Nourishing winter minestrone soup is chockfull of fiber-rich vegetables and protein-packed legumes for a hearty, one-dish meal.A riff on the classic Italian minestra, this recipe is brimming with winter-friendly produce: sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, carrots, and onions. Beyond it’s comforting and nourishing nature, I love this soup for its practicality, since it’s convenient for make-ahead lunches or a simple weeknight dinner served with a green salad and some crusty bread.
And since all soups and stews are better the next day after the flavors have a chance to marry and mingle, leftovers are an absolute dream.All I’ve been craving lately (besides Christmas cookies, anything peppermint-mocha, and a vacation) is broth-y soups, hearty stews, and pasta. And luckily, this recipe covers all three bases.
Bursting with the goodness of six vegetables, chickpeas, fresh herbs, and a liberal hit of Parmesan, it’s wonderfully warm, comforting, and loaded with nutrients—namely vitamins A, K, and C, as well as lycopene and potassium. Plus, the chickpeas and pasta (I used Banza chickpea pasta shells) add a one-two punch of fiber and protein to help you keep you full longer. In terms of taste and versatility, Swiss chard is one of my favorites in the winter greens game. The stems and ribs from chard add both texture and a layer of flavor to the soup. Plus, if you use either rainbow or red chard, the sautéed stems add a beautiful pop of color.
If you’re looking to add any meaty additions to the soup, I’d recommend either sautéing pancetta at the very start, or stirring in shredded rotisserie chicken after the soup has cooked. Make a big batch over the weekend and you’ve got lunch prepared for the week. In fact, it’s proven to banish the Sunday scaries while setting you up for a week of slaying the soup game.
And if you still end up with leftovers, stick them in the freezer and you’re a quick reheat away from a comforting bowl of bliss your next weeknight in. Cheers!
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- ¾ cup chopped celery
- 1 bunch red or rainbow chard, stems separated and thinly sliced, greens roughly chopped
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups total)
- 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 (14.5-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 qt. lower-sodium vegetable broth
- 5 cups water
- 8 thyme sprigs
- 1 (2-inch) Parmesan rind, plus ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 6 oz. dry pasta (either small shells or ditalini)
- Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onion, carrots, celery, and chopped stems of chard (reserve greens); cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring often, until vegetables start to soften. Stir in salt, pepper, garlic, and sweet potato; cook 2 minutes, stirring often. Add chickpeas, diced tomatoes, broth, water, thyme, and Parmesan rind. Simmer, covered, 50 to 60 minutes, until sweet potato is tender.
- Remove bare thyme stems and cheese rind. Stir in reserved chard greens; cook 2 minutes, until wilted. Add pasta and bring soup to a boil. Cook, uncovered, until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes depending on pasta size. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.