Hearty Minestrone


This version of the Italian classic soup Minestrone is packed with leeks, potatoes, beans, zucchini, spinach and orzo, making it perfect for a hearty lunch or supper on a cold winter's night. To make a vegetarian version use vegetable rather than chicken broth. Top each bowl with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for a zesty burst of flavor.

Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
4 servings, 2 cups each


  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 medium leeks, trimmed, washed (see Tip) and thinly sliced

  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 large red potato, diced

  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • ½ cup whole-wheat orzo

  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed

  • 2 medium zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced

  • 1 pound fresh spinach, stems removed

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add broth, water, potato, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

  2. Add orzo and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, for 5 minutes. Add beans and zucchini and continue to cook, partially covered, until the vegetables and pasta are tender, about 8 minutes more.

  3. Stir in spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Season the soup with vinegar. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan.

    Hearty Minestrone soup


To clean leeks, trim and discard green tops and white roots. Split leeks lengthwise and place in plenty of water. Swish the leeks in the water to release any sand or soil. Drain. Repeat until no grit remains.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

299 Calories
5g Fat
55g Carbs
18g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 299
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 55g 20%
Dietary Fiber 14g 49%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 18g 36%
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Vitamin A 11989IU 240%
Vitamin C 62mg 69%
Folate 375mcg 94%
Sodium 1080mg 47%
Calcium 251mg 19%
Iron 7mg 39%
Magnesium 140mg 33%
Potassium 1683mg 36%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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