Minestrone Soup

I’ve been a bit in a slump lately. At least when it comes to blogging recipes. I’ve been making food I’ve already done on here or making other people’s recipe or even just making stuff that I ultimately deem “not blog-worthy.” (That parmesan French toast was pretty delish, though!)

I blame it on end-of-the-year laziness. I seriously get so lazy after Thanksgiving. I think I only worked out 2 times in the entire month of December. I barely do any housecleaning and the laundry starts when we are all on our last pairs of underwear. Well, it’s January now and a new year has started. I have a list of things I want to start doing. Work has been absolutely CRAZYPANTS but it should calm down in the next few days and my head will stop spinning and perhaps I can actually start accomplishing things.

First up, this soup. It’s been raining like crazy here in SoCal the past couple days. Now, I happen to enjoy the rain. I don’t like going out in it, but I do love being warm and cozy and listening to it pitter patter outside my window. I always like to think Fall weather is soup weather, but in SoCal that is not at all the case. It’s usually pretty warm until mid-December to January when it starts to get a little chilly.

Minestrone soup is a thick Italian soup made of a flavored broth and veggies with optional beans and pasta added in. There is no set recipe for minestrone since you can use whatever veggies are in season. This soup dates back to the Roman Empire, but the basic premise remains today.

This soup really hit the spot and was so easy to make. It hit my trifecta of easy, healthy, and delicious!  If I weren’t in the beginning of a Biggest Loser Challenge, I would have served this with a side of bread as well.

30-Minute Minestrone Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper

1 16 oz bag frozen veggie medley (green beans, corn, peas, carrots. You can really use whatever veggies you want.)

Parmesan rind (optional)

1 28-oz can low-sodium crushed tomatoes

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 15oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

12 oz box of shell pasta (or other small pasta of your choice) *I used Banza chickpea pasta and it was DELISH! You can’t even tell the difference and it punches up the protein of an otherwise-vegetarian dish.

Add olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute or so.

Add the frozen veggies, basil, oregano, some salt and some pepper. I had a leftover rind from some parmesan, so I added this as well. You don’t have to.  Stir and cook for a few minutes until veggies start to soften.

Add the crushed tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes.

Add the beans and pasta and cook about 10 minutes (or per package directions for the pasta). Remove the parm rind if you used one and taste the soup for seasoning. I ended up adding more salt, pepper, and basil, but make it how you like it.


Chicken Tortilla Soup

I’ve probably made chicken tortilla soup too many ways to count, but this one is by far the easiest. Also, my husband said this was the best chicken tortilla soup I’ve ever made, so, you know, it comes with raving reviews! 

When it comes to soups, I much prefer a thicker, creamier soup over a broth-based one. I’ll make an exception for French Onion. I’ve never really been a fan of chicken noodle, even. I find it pretty bland most of the time, and even “good ones” are boring to me. I do, however, love chicken tortilla. When done right, it boasts so much flavor. It’s total comfort food.

I’ve posted a version I made before on this blog, but like I said, this one is so incredibly easy, I had to share it. It’s also really healthy, so that’s more points in the plus column!

It wasn’t my intention to make this soup really spicy, but it was. You can adjust as necessary, for example using regular diced tomatoes in place of the fire roasted one since they usually come with green chiles in them. 

Also, I used baked blue corn tortilla chips: they contain 20% more protein than yellow or white, they are less starchy, they are a more complete protein source, and they have much lower glycemic index. Plus, their blue color comes from anthocyanins which are the same antioxidants found in berries. Need more? They have a sweeter, nuttier flavor than white or yellow corn as well. And they make your food look pretty. You should be able to find them anywhere.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 15oz can fire roasted tomatoes

1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, and seeds removed (if you don’t want to do all this, just use a small can of diced green chiles)

½ onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

olive oil

1 tablespoon chili powder

½ tablespoon cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable broth, to texture preference

1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 ½ cups roasted corn

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

In a skillet with some olive oil over medium heat, add your onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and a little salt and pepper and saute until soft and fragrant. Pour mixture into a blender and add the can of tomatoes (juice and all), the poblano, and the vegetable broth. I didn’t put an amount for the broth because it depends on how thick or thin you want your soup. Adjust as needed for your preferences. Blend until smooth.

In the same skillet you used for the onions and garlic, add a little olive oil over medium heat. Add your beans, corn, and chicken. Stir around until heated through and the corn isn’t frozen anymore. For the corn, I use the roasted corn from the freezer section at Trader Joe’s. You can always use fresh and char it up yourself, or you can just use regular frozen corn. It really doesn’t matter as long as it’s in there.


Add the chicken mixture to the tomato mixture and serve for a nice hearty soup! Top with some cheese and avocado and tortilla chips.

Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup 

So a couple months ago I signed up for Farm Fresh to You. I like it. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to keep it, but it’s pretty cool. I’ve been able to try more veggies than I probably would have on my own, like beets. I don’t think I would ever just pick up a beet in the grocery store and make something with it, but since it was coming in my delivery anyway, I figured what the heck? Why not give it a try.

