Sticking to a brain-healthy diet can seem overwhelming, but you can make it easier on yourself by meal-prepping. Try this recipe for Minestrone Soup with Herbs and Whole-Grain Pasta from the Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep cookbook by Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO.

Minestrone is a filling and well-balanced Italian-inspired soup with fiber – and protein – rich beans, a variety of antioxidant-packed veggies, and whole-grain pasta. As minestrone is traditionally a tomato-based soup, this recipe is not nightshade-free (though, if you’re not sensitive to nightshades, they can be very anti-inflammatory).

Makes 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, cut into thin rounds
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch half-moons
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1 (15.5 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup whole wheat or bean rotini or elbow pasta

  1. In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, green beans, and zucchini and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the vegetables soften. Add the garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the tomatoes and broth. Increase heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Then cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the canned beans and uncooked pasta and cook, uncovered, for 11 to 15 minutes more, until the pasta is tender. Allow to cool before storing.
  4. Portion the soup into 6 large containers.

*Storage: This recipe yields 6 servings, but the meal plan only uses two. Freeze the other 4 servings for future weeks or eat as a snack or side. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

*Substitution tip: This soup also tastes great prepared spicy – add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes if you enjoy spicy food. Other herbs, like fresh basil, fresh dill, thyme, or a bay leaf (removed when the soup is finished) also fit well in this recipe and provide antioxidants.

Per serving: Calories: 171; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Protein: 6g; Total Carbohydrates: 25g; Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 5g; Cholesterol: 0mg

Excerpt from Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep: 6 Weekly Plans and 80+ Recipes to Simplify Your Healing, by Ginger Hultin MS RDN CSO, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2020 by Callisto Media. All rights reserved. 

Photo credit: Darren Muir

Interested in more recipes from the Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep Cookbook? Learn more and buy it here.