Nutritionally dense minestrone soup

Written by: Claire Grullemans

Soups are not only great for immune function, but also a healthy alternative to the conventional meat and three veg dinner. A hearty minestrone soup is jam packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, water and fibre. These are all essential ingredients for a healthy body and mind. This soup is particularly good for vegetarians and vegans as traditionally there is no meat in it.

It is said to have originated from Italy, with no set recipe, using ingredients which are fresh and in season. It was eaten by the Romans by necessity as the access to a wide variety of meats and vegetables was limited. From this the ancient Romans noticed its health benefits and it became a staple in their diet.

Minestrone soup contains ingredients that are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, Vitamin E, and lycopene, as well as up to 20g of fibre per serve (2/3rds of your required daily fibre intake). It is almost like a liquid multivitamin supplement.

Minestrone soup (meaning ‘Big Soup’)

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, halved lengthways, thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 Desiree potatoes, chopped
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1.5L water
  • 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
  • 2 small zucchini, finely chopped
  • 100g each peas and baby spinach leaves
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large heavy-based pan over medium-low heat. Cook celery, leek, garlic and carrot, stirring, for 5 minutes.
  2. Add potato, paste, bay leaves, thyme and water, then bring to the boil over high heat. Simmer over medium-low heat, partly covered, for 20 minutes or until potato is tender.
  3. Add beans, zucchini, peas, salt and pepper. Simmer for 6-8 minutes.
  4. Stir in spinach, then divide among warm bowls, season and serve scattered with parsley.

 

So as the thermometer drops below 15 degrees Celsius think about going to your local growers markets and picking up some fresh organic vegetables and herbs to put into your winter soups. Great to have when you’re feeling a little under the weather, or even better to prevent getting sick.