Since I’ve never had a beet before, I thought it best not to try out a recipe on my own and go with a pro. Enter: Martha Stewart. I found a recipe that seemed simple enough to follow with our soup cleanse and it was actually pretty tasty.

I had read many places that beets sort of taste like dirt. Even after roasting them and combining them with the other ingredients, I can totally see why someone would say that. They were VERY earthy. But the roasted garlic and the leeks really combined nicely with the beets.

Would I make it again? I don’t know. I didn’t love it that much, but it wasn’t hard work at all to peel the beets, though they are very messy. Beets are super healthy, so maybe someday I’ll be inspired to repeat the recipe, but we’ll have to just see.

Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup

Adapted from Martha Stewart

3 medium beets

1 head of garlic

1 leek

1 tsp fresh thyme

2 cups vegetable broth

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Remove the greens from the beets and wrap them in parchment and foil with a drizzle of olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees for about an hour. Cut off about a ¼ to ½ inch of the garlic head and wrap that in foil too with some olive oil. Roast that for the last 30 minutes of the beets.

Meanwhile, saute the leeks and thyme until softened.

Let the beets cool enough to handle them and wipe the skin off with some paper towels. It should just rub off very easily. Add the beets to the blender.

Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves into the blender. Add the sautéed leeks and thyme, vegetable broth, and salt and pepper. Blend until well combined. It really helps to have a high powered blender such as a Vitamix, Ninja, or Blendtec.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice and taste to see if you need more salt or pepper.


The color of this soup is out of this world gorgeous, but be careful because beets can stain.

Creamy Veggie Soup (without the cream!)

I think I’m really getting the hang of this soup thing, you guys! I love coming up with new combinations of veggies and flavors that complement each other to whirl up into delicious soups. I am also LOVING my Vitamix more and more. I can whip up these soups on the soup setting and the result is a creamy, velvety soup that doesn’t have any dairy in it at all. It’s so mind boggling; every time I take a bite, I can’t believe there’s no cream or dairy in the soup.

The only thing I need to start working on is making bigger batches. Just when I think there’s going to be enough, it only makes about 3 servings, maybe 4 depending on how much you eat in one bowl.

So far this little makeshift soup cleanse we’ve been on has been very successful. We are getting all our veggies in and we still feel full after a bowl of soup. And the hubby and I are both down to below our pre-vacation weight!


Creamy Veggie Soup (without the cream!)

½ red bell pepper, cut in half

½ orange bell pepper, cut in half

1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

1 poblano pepper

1 cup frozen corn

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 cup vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all the peppers and zucchini on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

When the veggies are done, place the bell peppers and zucchini in a blender. Put the poblano in a zip top bag and seal it. After about 5 minutes, remove the poblano and peel the skin off. It should just pull right off. Cut it in half (carefully because it will be hot), and remove the stem and scrap out the seeds. Add the pepper to the blender.

Add the rest of your ingredients to the blender and let her whirl until done.

Taste to see if you need to add more salt.

I had some avocado I needed to use up so I topped mine with avocado. I didn’t do it this time, but it would probably be yummy to add more corn pieces as well, to off-set the texture a little bit.

Corn and Yellow Pepper Soup

Here’s another souper easy (see what I did there? Funny, yeah?) soup recipe for you. I’ve got a couple more coming in the next week or so.  These are all experiments, so whenever they turn out as good as these last couple have, I get really happy. I even have one in the works using beets! I mean, seriously. BEETS! I’ve never even had a beet before. I also know that they are really messy. The recipe is inspired by the one-and-only Martha Stewart though, so hopefully that will help things!

Anyway, I am always up for more ways to get more vegetables into my family.

Corn and Yellow Pepper Soup

3 yellow bell peppers, cut into quarters
1/2 bag of frozen corn

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets (or 1/2 bag of cauliflower florets) 
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 4oz can green chiles
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Pinch of cayenne *optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, lay out all your cut up peppers and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in a pan with some olive oil and a little salt until softened and fragrant. Set aside.

Also, steam your cauliflower florets until softened. This will help add a nice smooth, thick consistency to your soup.

In a blender, preferably a high powered one like a Ninja or a Vitamix, put in the onion/garlic mixture, the thyme, the bell peppers, the cauliflower, the corn, and the green chiles. Blend until smooth. I didn’t need any liquid to get a perfect velvety consistency, but if you do, add some vegetable broth as needed.

Taste for flavor. Add some cayenne if you want a touch of heat. Add more salt and pepper if you want. Whatever you want to do to make it taste like what you want it to taste like!

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

So the hubby and I were recently on our second trip to New Orleans. We had such a great time last year that we just had to go back for our vacation this year. When we went the first time, we hadn’t yet started our journey to getting fit and eating healthier, so the food was just enjoyed and we came home and continued on with our lives.

Well, this time was different. We have been eating so well, so clean, that when we were there, our bodies weren’t used to the heavy and rich foods of New Orleans. Don’t get me wrong; the food was still delicious! And we ate and drank plenty, but now that we are back, we have to get back on track.  We decided to try a sort of “soup cleanse.” I know there are official programs you can follow, but I just went to Sprouts and stocked up on a ton of veggies. The idea is to put my Vitamix to use and blend up some yummy soups to get all our veggies in. We will definitely be eating our colors!!

