Yield: 10 servings, 2 cups each
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 3/4 hours
To Make Ahead: Prepare through Step 2 and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months; finish Step 3 just before serving.
This vegetable-packed minestrone soup recipe is inspired by a popular Weight Watchers vegetable soup recipe. It makes a big pot of soup, so keep some in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and freeze the rest of the vegetable minestrone soup in single-serve portions. That way you always have an easy, delicious vegetable soup to start your meal or to eat for lunch. Think of this vegetable minestrone recipe as a starting point for other healthy soup variations too: toss in leftover chopped cooked chicken or whole-wheat pasta or brown rice to make it more satisfying.
1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2. 2 cups chopped onions (2 medium)
3. 2 cups chopped celery (4 medium stalks)
4. 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (1 medium)
5. 4 cloves garlic, minced
6. 3 cups chopped cabbage
7. 3 cups chopped cauliflower (about 1/2 medium)
8. 2 cups chopped carrots (4 medium)
9. 2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces, or frozen, thawed
10. 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
11. 2 cups water
12. 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
13. 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
14. 1 15-ounce can kidney or pinto beans, rinsed
15. 1 bay leaf
16. 4 cups chopped fresh spinach or one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
17. 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
18. 10 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven (8-quart or larger) over medium heat. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 13 to 15 minutes. Add cabbage, cauliflower, carrots and green beans; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 10 minutes more.
2. Add broth, water, tomato sauce, tomatoes, beans and bay leaf; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in spinach and simmer for 10 minutes more.
3. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in basil. Top each portion with 1 tablespoon cheese.
Per serving: 169 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 7 g protein; 8 g fiber; 641 mg sodium; 718 mg potassium
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (123% daily value), Vitamin C (87% dv), Folate (23% dv), Potassium (21% dv), Calcium (16% dv)
1 1/2 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 3 vegetable, 1/2 lean meat, 1 fat