Healthy Hearty Minestrone

Following on from the popularity of my “Get Your Soup On” post a few weeks ago (discussing all the benefits in those bowls of warming goodness!), I thought I’d share another one of my favourite soup recipes, that’s especially perfect for this time of year!

Minestrone soup can be a great start to a meal or even make a marvelous meal all on its own – simply add some crusty whole-grain bread, a sprinkling of Parmesan (it has a strong flavour so a little goes a long way!) and a fresh green side salad and you’re good to go!

This versatile “plant-based” soup is low in fat, high in fibre and packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

The protein-packed beans and barley and satiety-promoting fibre, combined with vitamin-rich veggies and nutrient packed tomato broth (high in the super anti-oxidant lycopene), means this soup will fill you up, rather than out! 🙂


Beans are both a nutritional and financial bargain – especially canned ones, which are convenient, inexpensive, nutritious and ready-to-use.  They are a fantastic source of fibre – with just one cup of cooked beans containing half your daily requirement – and help to maintain satiety, stabilise blood sugar levels and lower blood cholesterol – thanks to it being mainly soluble.  Naturally low in fat, beans are also rich in B Vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamine and folic acid), calcium (for healthy bones), iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, and contain no cholesterol or gluten.

Barley is used pain relief here (instead of the usual pasta), which is packed full of fibre and B-vitamins, and adds a thick, hearty chewy texture to the soup.  I’ve also replaced the traditional white potatoes with low calorie, nutrient-rich zucchini, meaning the soup remains as hearty and filling as ever while also keeping you slim and trim!

Enough good reasons, I think you’ll agree, to whip up this delicious, healthy, hearty soup – and enjoy! 🙂

To read my article on the numerous health benefits of soup, as well as some tips and tricks, see my “Get Your Soup On” article HERE.

Healthy Hearty Minestrone


Serves 6-8


1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. sunflower/ olive oil
2 zucchini, diced
2 celery sticks (or additional zucchini), diced
4 carrots, diced
1 (400g) tin cannellini beans
450g tinned chopped tomatoes
8 cups vegetable stock (MSG free)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ cup (uncooked) barley
Parmesan cheese, to serve – optional


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and celery.  Let them sauté until translucent, then pour in the stock, beans and barley.  Simmer for 1 hour.  Add the carrots, zucchini, herbs, salt and pepper.  Simmer uncovered, for a further hour.  Add the tinned tomatoes and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Serve with crusty bread and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese (optional).  Enjoy! 🙂

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