Look on the menu of most Italian restaurants and you’ll see this classic Italian soup. My recipe is so hearty and satisfying, it makes for a wonderful, soup meal. Each huge, 2 cup serving has only 223 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 3 Blue WW Freestyle SmartPoints, and 7 Green. So fiber-rich, each serving has 10 grams of fiber!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: LOW heat for 6 to 7 hours or HIGH heat for 3-3½ hours
2½ cups onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 tablespoon garlic cloves, minced
1 (32 oz) container reduced-sodium beef broth, chicken broth, or vegetable broth
1 (24 oz) jar Barilla pasta sauce or your favorite. see shopping tips
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans or white kidney beans, (cannellini) rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
2 bay leaves
1½ teaspoons Italian seasonings
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 Parmesan cheese rind, see food facts below
2½ cups zucchini, diced
4 cups fresh spinach
2 cups cooked small whole wheat or whole grain pasta elbows (al dente) (1 cup uncooked pasta)
Parmesan cheese, grated for topping, optional
1. In a microwave-safe bowl, add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook for 3 minutes to soften.
2. Add to crockpot, cooked onions, carrots, celery, garlic, broth, pasta sauce, beans, drained tomatoes, bay leaves, Italian seasonings, and pepper. Mix well. Drop-in Parmesan cheese rind. Cover and cook on LOW heat a total of 6 to 7 hours or cook on HIGH heat for a total of 3-3½ hours. Time varies depending on your crock-pot. Mine cooked on high heat for 3 hours.
3. Note: One hour before the soup is done, add zucchini. Cover and cook on high heat for the last hour. Or, cooked chopped zucchini in microwave for 2-3 minutes and add to soup with cooked pasta and spinach and continue to cook 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and parmesan rind. Adjust seasonings, if desired.
4. To serve: Add 2 cups of soup to each bowl and top with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
5. This soup freezes great!
Makes 12 cups total. Each serving, 2 cups
Minestrone (“big soup”) is a thick vegetable soup that usually contains pasta and sometimes peas or beans. It’s usually topped generously with grated Parmesan cheese.
An old Italian secret is to add a Parmesan rind to the soup while cooking. It creates a wonderful flavor. Once cooked you remove it from the crock-pot.
Serve with a side salad and some bread, if desired. It’s fun to serve this soup with my skinny Caesar salad on a stick. It creates a delicious, easy meal: Super Low Calorie Caesar Salad on a Stick
WW Freestyle SmartPoints 3-Blue
WW SmartPoints 7-Green
WW POINTS PLUS 5
|SKINNY FACTS: for 1 serving (2 cups) (w/out cheese on top)
223 calories, 2g fat, 0g sat.fat, 0mg chol, 11g prot, 43g carbs, 10g fiber, 980mg sod, 11g sugar
|FACTS: for Freestyle SmartPoints
92 calories, 0g sat. fat, 3g protein, 5g sugar