Rustic Minestrone Soup with Rice and Kale

Clean, easy, classic minestrone soup with rice and kale makes for a healthful go-to during the chilly winter months.
Rustic Minestrone Soup with Rice and Kale | #healthy #vegetarian #soup #recipe #dinner

Week 2 of 2017! How is everyone doing?

Winter Weather Update: It’s La Niña AF here, and mother nature has decided to grace us with all the precipitations in one fell swoop.  You may have seen the footage I posted on my Instagram story yesterday…just 6 months ago, the Truckee River was a mere trickle, and now it’s not only raging, but flooding over. We’ve had homes evacuated in the flood zones, and likely more to come, plus some power outages, mud slides, and avalanches in the mountains. Thankfully, the cities, businesses, and residents were as prepared as they could be, but please send some of your good juju our way in hopes everyone stays safe. End Update.

Now that we’re a week deep in 2017, how are you progressing on your goals and intentions? I admit, my goal of buying nothing this year has already gone by the wayside (for shaaaame!), but I have ordered (and received) some books to kick off my new prescribed reading habit, and know which trail half marathons I’ll be running come Spring and Summer, so not all hope is lost.

From nutritious smoothies all last week to nutritious soup recipes this week, I think we’re doing a pretty decent job at food so far this year.

Now all we need is a fulcrum and some Gore-Tex and we shall move the world!

Rustic Minestrone Soup with Rice and Kale | #healthy #vegetarian #soup #recipe #dinner
Minestrone soup is pretty great – it’s one of those recipes I make every month throughout the fall and winter because it’s so easy, so cozy. I eat it when I feel great, I eat it when I feel not-so-great, I eat it to feel great, and I feel great afterwards. Plus, it’s flipping silly simple to make. Before I started making soups, stews, and chilis, I thought they were the most difficult procedure to ever greet mankind. This just in: they’re the opposite. As in, they’re one of the easiest genres of food to make, one of the most difficult to mess up, and very impressive to boot.

Let’s get down to specifics.

I’ve seen all sorts of takes on minestrone..some calling for zucchini, some noodles, some green beans, some corn, some 3 different types of beans, some with ham, most with a parmesan rind. The parmesan rind is what inspired this particular batch of soup. I had a big one sitting in my cheese drawer that I had set aside for the exact purpose to making minestrone soup. No need to go buying parmesan cheese willy nilly just for the sake of this soup, though…you can get along just fine without it.

Rustic Minestrone Soup with Rice and Kale | #healthy #vegetarian #soup #recipe #dinner

I like making my minestrone with rice to make it stretch longer…you know, give it some oomph…some substance…get more bang for my buck. If you’re going grain-less, you can leave it out, or use quinoa. If you like noodles, toss them in. All shapes and colors welcome. If you’re into chicken, sausage, or ham, chop it up and toss it in the stock pot. Cabbage? Yes please.

And since we’re being philosophical, the more garlic the better. But that’s a no-brainer.

Where was I?

Ah yes, kale.

I added kale to this soup for extra nutrients. Shocker. I also took a 2-bean approach with kidney and garbanzos. I did the holy trinity – carrots, celery, onion – as well as some squash. If you have random veggies in your refrigerator or CSA box, toss them in! I served the soup with cornbread and a dusting of freshly-grated parm. 

Rustic Minestrone Soup with Rice and Kale | #healthy #vegetarian #soup #recipe #dinner

Rustic Minestrone Soup with Rice and Kale

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Author: Julia


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion finely chopped
  • 3 large carrots peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry brown rice
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 medium zucchini squash chopped
  • 1 medium yellow squash chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste*
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes un-drained
  • 1 14-ounce can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 14-ounce can kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine optional
  • 1 parmesan rind optional
  • 1 large head kale chopped, any type will work!


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion. Saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots and celery, cover, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened but are still al dente, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add the rice, garlic, squash, seasonings, and salt and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, beans, broth, wine, and rind, and bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook 30 to 40 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Taste soup for flavor and add more salt to taste.
  5. Add the chopped kale, cover, and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
  6. Serve soup with grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

Recipe Notes

*Cut back on the sea salt if you're using diced tomatoes and/or broth that is salted


**Omit the Parmesan to keep this recipe vegan.

Never Miss a Post!


  1. Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health

    I saw your IG story and immediately looked up the weather sitch on the news. It’s like feast or famine. Sheesh. I’m glad to hear you are doing okay and I will keep my fingers crossed that the worst is over.

    This soup looks like the perfect cozy winter meal to curl up with! I’ve tried adding the parmesan rind before and it gives a delicious creamy texture. So comforting!

  2. Ashley

    Oh man, the weather is nuts. Sending lots and lots of good vibes your way! Stay safe friend!!

    Minestrone is a HUGE favorite of mine and this looks so cozy!! It was about 7 degrees when I woke up this morning so bring on the soup!!

  3. marcie

    There’s nothing like a hearty bowl of minestrone — it’s one of my favorite soups and I love adding whatever veggies I’ve got in the fridge! And isn’t the weather insane? It’s either feast or famine these days!

  4. tim kimball

    yes on the brown rice [i keep seperate, tp avoid mushiness, and let folks add their own] and kale. WHY SO MANY CANNED ITEMS? WHY DISCARDING PEELS [just wash and chop!]?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.