Winter Minestrone Soup
Updated: Mar 7
The skies are getting clearer here in Minnesota and my fingers are crossed for an early spring, but we are still in the thick of winter in February with negative temperatures and frequent snowfalls. To me, when it's this cold out, I want something hearty, soothing, and comforting, and this soul warming bowl of minestrone soup checks all the boxes. Savory and rich broth, loads of delicious veggies, and crispy bacon make this simple soup perfect for those cold winter nights.
My family loves this soup and with all the colorful veggies, protein rich beans, and nutrient dense bone broth. This soup does not need a lot of time to cook, so it is just what you need on those busy weeknights and when served with some homemade crusty bread, your family will be going back for seconds. For a Paleo and Whole30 option, just omit the beans and add in an additional potato or whatever compliant veggie you like!
Why Vegetables are So Good For You!
One thing I always recommend to my clients is to "eat the rainbow" every week! The reason I insist on this is because our vegetables and fruits contain the most bioavialabe form of our nutrients and they are full of essential macronutrients, fiber, and water. Eating the rainbow nourishes and fuels your body, supports healthy digestion, and is a major part in a whole food based way of eating (WOE)
Let's breakdown the veggies in this amazing soup:
Onions: Besides having vitamins, minerals, and fiber, onions contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Quercetin is an antioxidant that reduces oxidation, fight inflammation, and supports a healthy immune system . Onions are also rich in organic sulphur compounds (this is what gives it its strong and pungent odor) which supports healthy cholesterol.
Carrots: Rich in nutrients and high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that supports healthy vision, and overall health.
Celery: In my opinion, a super food. Celery has vitamins, minerals, loads of fiber and water, antioxidants, and naturally occurring salt that supports muscle contraction, healthy nervous system function, and proper hydration .
Swiss Chard: Part of the beet family, Swiss chard is super nutrient dense with vitamins A, C, E, B9, and K, and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous.
Tomato: We all know tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful and beneficial antioxidant. But did you know that tomatoes are rich in other compounds that support health?
Beta carotene: An antioxidant that supports healthy vision, and overall health.
Chlorogenic acid: An antioxidant that supports healthy blood pressure.
Naringenin. A flavonoid found in the skin of the tomato that may lower inflammation .
Garlic: Another super food that supports a healthy immune system, healthy blood pressure, healthy cholesterol, and detoxification.
So grab some nutrient packed veggies and let's get cooking!
Winter Minestrone Soup Ingredients
8oz No Sugar Added Bacon or Pancetta, diced
1 Yellow Onion, diced
4 oz Cremini or Button Mushrooms, sliced
2 Ribs Celery, diced
1-2 Carrots, diced
1/2 bunch Swiss Chard, roughly chopped
1 Red Potato, unpeeled, diced
2-3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
1-2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Dried Basil
14 oz can Unsalted Diced Tomatoes
14 oz can Cannelloni Beans or 14 oz can Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed*
28-32 oz Unsalted Chicken Bone Broth
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1-2 tsp Fine Sea Salt as needed
*Paleo and Whole30: omit the beans and add another potato or compliant vegetable
How to Make Winter Minestrone Soup
1. Dice and mince all of the veggies and set aside.
2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, fry the bacon or pancetta over medium heat until done to preference. Turn off the heat and remove the bacon from the pot with a slotted spoon, drain on a paper towel. Reserve 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat in the pot.
3. Turn the heat to medium and sauté the onion and bay leaves for 3-5 mins, until softened but not browned. If your onion starts to brown or burn turn the heat down.
4. Add the carrot, potatoes and tomato paste, stirring to combine and cook 60-seconds.
5. Add the garlic and sauté another 30-seconds.
6. Add the canned tomatoes, bone broth, beans, black pepper, basil, and rosemary. Turn heat up to medium high and bring the soup to a boil.
7. Add the celery and mushrooms, cover and reduce heat to medium-low heat and simmer for 15 minutes until root veggies are cooked through.
8. Add the Swiss chard, stir well and cook for another 1-2 minutes until softened.
9. Serve the soup into your bowls, top with the fried bacon, fresh parsley and grated Parmesan.
You can always stir the bacon back into the soup, however, I like the crispy texture it has when you add it last minute.
Q: What if I can't find Swiss chard?
A: You can substitute in beet greens, spinach, kale into this recipe. If you use the kale, add it when you add the celery and mushrooms since it is more fibrous.
Q: Can I freeze this?
A: Absolutely! It's a great meal to batch cook and freeze for a later use. Cool completely and store in freezer safe containers up to 4-weeks.
Q: Can I make this vegetarian or vegan?
A: Yes you can! Omit the bacon, use avocado oil or EVOO for sautéing the vegges and use a veggie broth instead of chicken.
If you like this recipe, check these out!
Chicken Bone Broth: Simple and nutritious bone broth that takes about three hours in the instant pot, and adds a ton of flavor to your dishes, or tastes great for sipping!
Sprouted Lentil Soup: Tender lentils, loads of veggies, and rich bone broth beautifully combine for a delicious mouthful of hearty, comforting, and savory soup.
Paleo Zuppa Toscana: Creamy rich broth, tender potatoes and hearty kale in a beautiful combination of comfort and warmth.
I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does. - Amy