Soup is warm and comforting, delicious, nutritious, and filling. And I’m not talking about the canned kind, which is basically salt water chock full of bad fat and mushy veggies. I am referring to homemade soup, an inexpensive and incredibly tasty way to add healthy legumes, vegetables, grains, and extra-virgin olive oil to your day. Soup has been proven to help with weight control by curbing your appetite and helping you to slow down at the main meal.
Here is one of my favorite winter soups: minestrone. A riff on the classic Italian minestra, this soup is brimming with fiber-rich ingredients such as kale, carrots, beans, and onions. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, namely vitamins A, K, and C, plus lycopene and potassium. Minestrone is a plant-based superfood with wholesome ingredients and versatility. There are really no rules when it comes to making minestrone soup. You can use whatever veggies you have on hand, add some beans and pasta, and just let it simmer away. Minestrone is comforting, nourishing, and simple to make. To create a weeknight dinner, add a salad, a crusty loaf of whole-grain bread, and a glass of wine.
This winter, ladle up a hot and savory bowl of soup, and enjoy one of the many culinary pleasures of the season. It’s guaranteed to warm your heart and soul on a cold winter’s night.
Dr. Janet’s Minestrone Soup
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium zucchini, cut into small pieces
- 3 carrots, cut into small pieces
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 cups kale, chopped, stems removed
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes flavored with basil, garlic, and oregano
- 2 cups water
- 1 box (32 fluid ounces) vegetable broth
- 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup uncooked orzo
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 package (9 ounces) Veggie Patch meatless meatballs (found in the organic produce section of some supermarkets)
- Asiago cheese, grated, optional
Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the zucchini, carrots, onion, and garlic. Sauté over high heat until the onion is transparent. Add the kale and sauté until wilted. Reduce heat to medium. Add the tomatoes, water, broth, and beans. Simmer until the carrots are cooked, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in a separate pot. After 20 minutes, add the cooked orzo to the soup. Add in the salt, pepper, and meatballs and simmer a few more minutes until the meatballs are hot. Pour into bowls and sprinkle with cheese.
Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1⁄12th of recipe, 323 grams or ~ 1½ cups soup)
Nutrition per serving (approximately 1½ cups): Calories: 211, Fat: 5 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 100 mg, Carbohydrate: 25 g, Dietary Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 17 g