Minestrone makes a delicious meal in one pot. In Italy there are many kinds of minestrone soup. This version uses kale, a highly nutritious green leafy vegetable. Cabbage, spinach, or Swiss chard would also be good choices of greens in this soup.
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
⅛ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried basil
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 (15-ounce) can white beans (navy, cannellini, or kidney beans)
1 cup frozen Italian green beans
¾ cup chopped kale
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
¾ cup small whole wheat pasta, cooked
Shredded Parmesan cheese for topping
Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes over medium high heat until softened. Add the celery and carrots. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in the crushed tomatoes. Add the broth, water, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, basil, salt, and pepper. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in the zucchini, canned beans, and green beans. When the soup returns to boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for about 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender.
Add the chopped kale and parsley, and cook for several minutes more, until the greens are wilted.
To serve: Spoon a small amount of pasta into the bottom of the bowl. Ladle hot soup over the pasta and top with shredded Parmesan cheese.