Chilly winter nights require steaming hot bowls of soup; it’s science! Packed with heart-healthy vegetables and beans, hearty minestrone soup is easy to throw together, low in sodium, and it will fill you up while it warms you up.

This is a great recipe for using up vegetable odds and ends that may be lingering in your fridge. Leftover green beans? Toss them in the pot. Swiss chard, kale and cabbage are excellent substitutes for baby spinach — just be sure to increase the cooking time of your greens so they have enough time to become tender.


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled
2 celery stalks
1 small zucchini
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 14.5 oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 32 oz carton (4 cups) no-salt-added chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups of water
2 15 oz cans no salt added kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup small pasta (ditallini, orzo, elbow or mini shells), uncooked
2 packed cups of baby spinach (cabbage, Swiss chard and kale are great substitutes)
Optional, chopped Italian parsley
Optional, grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Quarter carrots and zucchini lengthwise and slice into bite-sized pieces. Cut celery in half lengthwise and slice into bite-sized half moons.

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until softened, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional minute.

  1. Add basil, oregano, carrots and celery to the pot and stir to combine. Stir in canned tomatoes with their liquid, broth and water. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are just tender, 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add zucchini and rinsed beans to the pot. Bring to soup back to a simmer and continue to cook until zucchini is tender and beans are hot, about 15 minutes.

  1. While soup is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside until soup is ready.

  1. Stir cooked pasta and spinach into soup and simmer until heated through and spinach is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot. If desired, garnish with chopped parsley and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6-8. Makes 12 cups.


Nutrition per cup.

Calories 127 Total Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat 0 g Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg Sodium 46 mg
Potassium 453 mg Total Carbohydrate 23 g
Dietary Fiber 8 g Sugars 3 g
Protein 7 g