Add pasta to minestrone for a hearty meal

Oneforthetable.com

So far, I have stuck to my New Year’s resolutions, except for the part about the peppermint bark. I resolved to eat nothing but healthy foods and have done so religiously since December 31. I just gave the peppermint bark (what was left of it) to my aunt, so now I am totally on track.

I recently made this soup, which is full of high-fiber vegetables and makes you feel virtuous even before you finish chopping the leeks. I’ve been eating it all week and I feel as fit as, say, that guy in “Creed.” (Michael B. Jordan, not Sylvester Stallone.)

I have to be honest. It’s a pain in the neck to make, but it’s worth the trouble because you end up with enough for several meals. Plus, you get all that upper-body exercise from the veggie choppage. OK, it’s unlikely Jordan got those biceps by this method, but still.

So give your peppermint bark to an unsuspecting relative and make this soup. You will be glad you did.

Hearty Minestrone

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion chopped

2 leeks (white part only), well rinsed and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 head savoy cabbage, shredded

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

2 ribs of celery, diced

1 medium potato (any kind) peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice

1 parsnip, peeled and diced

2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth

1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes with their juices

1/2 cup frozen petite peas

1/2 cup frozen corn kernels

1 can (15 ounces) small white beans or pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Melt the butter in the oil in a large soup pot over low heat. Add the onion and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 15 minutes.

Add the garlic, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1 minute. Raise the heat to medium-low and add the cabbage. Cook, stirring once or twice, for about 5 minutes.

Add the carrots and cook, stirring once or twice, for about 2 minutes. Repeat this with the celery, potato and parsnip, in that order, adding one vegetable at a time and cooking each for 2 minutes or so.

Add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Raise the heat to medium and bring the soup to a simmer. Then return the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer it for about 1 hour.

Add the peas, corn and beans, and cook for 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot, passing the cheese separately. Makes 12 servings.

Variations: You can substitute any vegetables for those listed. Think green beans, broccoli, a turnip, a rutabaga — anything your family will tolerate (or not notice). Also, at the end of cooking, you can throw in a handful of diced cooked chicken or meat. You can also put a scoop of cooked rice or pasta at the bottom of each diner’s bowl and pour the soup over it.

Per serving: 153 calories; 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 41 percent calories from fat); 18 g carbohydrates; 4 g sugar; 12 mg cholesterol; 389 mg sodium; 6 g protein; 4 g fiber.