Hearty classic Italian soup with cannellini beans, whole grain brown rice, seasonal vegetables and fresh herbs. Creamy one-dish meal with no added cream or starch. Light on calories, high in vegetarian protein and hits the spot.
There is no set rules when it comes to minestrone. Can be made with pasta or rice, various seasonal vegetables, contain meat or be purely vegetarian. As you can see I opted out for long grain brown rice instead of whole wheat pasta for health benefits.
I soaked 1 cup of white kidney beans in 3 cups of cold water overnight. Rinsed and drained. White kidney beans a.k.a cannellini beans provide protein and when combined with brown rice comparable to that of meat without high calories and extra fat. The soluble fiber offers heart health benefits & keeps you full longer promoting healthy weight.
If soaking beans is not an option, stock up on canned organic, no salt added, BPA free cannellini beans like Eden Organic. Navy beans are smaller in size white beans that would work too.
The superfood spinach and parsley came from mom’s garden. Full of iron, vitamins A, K, C, E, calcium and cancer fighting abilities. Boy, was it a pleasure to pick fresh veggies from the garden. I didn’t have fresh basil and opted for fresh parsley. Also I prefer freshly shaved Parmigiano Reggiano but mom is old school – she had only grated stuff which didn’t prevent the whole family literally licking the bowls.
Kids loved it. I think it was the creaminess. I had an “Aha” moment that day and ended up pureeing 2 cups of beans and rice from the soup in a Magic Bullet and throwing it back to the pot. Excellent trick I will use from now on. No cream, cheese or flour required.
Just a note, the pot is big. I wanted it that way to have leftovers. Although between 4 adults and 2 kids there wasn’t much left. But feel free to refrigerate the soup for up to 3 days or freeze. Saves time. Enjoy!
- 9 cups chicken broth, low sodium (or 5 cups broth + 4 cups water)
- 1 cup dry white kidney (cannellini) beans, soaked overnight or 1 can (19 oz), rinsed and drained
- 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 cup brown rice, rinsed
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 large carrots, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 2 tsp dry basil
- 1 tsp dry oregano
- 1/2 tsp dry thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 large handfuls of spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- Cooking spray
- Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
- In a large pot, add chicken broth (chicken broth + water) and beans. Bring to a boil on high heat and cook for 45 minutes on low heat. If using canned beans just bring the chicken stock to a boil and proceed to step 2.
- In the meanwhile, preheat medium skillet on medium heat. Spray with cooking spray and saute garlic and onions until golden brown mixing continuously. Careful not to burn. Add carrots and celery, cook for another 5 minutes mixing occasionally.
- Add vegetables from step 2, rice, tomatoes, dry basil+oregano+thyme, canned beans (if using) salt and pepper to a pot, cover and cook on low for 45 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Scoop 2 cups of mostly rice and beans from the pot, process in Magic Bullet or small food processor and return to the pot. This will make the soup creamy. Add spinach, fresh parsley and basil leaves.
- Serve hot with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Asiago cheese and toast.
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving = 2 cups:
Total Fat: 1.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 745.1 mg
Total Carbs: 40.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.8 g
Protein: 13.0 g
WW Points+: 6