1 ts dried oregano
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup orzo or other small pasta such as acini pepe
  • grated parmesan cheese

How to Make Minestrone Soup

  1. If you opt to use the bacon, render it by chopping it into small pieces. Cook it in a six quart soup pot until the fat comes out and the bacon browns. You can leave in the bacon or take out the pieces, leaving only the fat. Then add the olive oil. Remember to add extra olive oil if not using bacon.
  2. Saute the onion, celery and carrots until soft. Take the vegetables out of the pot and set aside. Add the wine and deglaze the pot for about 3 minutes on high heat. Make sure to scrape everything off the bottom of the pot. Add the plum tomatoes, mashing them up in the pot with a masher as you go. Stir.
  3. Add the chicken stock and put the vegetables back in the pot along with the potatoes, zucchini, cabbage and the kidney beans, basil and oregano. Stir well. Cook for 45 minutes on a slow simmer, uncovered, to reduce it. Then add the parsley and pasta. Cook for another ten minutes, until pasta is done.
  4. Put in a bowl and sprinkle with the grated parmesan cheese. For cheese lovers, add a good amount of parmesan cheese to their serving and put it in the microwave for 20 or 30 seconds to melt the cheese a bit. Add fresh parsley for garnish.

©Lisa C. DeLuca, all rights reserved.  It is a violation of copyright law to reproduce this work on the web or for business use without permission from the author. This article was originally published on the web January 5, 2009. Please contact the author with your reprint request.

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