We've been having an insane winter. No snow, and crazy temperature fluctuations. On Thursday, I went out to run an errand during lunch and it was 55 degrees. Today, it was 21. Super cold and windy, it was a perfect day for thick, hearty soup. Minestrone is the most ubiquitous Italian soup, there are so many different variations and flavors you can incorporate. Different regions of Italy have different preparations, and many vary seasonally as well. I love minestrone, but I find that in restaurants, it's usually quite salty. My goal with this recipe was to cut back on fat and sodium while adding a ton of protein and fiber.
I decided to make a tasty winter minestrone, that incorporates lots of gorgeous winter produce. Instead of pasta, which can get soggy in soup, I used farro, which has both a ton of fiber and a chewy texture that holds up well in the soup. In addition to farro and beans, I used carrots, turnips, kale and rainbow chard. I used a small amount of smoked bacon to add flavor, but you can omit for a vegetarian version. All and all, this soup takes around an hour to prepare and makes 6-8 servings. I made a huge pot of this to use for multiple lunches and dinners. Because it is packed with protein, fiber and healthy veggies, it is a totally complete meal.
Also: how completely adorable are these soup crocks? My amazing Grandma Jackie sent them to me. They are the perfect serving size and both oven and dishwasher safe. I am so excited to use these for all kinds of soup and stew!
Read more for the full recipe!
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium leek, sliced (white part only)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 oz (1/4 lb) smoked bacon, diced (optional - omit for a vegetarian version)
3 carrots, diced
1 tsp sea salt
1.5 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 cup dry farro
12-16 oz diced or crushed tomatoes
6 cups low sodium veggie broth
2 large sprigs of fresh oregano
1 medium turnip, peeled and chopped into 1" chunks
3 cups lactino kale, washed and chopped into 1" ribbons
3 cups rainbow chard, stems chopped and leaves washed and chopped into 1" ribbons
1 1/2 cups cannelini beans (1 15oz can)
Step by Step Instructions:
1. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, saute onion, leek and garlic in olive on medium heat until soft
2. Add bacon, carrots, and chard stems, saute on medium heat for 5-6 minutes
3. Season with salt and pepper
4. Add farro, tomatoes, veggie broth, and oregano, cover and bring to a boil
5. Reduce heat to med-low and cook for 20 minutes
6. Add turnip, chard, kale and remaining broth
7. Cover and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes
8. Add beans, cover and continue to cook on medium for another 10-15 minutes
9. Serve with parmesan and crusty bread