Winter Minestrone

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There is nothing like a nineteen degree day in January to make you want something warm and steaming in a bowl.  And that is exactly what I did today – created  a new Winter Minestrone to keep me going after my frigid hike with my dog Buck.

Minestrone traditionally is a soup made with vegetables, beans and small bits of pasta, but today I wanted to lighten my soup.  I decided to eliminate the pasta and use butternut squash as a starchy stand in.  I also added some earthy shitake mushrooms that I had in my refrigerator, in addition to the more traditional vegetables – carrots, onion, celery and kale. White beans, traditional in minestrone were, of course, stirred in at the end.  No use straying too far from tradition.  The result?  A nutritious, light, yet filling soup that was perfect for lunch, as well as for a light dinner.

Winter Minestrone

Light, brothy yet filling, this soup is a powerhouse of nutrients.  This soup freezes beautifully and the recipe allows for that.


Makes 6 servings


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups diced butternut squash
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
8 shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 small bunch kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces
1 32-ounce can canellini beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups low sodium, or homemade, chicken stock


1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper; sauté for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to brown.  Add the butternut squash and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.

2 Add the garlic and thyme.  Sauté for another 30 seconds.  Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, kale, beans and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer the soup for 20 minutes.

3. Adjust the seasonings if necessary, and serve hot.

Copyright© Heather Carey, MS