You Need to Make This for Dinner: Protein-Packed Meaty Minestrone

This hearty soup is sure to become a winter favorite.

Meaty Minestrone | Photo by Becca Boyd

Meaty Minestrone | Photo by Becca Boyd

Ah, Sunday. I love you so much — why can’t there be two of you? These days, Sunday means football, fires, and soup. Giant pots of soup. Sometimes the soup attracts extra diners at my dinner table, but when it doesn’t, we have dinner set for Monday night —and sometimes even Tuesday. I’ve convinced my children that the vegetables in soup just taste like “soup” so they’re on board; my gluten-free, hungry husband can eat as many servings as he likes; and I like that it’s light and healthy. This particular soup has been made too many times to count this fall, and the colors make it fitting for holiday fun.

Not sure about the anchovies in this recipe? I assure you this soup doesn’t taste like fish. They’re easy to find, inexpensive and worth it for the flavor boost. Buy anchovies packed in oil and throw the remaining fish in a bag in your freezer. It will keep until next time you make the soup. No parmesan rind? Just skip it. I keep rinds in my freezer from cheese we’ve used up, and it just helps the overall flavor profile. Stir 1/4 c. cheese into your soup at the end, before serving. Everything else is basic enough. I hope you make this soon, one of these chilly winter Sundays; I promise you won’t regret it.

Recipe: Healthy Meaty Minestrone
Serves 6-8

1 1/3 lb. ground beef
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 anchovies
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion (or two smaller), diced
1/4 c. tomato paste
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
6 c. chicken broth
4 inch parmesan rind
1 (15 oz) can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
6 oz. fresh baby spinach
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. finely chopped parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

1. Saute beef in a large soup pan or Dutch oven, breaking up clumps, until browned. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and stir to combine. Place beef in a smaller bowl but don’t clean out pot.
2. Add anchovies, garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper, and remaining 1 tsp. salt. Stir until fragrant and mash anchovies until dispersed into mixture, about 30 seconds.
3. Add carrots and onion and saute about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
4. Add tomato paste and stir frequently, about 1 minute.
5. Add diced tomatoes and their juice along with chicken broth and parmesan rind. Turn heat to high until mixture boils then reduce heat to simmer; cook about 5 minutes.
6. Add beans, spinach, reserved beef, and vinegar. Stir to combine.
7. Remove from heat and add parsley. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

Per serving: 591 calories, 7.6 grams fat, 2.4 grams saturated fat, 1312 milligrams sodium, 2675 milligrams potassium, 77.4 grams carbs, 19.6 grams dietary fiber, 9 grams sugar, 55 grams protein.