Classic minestrone soup can be very healthy but most commercial minestrone soups are heavy in sodium content. Minestrone soup at its most simple definition is a hearty soup containing pasta and beans or peas. While this soup is intended to be comforting, nourishing and filling, it doesn’t mean it should be salt heavy. An easy way to lower the sodium is to remove the salt shaker when making the soup. Since sodium lurks in many foods, purchasing reduced sodium and salt-free prantry items can contribute to a low sodium menu item as well.
The below recipe incorporates many of the items found in most home pantries: vegetables, beans, herbs, and garlic in a chicken broth base topped with Parmesan cheese. Use fresh grated Parmesan and a little will go a long way for garnish and for flavoring.
Low Sodium Minestrone Soup
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 c diced carrots
- 1/2 c diced celery
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed with a garlic press
- 6 c chicken broth, reduced sodium
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked and cooled short pasta, such as shells, penne, or macaroni
- 1 can, aprox 15 oz. chopped tomatoes, no-salt added variety
- 1 can, aprox.15 oz. kidney beans, no-salt added variety
- 3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tsp Italian dried herb blend, no salt added variety
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/3 c Parmesan, fresh grated
- In a rondeau or a heavy bottom saucepan, heat olive oil.
- Add in the onion, celery and carrots and cook over medium heat until carrots and celery are softened and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Press in the garlic with a garlic press and continue to cook for about 2 minutes more.
- Measure the reduced sodium chicken broth and add to the pan. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, parsley, herbs, and ground pepper. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat about 10 to 15 minutes, until soup ingredients are heated through and vegetables are tender.
- Remove from heat and stir in the fresh Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
- Use vegetable stock in place of the chicken broth. Reduced sodium beef broth may also be used if desired.
- Use a variety of beans in the soup. Suggestions include white kidney beans (cannellini beans), garbanzo (chick peas), lima beans or navy beans.
- If fresh tomatoes are on hand, use those instead. Blanch quickly in boiling water to remove the skins if you would like them removed. Otherwise, simply dice up and add to the pot, juice and all.
Use fresh herbs from the garden for flavor, like fresh basil, savory, marjoram and thyme.
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