I don’t know about you, but I have been eating a lot of carbs and heavy meals lately…
There’s something about this time of year. As soon as I detect a bit of a chill in the air, I start loading up on all the heavy meals I possibly can.
During the summer, I miss all those carbs and other calorie packed foods that I love. So I start planning my menus around them as soon as the seasons change. And then I remember why I was avoiding those meals during the summer.
The holiday weight tends to creep up on us, doesn’t it?
So, while I am indulging, I like to have some recipes on hand that I can alternate with, that will help me to recharge and feel refreshed in terms of healthiness.
This is one of my favorite hearty soup recipes. It’s all made in one pot, packed with nutritious vegetables, and it is so comforting. Not to mention, it’s really filling and satisfying, so you won’t even miss the carbs.
The only part of this recipe that takes a bit of time to prepare is the veggies, and they are really loaded into this soup. You do have to do a fair amount of chopping when you prep, so make sure you have a great knife and a sturdy cutting board at the ready.
My number one tip for making this recipe is to make sure all of your cuts of veg are about the same size. This will ensure that everything will cook to the same level of doneness.
Beyond that, all you have to do is throw all those vegetables in a large stockpot, and cook it up. It makes for an easy meal, and it’s one that I like to make during the week when my husband is working late.
I can whip up a batch on the stove, and even if he isn’t home by the time the soup is ready, I can keep it over a low flame to stay warm until he walks in the door.
The enticing aroma of this soup is one that is so comforting, and it reminds me of just how much I love veggies.
(It’s funny, actually, because 15-year-old me would scream with laughter if she heard me tell anyone how much I love veggies today.)
This hearty, easy recipe is kind of like a minestrone, but without the pasta. The total calorie count is low, so you could even eat two or three bowlfuls without guilt if you want. But you’ll probably be full before you get there.
Instead of the carbs, you get even more of those delicious veggies that make this soup so flavorful. Combined with a Pecorino rind, fresh thyme, and beef broth, it’s so savory, and has a really rich, deep flavor.
I like to gobble up this soup during the holidays when I’m between festive feasts, and it gives me a little wiggle room when I want to have a couple of cookies for dessert… When your main meal is so healthy, you won’t feel bad about enjoying some sweet holiday baked goods afterwards.Print
This hearty vegetable soup is a healthy winter meal that is made with beef broth and all your favorite veggies, like rainbow chard and tomatoes.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 2 medium stalks celery, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch rainbow chard, stalks and leaves chopped, divided (about 2 cups stalks and 3 cups leaves)
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, or ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1 22.5-oz can cannellini beans (about 1.5 cups), rinsed and drained, divided
- 7 cups beef broth, divided
- 1 1-ounce piece of pecorino rind
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- Freshly grated pecorino, for garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and chard stems. Saute until the onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
- Add the chard leaves and cubed sweet potato. Stir to combine, and saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and thyme, and stir to combine.
- Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes begin to break down, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup beans with 1/4 cup broth in a food processor or high-powered blender until smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and the cheese rind to the vegetable mixture.
- Simmer until the sweet potato pieces are fork tender, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining beans and the parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard pecorino rind and thyme sprig.
- Ladle into bowls and serve garnished with freshly grated pecorino.
Adapted from Giada’s Winter Minestrone
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Comfort Food
Keywords: winter vegetable, soup
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Chop Produce, Drain Beans, Mince Parsley, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Peel and chop one onion, two carrots, and a small sweet potato.
Remove the strings, and chop two celery stalks.
Peel and mince two cloves of garlic, or push them through your garlic press.
Separate the rainbow chard stalks from the leaves. Chop the stalks and then the leaves, keeping them separate.
Cut one cup of grape tomatoes into quarters. Cherry tomatoes would also work nicely, and you can use a multicolored version if you like.
Mince enough fresh parsley leaves until you have 2 tablespoons total.
Measure out the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.
Step 2 – Cook Vegetables
Add the olive oil to a large, heavy stockpot over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and chard stems. Cook until the onions are translucent and soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Continue to cook until the chard leaves are wilted and the tomatoes start to break down. This will take about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 3 – Make Thickener
While the veggies are cooking, add 3/4 cup of beans and 1/4 cup of broth to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. This will serve as the thickener for the soup.
Stir this mixture into the pot, along with the remaining broth and the cheese rind.
Do you save the rind from hard Italian cheeses like pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano after you’ve grated the whole wedge for sprinkling on pasta? It can add delicious flavor to a variety of dishes!
Step 4 – Finish Soup
Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue cooking until the sweet potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.
Stir in the remaining beans and the parsley. Bring back to a simmer and cook for a few more minutes until the beans are heated through and the soup has thickened slightly. Stir in the salt and pepper. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the cheese rind and thyme sprig, and discard them.
Serve with grated pecorino on top.
Can I Use Other Types of Vegetables in This Soup?
If you can’t find all of this fresh produce at the store, there are some other options that you can use instead.
Either a yellow or a white onion will work. If you can’t find rainbow chard, regular Swiss chard or kale are great options – just remove the stems from the kale first, and use about 5 cups total of chopped leaves.
For those of you who prefer regular potatoes, those can always be used instead of the sweet potato the recipe calls for. And eaters like you will love our Indian Dal, another stew bursting with chard and potatoes.
Keep in mind, however, that most of the nutritional value of white potatoes is in the peels, and sweet potatoes are a nutrient-packed option! That’s why we love using them in so many recipes, anything from rich chocolate brownies (yup, no joke!) to other veggie-packed soups.
You can even add cut up asparagus or peas if you are making this in the springtime, for a seasonal option that’s perfect when it’s chilly outside throughout the year.
Hungry for more? Here are some more of our favorite soup recipes with plenty of veggies that you should definitely check out:
What’s your favorite vegetable to put in a warm and comforting homemade soup? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to give this recipe a rating after you try it, to let other readers know how much you enjoyed it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on November 30, 2012. Last updated: October 25, 2020 at 12:56 pm.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.