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Healthy Minestrone Soup

Healthy Minestrone Soup is made with quinoa instead of pasta. It's loaded with good-for-you veggies and a delicious seasoned broth.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Healthy Minestrone Soup
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 242kcal
Cost $8.35

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup EACH: diced carrots, diced yellow onion, diced celery (~2 large carrots, 3 celery stalks, and 1 small onion)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic (~4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: dried thyme, dried oregano, fine sea salt, freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces EACH) fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I love San Marzano or Muir Glen)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (I recommend Swanson)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup tri-colored quinoa (Note 1)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) Great Northern white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup diced zucchini (Note 2)
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped baby spinach
  • Finishing touches: 1 more tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh parsley (optional)

Instructions

  • VEGGIES: Add the 3 tablespoons olive oil to a large cast iron pot. Heat to medium and once oil is hot, add the 1 cup diced carrots, 1 cup diced celery, 1 cup diced onion, and heaping 1 tablespoon minced garlic. Add a tiny pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until veggies are tender, about 7-9 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and stir for another 1 minute. Add in the 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper, and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Cook and stir until fragrant, about another 30 seconds.
  • SIMMER: Add both cans of undrained, fire-roasted diced tomatoes and 6 cups vegetable stock. Add the 2 bay leaves and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, covered most of the way with a lid (leave a 1 inch gap for the steam to escape).
  • QUINOA: Remove the lid entirely and add in the rinsed quinoa. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes over low heat (soup should be maintaining a simmer, but not boiling).
  • REST OF THE VEGGIES: After 15 minutes, add in the 1 can of drained and rinsed white beans, 1 cup frozen corn, 1/2 cup frozen beans and 1/2 cup diced zucchini. Stir and cook for 5 more minutes or until quinoa has fully "popped" and the veggies are warmed through. Remove from heat and gently stir in the spinach. The spinach should wilt within a minute or two. Finish the soup with 1 more tablespoon olive oil and 1 more tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Remove the bay leaves and serve.
  • SERVE: Garnish bowls of soup with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
  • STORAGE: Soup will continue to thicken as the quinoa expands. We still think it tastes great, but it does get thicker and thicker as it stands. This soup is best eaten within 2-3 days. It does not freeze well; the soup continues to absorb liquid and gets overly bloated.
  • SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS: Follow step one and then transfer everything from that pot to a 6 quart crockpot. Add in the diced tomatoes, stock, rinsed quinoa, drained and rinsed white beans, zucchini, frozen corn, frozen peas, and bay leaves. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 3-5 hours or until quinoa has popped and veggies are tender. Stir in spinach, olive oil, and lemon juice. Remove bay leaves. Adjust salt and pepper; serve in bowls garnished with fresh parsley and topped with Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Note 1: If the quinoa isn't already rinsed (it will says so on the package), add it to a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water. This removes the saponin coating which can cause quinoa to taste bitter.
Note 2: We like the zucchini crisp tender. If you'd like it totally tender, add it in when you stir in the quinoa.

Nutrition

Serving: 6servings | Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.8g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8.1g | Sodium: 575.7mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7.6g