Minestrone Soup – Heart Healthy Weight Loss

Richard Collins, MD
The Cooking Cardiologist©

This is a great time of year for soup.  Soup warms the body and the soul and according to research by Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of Volumetrics Eating Plan, it can help significantly with weight loss.  It fills you up, slows down your eating and is truly satisfying.  Make this no-hassle minestrone in less than 30 minutes. The low-sodium, fiber-full, and tasty traditional Italian soup will warm you from your toes to your tummy.

PREP TIME: 20 Minutes, COOK TIME: 40 Minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 Hour
SERVINGS: 8

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped, 1 c
4 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tsp dried basil
1 sweet potato, 8 ounces, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
1 zucchini, 8 ounces, cut into ½” pieces
1 yellow squash, 8 ounces, cut into ½” pieces
1 fennel bulb, 8 ounces, cut into ½” pieces
5 c lower-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
4 fresh chopped tomatoes
1 bag (5 ounces) baby spinach
1 can (15 ounces) reduced sodium red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
¼ tsp ground black pepper

8 Tablespoons fat free ricotta cheese

  1. HEATthe oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and basil; cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sweet potato and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the zucchini, yellow squash, and fennel and cook until just starting to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 25 minutes.
    2. STIRin the spinach and cook until wilted, 5 minutes. Add the beans and pepper; cook until hot, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese.  Divide into 8 bowls.  Top each bowl with 1 Tablespoon ricotta cheese.

NUTRITION (per serving) Calories: 160, Total Fat: 6 g, Saturated Fat: 1.5 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: less than 5 mg, Sodium: 140 mg, Carbohydrates: 19 g, Fiber: 5 g Total sugars: 6 g, Protein: 9 g

DIABETIC EXCHANGES:  1 Starch, 1 Fat, 1 Very Lean Protein