Super Immunity Minestrone

March 5th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

On my way to Whole Foods earlier this week, I found myself glancing around at other drivers while I waited for stoplights to turn from red to green. I’d say about half of the people I saw in their cars were gulping down water, blowing their noses, or coughing into their elbows. It was certainly a sign of the season and an indicator that even though spring is on it’s way, winter colds are still on the prowl for weak immune systems!

I stocked up on immune boosting vegetables and spices at the grocery store with the intention of making a big pot of hearty stew for supper that night. Soups and stews are an excellent way to cram a lot of nutrition into a one-pot meal. They’re easy to make, freeze well, and keep the late winter chill at bay.

This particular minestrone calls for lots of garlic and turmeric, both of which fight harmful bacteria and lend flavor and color to the soup. Dark leafy greens pack a big nutritional punch with their high levels of vitamin C, beta carotene, and life-giving chlorophyll. I used kale in this minestrone but you could certainly use chard or collards as well. I would stay away from spinach, as it tends to become slimy if overcooked—which happens way too easily. Top bowlfuls of the soup with generous handfuls of chopped parsley, another storehouse of vitamin C.

One note about the parmesan rind: when you’re not using stock or broth as the liquid in a soup, adding a rind of parmesan cheese helps to deepen the flavor of the water immensely. It adds a slightly nutty, salty note in the background that is quite unique and delicious. Whenever I finish using a block of parmesan, I just throw the rind in the freezer in an airtight container to save for adding to soups and stews. If you’d like to keep this recipe strictly vegan, you can leave out the rind. In this case, however, you may want to use a good quality homemade vegetable broth instead of the water to deepen the broth’s flavor.

Looking for more soup recipes? Check these out:

Super Immunity Minestrone Serves 4

2 tbs. olive oil

2 stalks celery, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 small-medium yellow onion, chopped

5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp. turmeric

2 tbs. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juices

3 cups water

1 parmesan rind, 3-4 inches long, optional

6 cups kale leaves (thick stems discarded), roughly chopped

1 (14 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped parsley, for serving

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium. Add celery, carrots, and onion; cook 4-5 minutes until vegetables begin to get tender. Add garlic, turmeric, and thyme. Stir and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, water, and parmesan rind. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a rapid simmer and cover pot with lid. Simmer 8-10 minutes.

Add kale to simmering soup. Stir a few minutes until leaves are wilted down. Add beans. If the soup is too thick and needs more liquid to just cover the vegetables, add up to 1 cup additional water. Return soup to a rapid simmer and cook 4-5 minutes to heat the beans through and allow the flavors to combine.

Remove the parmesan rind from the soup and discard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top bowlfuls of the minestrone with generous sprinklings of the chopped parsley.

This post is linked to Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays.


  1. I love minestrone – and especially the deep, rich flavor imparted by Parmesan rinds. This is full of healthier foods…no wonder you named it the way you did.

    Thanks for sharing my recipe with your readers!

  2. I have never heard of putting the rind in a soup, one more way not to waste anything! Bravo!

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