Hearty Winter Minestrone with Whole Wheat Rotini

Serves 6 to 8.

Note: This soup can be a meal in a bowl, with plenty of veggies, beans and, of course, pasta. Infusing the broth with leftover Parmesan rinds or dried mushrooms adds depth, and you can shower it with plenty of Parmesan or vegan parm for a pretty and tasty meal. From Robin Asbell.

• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 large onion, chopped

• 4 c. (1 quart) vegetable stock

• 1 Parmesan rind or 4 dried mushrooms (see Note)

• 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped, plus 1 stem, divided

• 3 garlic cloves, chopped

• 1/4 c. dry white wine, optional

• 1 large carrot, chopped

• 1 bunch kale, stems removed and saved, chopped separately

• 1 medium zucchini

• 1 (15-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, with juices

• 1 (15-oz.) can navy beans, with juice

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped

• 3 c. whole wheat rotini

• Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional


In a large pot, drizzle the olive oil and place over medium high heat. Add the onions and stir until they start to sizzle, then reduce the heat to medium-low and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes.

In a medium pot, place the vegetable stock and either the Parmesan rind or dried mushrooms and the rosemary stem, and bring to a boil. Reduce to low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes, longer if you have time.

When the onions are soft and golden, add the garlic and chopped rosemary and stir for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the white wine and strain the vegetable stock into the pot, and discard the rind or dried mushrooms.

Bring the stock to a boil and add the carrot and kale stems and cook for 10 minutes, reducing the heat to medium-low for a gentle simmer.

When the carrots are softened, add the chopped kale leaves and zucchini and stir for 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes, navy beans, salt and pepper and return to a simmer. Adjust the heat to cook for at least 5 minutes longer to meld the flavors. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

While the soup cooks, cook the pasta 1 minute less than the package directs, about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse.

If serving immediately, stir the pasta into the soup and finish the cooking.

If saving the soup to eat later, rinse the rotini with cold water and drizzle with a little olive oil, then store in a tightly covered container until time to serve. Heat the soup to a good simmer and stir in pasta, stirring until the pasta is tender. Serve topped with shredded Parmesan or vegan parm for a garnish.

Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:

Calories330Fat7 gSodium780 mg

Carbohydrates59 gSaturated fat1 gTotal sugars6 g

Protein14 gCholesterol1 mgDietary fiber12 g

Exchanges per serving: 3 starch, 1 carb, ½ lean protein, ½ fat.