This Minestrone Soup is loaded with kidney beans, fresh veggies and shells, making it a balanced and delicious meal!
My absolute favourite soup since I was a kid is minestrone. You know the one that comes in a yellow can? I have always thought it was the absolute best canned soup and I often bought it in university as a cheap, healthy meal to have on hand. One of my very first ideas for this blog was to recreate that exact soup from scratch.
By no means do I think there is anything wrong with canned soup, especially if it has some protein and fibre in it. Canned soup is typically higher in sodium than soup made from home, but I also think it can make for a very cost-effective, well-balanced meal. The benefit of cooking from home is that you can control the amount of sodium and season it exactly to your liking. Cooking more often is actually a component of newest Canada’s Food Guide, which came out in 2019.
Minestrone Soup Components
- Carrots – high in vitamin A* and a source of fibre
- Potatoes – a good source vitamin C, B6 and potassium
- Tomatoes – also contains vitamin C
- Kidney beans – wonderful source of protein, fibre, potassium and iron
- Green beans – for vitamin C and fibre
- Kale – extremely high in both vitamin A and vitamin C
- Zucchini – there’s also some vitamin C here
*If you’re curious about vitamin A, I did a lil’ deep dive in my Pumpkin Spice Muffin Recipe.
What about White Pasta?
Like canned soup, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating white pasta. Like, hello? Have you had good pasta before? It’s delicious! Also, people (especially on the internet) like to act like white pasta is the devil’s dish. In reality, it contains a bit of fibre and protein, as is usually enriched with nutrients like iron, folate, vitamin B1 and B3. Should your sources of carbohydrates come from a variety of sources instead of just pasta? Absolutely!
Can You Make Nutrition Swaps?
I also think it’s important to note that you can totally sub in whole wheat pasta or a higher protein pasta made of lentils or chickpeas. I actually think this would work really well in this recipe since the pasta isn’t really the star of the show. Personally, I’m not crazy about whole wheat pasta. Something about the texture just doesn’t do it for me, so I rarely use it. That’s the thing about nutrition swaps. If it is something you enjoy, go for it! But don’t force yourself if it doesn’t tickle your fancy. For example, I love switching out brown rice for white! I don’t find it takes away from the meal so it’s an easy way to get some extra fibre in!
Veggie-Loaded Minestrone Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (156 ml) tomato paste
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 2 small white potatoes, diced
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 3 cups water
- 1 parmesan rind (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups pasta shells, uncooked
- 1 can (19 oz.) kidney beans
- 1 cup frozen green beans
- 1 1/2 cups kale, chopped
- 1 cup zucchini
- Heat oil in large pot
- Add onion and cook until it becomes translucent, about 1-2 minutes
- Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute
- Add carrots and potatoes and cook until they soften slightly, 3-4 minutes
- Add basil, oregano and parsley
- Add tomatoes, vegetable broth and water
- Add parmesan rind and season with salt and pepper if needed
- Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes
- Add in shells and cook for al dente time on package
- Halfway through cooking shells, add in beans, kale, green beans and zucchini
- Top with shredded parmesan and enjoy!