Nourishing winter minestrone soup is chockfull of fiber-rich vegetables and protein-packed legumes for a hearty, one-dish meal.
Homemade Minestrone Soup:
A riff on the classic Italian minestra, this recipe is brimming with winter produce: sweet potatoes, chard, carrots, and onions. Beyond it’s comforting and nourishing nature, I love this soup for its practicality. It’s convenient for make-ahead lunches, or a simple weeknight dinner alongside a salad and fresh bread.
And since all soups and stews are better the next day, leftovers are an absolute dream.
Is Minestrone Soup Healthy?
Let me start by saying that all I’m currently craving (besides Christmas cookies, anything peppermint-mocha, and a vacation) is hearty soups and stews. And luckily, this recipe covers all the basis.
This nutrient-rich soup is packed with SIX different vegetables, plus chickpeas, and herbs. It’s wonderfully warm, comforting, and loaded with nutrients—namely vitamins A, K, and C, plus lycopene and potassium. Additionally, the chickpeas and pasta (I use Banza chickpea pasta shells) add a one-two punch of fiber and protein to keep you full longer. In terms of taste and versatility, Swiss chard is one of my favorite winter greens. Fun fact: The stems AND ribs of chard can add texture and flavor soups and stews. Plus, if you use either rainbow or red chard, the stems add a beautiful pop of color.
If you’re looking to add extra protein to the soup, I recommend diced ham or pancetta (sauté at the start), or shredded rotisserie chicken (stir in at end). 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 success.
And, if you still end up with leftovers, stick them in the freezer and you’re a quick reheat away from pure comfort on your next weeknight in.
More Healthy Soup Recipes to Try:
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, finely chopped
- ¾ cup chopped celery
- 1 bunch red or rainbow chard, stems separated and thinly sliced, greens roughly chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¾ tsp. black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups peeled and cubed sweet potato
- 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 (14.5-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cups water
- 8 thyme sprigs
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 (2-inch) Parmesan rind, plus grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- 4 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, tomatoes, broth, water, thyme, oregano, and Parmesan rind. Simmer, covered, until sweet potato is tender, about 45 minutes.
- Remove thyme stems and cheese rind. Stir in reserved chard greens and pasta. Bring to a boil over high, reduce to medium-high, and cook until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes depending on pasta size. Serve soup with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.