Classic Minestrone Soup

I know I post fairly frequently about my love of Norway and almost all things Norwegian (still not a fan of lutefisk!), but I really do love many things Italian as well! I have to say I think I tasted and ate some of the best food of my life when I visited Italy with my friend Pam years ago. I will never look askance at an eggplant again...not when our host and personal chef, Mike Graziano, made Melanzane alla Parmigiana (eggplant parmesan) that melted in your mouth! I didn't even know I was eating eggplant until he told me!

Well, I wish I was sharing his recipe for that delectable dish, but sadly, that is not yet in my repertoire...yet. What I will share is a simple, very healthy and low calorie Italian soup, a Classic Minestrone from Life: Beautiful magazine. This version of Minestrone has some delightful flavors and is a joy to put together. Coming in at 227 calories a serving, it claims the lowest calorie count of all the soups I have posted so far! (I swear I'm almost done with soups! Salads, anyone?)

Classic Minestrone by Life:Beautiful

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped pancetta (about 5 ounces)

1 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup finely chopped carrot

4 cloves garlic, minced

5 1/2 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained

6 cups chicken broth

3 cups baby spinach

1 (16 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup small shell macaroni

Kosher Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add pancetta. Cook for 8 minutes or until crispy, stirring often. Add onion, celery and carrot; cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic; cook for 30 seconds. (At this point, your kitchen smells divine!). Stir in green beans, oregano, and basil; cook for 3 minutes more.

Stir in tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in spinach, chickpeas and macaroni. Cook for 10 minutes more or until vegetables and pasta are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


A little chopping involved, but easy, peasy to mix together! Wonderful flavors (the pancetta...yum!) and wholesome too!

Hard to believe February is almost over! This month brought a BIG birthday for me. Yes, I am that old! BUT... thankful to be alive, still learning and growing in many areas of my life (perhaps this means I'm a slow learner...sigh), fairly active and willing to try new things. The joys have outweighed the sorrows and trials and for that, I give Him all the glory. Warmly, Gracia