Growing up, one of my FAVORITE cold weather meals was Minestrone soup!! I remember when I was younger, my grandmother and adopted grandfather would always take me to this Italian restaurant. Gosh, I wish I could remember the name. I vividly remember the way the outside of the restaurant looked and the inside, but I’m drawing a blank on the name. Oh well, it will come to me. We always had Minestrone Soup as an appetizer before the main course!!! Since I a lot of the times enjoy making my favorite childhood meals for dinner, I decided to try and recreate the soup but using clean eating ingredients!! I checked out a bunch of recipes and this is what I ended up with.
I decided to let mine cook and simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes or so yesterday afternoon and it was perfect! I originally planned on sharing this recipe with just my clean eating challengers for the week but I wanted to give you a taste of what’s in store when you participate in one of my group challenges. I love this soup!! It’s so versatile. You can add all types of vegetables and eat it for lunch or for dinner. It’s very easy to make ahead of time when your meal prepping and freeze for later. When considering this as a clean eating soup, I added quinoa, which is new for us in my minestrone recipe. It’s great for providing the body with amino acids.
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced or chopped
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup red onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large can diced tomatoes
- 5 small zucchinis, diced
- 1 cup petite whole green beans (fresh or frozen)
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- Himalayan or Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped
- 2 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves and thyme.
- Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add 10 cups of water, beans, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans and quinoa.
- Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently until quinoa is tender, approximately 20 minutes. (I let mine simmer for 30 minutes and it was perfect.) Remove bay leaves and add salt and pepper.
- Stir in baby spinach and basil into soup just before serving.
- Garnish with approximately 1 Tablespoon of fresh Parmesan.
As I said, 30 minutes on the stove simmering, was perfect!
This will definitely end up on my meal rotation frequently this winter!