The russet colours of autumnal leaves are in their full array, there is a distinct chilly bite to the air, warm fluffy fleece blankets and soft woollen socks are back in action and it’s most definitely soup season again. Is there anything more comforting on a cold autumn evening than a big steaming hot bowl of filling and delicious soup, nope there is nothing I know that can fill that heart-warming role to the same perfection. I have a beautiful chunky minestrone soup recipe for you that won’t even require any bread or other accompaniments as the addition of whole wheat pasta and cannellini beans make it a filling meal all in itself. I had one of those weeks, you know the ones where your nutrition was good(ish) but certainly not perfect and definitely could have used some improvement. So with today being Sunday I decided I would take some action to prepare for next week’s nutrition to be spot on and the best I can possibly make it. The number one secret weapon I have for nutritional perfection at this time of year is filling healthy soup for weekday lunches. If you follow the blog you will be aware of my large extensive archive of healthy soup recipes held therein and here’s another one to add to the growing list for variety is indeed the spice of life. This makes a huge pot which serves around 6 quite generous portions.
The Nutritional Details per Serving are: 161Cals 8g Protein 25g Carbohydrate 2g Fat 2 Smartpoints
1 Large White Onion Diced
2 Carrots Diced
1 Zucchini (Courgette) Diced
2 Stalks Celery Diced
1 Clove of Garlic
400g Tin (240g drained weight) Cannellini Beans drained & rinsed
110g Dried Weight Whole-wheat Spaghetti
2 Tins Plum Tomatoes Chopped
1 Chicken Stock Cube made to 1 Litre Stock
60g Fresh Spinach Leaves
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
½ Tsp Dried Thyme (I happened to have fresh so used that)
Salt & Black Pepper
Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and spray the base with oil. Fry the diced onion for about 5 minutes adding the carrots, zucchini and celery, oregano and thyme, season with salt & black pepper and cook for a further 10 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Crush in the clove of garlic and fry through for 30 seconds or so. Rinse the cannellini beans under cold water in a sieve and add to the pan, stir through gently with a wooden spoon try not to break up the beans too much. I like to chop my plum tomatoes by running a sharp knife through them whilst they’re still in the tins, if you can buy chopped plum tomatoes all the better but do try and use plum they are so much tastier than those watery ordinary chopped tinned tomatoes, they have such a better depth of flavour and are not at all expensive, I buy mine in Aldi. Add them to the pot when they are chopped through & add your litre of stock you made up with boiling water and the chicken stock cube, you can of course use vegetable stock if catering for a vegetarian diet, bring the soup back up to a simmer. Weigh out the dried whole-wheat spaghetti and break it up into small pieces into the soup, you can source gluten free pasta if catering for dietary requirements but I just use the standard whole-wheat. Continue to cook the soup over a medium heat for a further 10 to 12 minutes or until the pasta is cooked to al dente or to your liking, just fish some out & test it near the end of cooking time. Sliced through the spinach leaving it in largish strips and stir it through for the last minute until just wilted. Serve with grated parmesan if desired (you will need to adjust the nutritional info for this it will be extra on your macros or Smartpoints if used) & enjoy!