So I’ve made homemade tomato soup before but I have to say, this one is WAY better! No offense to Tiffani Thiessen. Making tomato soup is actually really easy and when you read the side of a soup can and realize that you can barely pronounce the ingredients on it, you just may become a DIY tomato soup person as well.

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

3 pounds roma tomatoes (that was about 12 for me), cut in half lengthwise
2 medium red bell peppers, cut into quarters lengthwise
4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of fresh basil, torn
1 teaspoon honey
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tomatoes and bell peppers cut side up in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place 4 sprigs of fresh thyme on top. Roast in the oven for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, add some olive oil and saute your onions and garlic until soft. Add a pinch of salt while sauteeing. Set aside.

When the tomatoes are done, discard the thyme stems. At this poing you can easily remove the skin of the tomatoes. Let them cool just a bit so you don’t burn yourself. I flipped them over with some tongs and just grabbed the loose skin with the tongs and it will pull right off.  You can also leave the skin on, but I like the smoother texture I get with the skin off.

Add the onion/garlic mixture, the torn basil, and the honey* to the blender. Then add the bell pepper, and peeled tomatoes. The tomatoes will let out a lot of juice, so make sure that gets in the blender as well. Mine gave off so much juice, I didn’t even have to use any stock, broth, or water.

Blend everything until smooth.  If it’s too thick, you can add more liquid. Mine was perfect as-is. Using a high power blender like a Vitamix will produce a very creamy texture without having to actually use any milk or cream, which is great!

*Quick note: this can be made vegan if you agave syrup instead of honey.

We ate ours as-is, but feel free to add any toppings you like or even serve it with grilled cheese, which is one of the greatest food combos of ALL TIME.

I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out, but I gotta say, I loved it! The taste was just phenomenal. My husband was more or less speechless. Hopefully the rest of our “soup cleanse” recipes are just as successful!


Thai Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato, and Carrot Soup

I want to start by saying that this is not my recipe, even though I really wish it were. I wish I could have come up with this amazingly delicious creation, but alas it was a Pinterest find from this food blog (which also has a ton of other yummy looking recipes, by the way). 

As with most things from Pinterest, this particular recipe has sat on my board just waiting to be made. I finally got around to making it and I can’t believe I waited so long! It was so yummy. It’s a bit spicy and a bit sweet. It’s creaminess comes from the coconut milk which absolutely makes this dish. The toasted peanuts and pumpkin seeds on top are the icing on the cake (so to speak). 

This soup is perfect for this time of year as the nights get colder and colder. 

This was pretty much at my maximum for spice level, so I didn’t add the siracha the original recipe called for, but you can if you want. You could also probably use less red curry paste if you wanted to tone down the spice a little too. 

I also didn’t make the squash seeds because I used precubed squash from Trader Joe’s (two bags, if that’s what you decide to do as well). Using the precubed made this recipe even easier. I did have some peanuts and pumpkin seeds on hand so I just used that. 

Thai Butternut Squash Soup (as adapted from Carlsbad Cravings)

3 tablespoons coconut oil (may substitute olive oil)

1 sweet onion, diced

1/4 cup red curry paste

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (I used the dried ginger powder, but only about 1/4 tablespoon since you use less dried than fresh)

8 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups uncooked butternut squash peeled, cut into 1”cubes, seeds separated

1 large sweet potato peeled, cut into 1”cubes

3 medium carrots peeled and chopped

4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 14 oz. can coconut milk 

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon dried basil

2 tablespoons lime juice

Sriracha/Asian hot chili sauce to taste (optional)

Peanuts and pumpkin seeds for garnish 

Melt coconut oil in a large sauté pan, soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When oil is hot, add, onions and sauté until onions are soft. Add red curry paste, red pepper flakes, ginger and garlic; stir to combine with onions; saute for 3 minutes. 

Add squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and chicken stock. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. 

Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
While the veggies are simmering, add your peanuts and pumpkin seeds to a dry skillet and toast them up. It will only take a couple minutes so don’t walk away. You don’t need to add any seasonings unless you want to. You definitely don’t need any oils because the peanuts will release their plenty of their own. 

Once vegetables are soft, turn off the heat. Here you have a couple options: you can get out a second large pot and your blender. Purée the veggies in two or three batches in the blender until smooth and transfer each batch to the 2nd pot. Be careful not to put too much in the blender because it will explode. 

Or, you can do what I did (because I did not want to dirty another pot), and use an immersion blender. Either way, purée the softened veggies until smooth.  

Once the soup is smooth, add coconut milk, fish sauce, and basil to the soup and cook until heated through. When ready to serve, stir in 2 tablespoons lime juice. I didn’t have a lime so I skipped this step. It would probably be really good though. Taste soup and add desired amount of Sriracha, salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, garnish with roasted seeds, peanuts and cilantro (I skipped the cilantro too because, Gross).