Healthy recipes: New-age minestrone soup

Kidney beans add low-fat protein in this hearty soup


This hearty minestrone soup uses seasonal butternut squash and chard, and kidney beans add low-fat protein.


1 Spanish onion, cut into large dice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4-6 cups filtered water or stock
1 bay leaf
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into medium dice (or roast half squash in oven on 350F for 45 minutes, peel flesh away from skin, and place in pot)
1 sweet potato, cut into large dice
3 ribs celery, cut into large dice
1 large or 2 small zucchini, cut into small chunks
1 bunch of chard, cut into bit-sized pieces
1 cup kidney beans (optional), soaked and cooked
½ cup elbow brown rice noodles (optional), cooked

1. In a small pot, sweat onion in oil with salt until soft.

2. Add oregano and sweat a few more minutes.

3. Add water and bay leaf.

4. Add vegetables in order given (squash, sweet potatoes, celery, zucchini).

5. Turn up heat until water bubbles, then lower and simmer covered for 40-45 minutes.

6. Stir vegetables until squash falls apart.

7. Add in chopped chard.

8. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

9. Stir a few more times and serve.

For a smoother texture, simmer the squash separately until soft (in 1-2 cups of water), and puree in a food processor. Add squash to the soup for the last 10 minutes of cooking.