Winter Minestrone

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard all the buzz about KALE.  Did you know that this wonder green is high in fiber and Vitamins A, C, and K; has more iron than beef and more calcium than milk per calorie; and is chalk full of antioxidants?

Until recently, I didn’t know much about kale and its benefits, let alone how to prepare and cook with it. But this last summer, I read an article about kale and was convinced of the need to introduce this supergreen to my family.

One of the easiest ways to incorporate kale into your diet is to add it to a broth-based soup. So a few months ago, I picked up a bunch of kale at the store and used it in place of Swiss chard in one of my family’s favorite soups—Winter Minestrone.  To my delight, kale worked beautifully in this soup and is now my family’s favorite green to add to it.

During the last couple of years, I’ve made Winter Minestrone often during the autumn and winter months (and even sometimes in the summer because it’s so darn good!).  Originally a Giada recipe,  I’ve made some changes to it, particularly to the quantity of some ingredients (e.g., I’ve added a third can of broth and slightly increased the amount of pancetta). And of course this last summer, I discovered that substituting the Swiss chard with kale makes this soup shine, both nutritionally and in taste.

Winter Minestrone

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large bunch of kale, stems trimmed
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 (15 0z.) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 (14 oz.) cans beef broth
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese + more for serving
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


(1) Heat oil in a heavy stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and pancetta; saute until onions are soft. Add kale and potato; saute another 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until kale is wilted, about 10 minutes

(2) Meanwhile, blend ¾ cup of beans with ¼ cup broth in a blender until smooth. Add pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan cheese to vegetable mixture.  Simmer until potato pieces are tender. Stir in whole beans and simmer until beans are heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Discard rosemary sprig.  Top individual  portions with grated Parmesan cheese. Makes about 6 servings. 

6 comments on “Winter Minestrone

    • Sarah, I had no idea of how good kale is for until I read an article written by a nutritionist in the community garden I belong to. Like you, I haven’t warmed up to it raw yet. I think it’s much better in soups. :0)

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