If you are looking or a good and quick soup to help you get the nutrients you need, this minestrone soup will not disappoint.
I was recently listening to a nutritionist speak about what are the main nutrients that we should include in our diets. Among some of her top recommendations were leafy green, protein rich foods such as beans and legumes, avocados, eggs, and lots of fruits with antioxidants.
In a world where we often toss back and forth between protein, carbs, and fat as our main source for sustenance. We often forget how important It is to eat more instead of what gives our bodies the right nutrition. That is vitamins, minerals, etc.
Our gut and our brain health are very closely correlated. A brain that doesn’t have the right nutrients cannot function as well. I loved learning that when we are properly nourished we also feel more motivated.
I go through stages where I love to eat salads everyday, and days where I don’t. This minestrone recipe is perfectly in between. The kale provides the leafy greens, followed by the tomatoes and onions, coupled in the end with the beans for a very healthy source of protein.
Kale is also a great source of Vitamin vitamins A, K, B6 and C, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. Vitamin K is really not a vitamin that we talk a lot about when it comes to health.
According to a Harvard study, Vitamin K helps to make various proteins that are needed for blood clotting and the building of bones.
Because I need to bribe my kids with something they like in order for them to eat their veggies, we sometimes add a slice or two of crumbled bacon to the top. I cook 1 pack of 12 slices of bacon from a local farmer in the oven. That makes it 2 slices per family member in our family. We like to bake it at 375 for about 30 minutes or until crunchy. Then we can crumble it or just serve it as is. The bacon smokey flavor couples really well with this minestrone soup.
Another great side idea is to pair it with a loaf of ciabatta bread. I buy ours fresh from the store. I warm it up in the oven for a few minutes right before dinner. The crust turns really crunchy and the aroma of freshly baked bread comes right back out. It’s like eating freshly baked bread without the extra work.
I took inspiration for this recipe from Giada De Laurentis.
I also do cook this recipe in the pressure cooker. Yet this minestrone could be easily cooked in the slow cooker as well. I like to make it pressure cooker because it’s basically ready in 15 minutes. The crock pot would require a few hours of simmering in order for all the flavors to infuse together and cook properly. But both options are great.
Have I convinced you yet to invest in a pressure cooker? It truly is a game changer. I purchased mine as an electrical one. It not only has all the settings pre registers, but the one I got also doubles as a steamer, rice cooker, and crock pot. I basically was able to get rid of so many appliances and have so much room in my kitchen cabinets now. I use the BREVILLE one. It’s very user friendly and does not require me to memorize how long to cook what. The settings are titled as simply as poultry, meat, soup, stew, and chili. All I do is press a button whether I am slow cooking, sautéing, or pressure cooking and the machine does the rest.
HERE ARE THREE DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THIS FUN KITCHEN APPLIANCE AT 3 DIFFERENT PRICE POINTS: (I have purchased the second one. When I purchased it this brand had not come up with the multiple versions that are available now.)
Italian Winter Minestrone
- Pressure cooker. Use the vegetable settings at 5 minutes cook time.
2 celery stalks, chopped (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
- Turn on the pressure cooker to the sautè setting. Once warm, begin by adding the olive oil and the onions an garlic. Cook them while stirring them occasionally until the onions are translucent and a little golden on the sides. So a very light yellow gold on the sides. Proceed to add the celery, carrots. You’ll need to only sauté them for 2-3 minutes tops. If you plan to use canner carrots, wait to add them until after so they don’t stick at the bottom. Add the carrots later instead, with the rest of the ingredients. Turn off the sauté setting.
- Add beans, tomato sauce, broth, rosemary and a pinch of salt as you prefer. I often omit adding salt sine the broth and pancetta will already add a good amount of flavor to the meal.Gently stir everything so it’s evenly spread out. Top with the kale. Close the lid and cook with the vegetable setting for 5 minutes. if using a regular large stock pot to cook this meal, you’ll just need to boil the soup on medium low until the potatoes are fully cooked instead. Then add the kale at the very end and allow it to boil with soup for about 5 minutes. Remember to make sure that the kale is fully stirred inside of the soup so that the juices form the soup can absorb into the leaves and also soften it.
- A few minutes before the soup is ready ,whether in the stock pot or the pressure cooker, cook the pancetta in a frying pan. The pancetta will easily cook with its own oils produced by the fat melting as it heats up. I recommend frying it on medium heat. 4-5 minute it’s as long as it will take. Cook it until the edges are golden and light brown and a little crispy.
- Serve the soup by drizzling each bowl of soup with pancetta cubes on top, and for some added flavor, you can add parmesan cheese strips on top.
I wrote optional for some of ingredients because I have made it when I haven’t had those ingredients in my party and the recipe has still turned out perfectly good and it’s even quicker to make because it requires less prepping.