Minestrone with Parmesan Toast

Easy low fat winter warmer
Mmmmmmm, minestrone. It’s always been a favourite of mine. Who can resist a big bowl of Italy in Winter? Tomatoes, bay leaves, garlic, parmesan, beans and loads of vegetables cooked down to gorgeous soupy perfection – oh stop, it’s making me seriously hungry.

I add a parmesan rind to my Minestrone if I have one. Have you ever cooked with parmesan rinds? If you haven’t you’re in for a real treat, they give off all the gorgeous creamy parmesan flavour without the fat and calories (you discard them after you’ve finished cooking). It doesn’t get much better does it? You can save your parmesan rinds and keep them in the freezer for your next Minestrone or stew, or if you don’t eat enough parmesan to save the rinds, pick a couple up from the local cheese shop or fresh food market. It’s worth it.

I don’t add meat to my Minestrone because I don’t think it needs it, the flavours of the vegetables and parmesan rind are enough to make it special. I also don’t add pasta because it’s filling enough with the beans (which are so good for you – packed with fibre and protein). But I do serve it with a little parmesan toast. Why wouldn’t you? Mine is a light version of cheesy garlic bread where I lightly toast some thick Italian bread with olive oil spray, herbs, garlic and a sprinkling of parmesan. Bellisima!

The fantastic thing about this Minestrone is that you can use whatever you’ve got in the fridge. I’ve used the traditional flavour givers – carrot, celery, onions with chunks of zucchini – but there are so many other flavours you can use instead or as well: broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, pumpkin, spinach, kale…. You can also use any legumes you like – kidney beans, cannellini beans, butter beans, chickpeas, lentils – the choice isn’t limited to what I’ve got in the recipe.

Whatever you decide to put in it, at only 310 calories/1298 kilojoules and 3.4g of total fat (only 1.1g of which is saturated), you’ll be making this all Winter long. In fact, make twice as much and have it for lunch tomorrow.

Are you a soup eater in Winter? What are your favourites?

click on the photo to be taken to the recipe

Minestrone with Parmesan Toast

Minestrone with Parmesan Toast

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