Minestrone with Spelt Berries

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by | Updated: December 4th, 2016

Today, comfort comes in a bowl of minestrone soup. Packed with veggies, beans and spices, this hearty meal is just what you need to face the harsh weather. Unlike traditional versions filled with rice or pasta, this one-pot recipe gets a whole grain boost from nutritious spelt berries. The winter blues are no match for this warming soup.  

Minestrone with Spelt Berries

Minestrone with Spelt Berries

Recipe courtesy of Michelle Abendschan
Serves 6


¾ cup spelt berries, soaked overnight
1-28 oz. can San Marzano peeled tomatoes
1-15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1-½ cups peeled and cubed (about ½-inch) butternut or acorn squash
1 bunch Tuscan kale, stalks removed, leaves chopped
2 carrots, washed and chopped
1 white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 strip bacon, diced (for a vegetarian version, replace with 1 Tbsp. olive oil)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried thyme
5 cups homemade or low-sodium vegetable broth
Garnishes: chopped fresh basil, olive oil, shaved Parmesan cheese


  1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove strip and set aside, but leave bacon fat in the pot.
  2. In the soup pot over medium-low heat, cook the squash, carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaf, oregano and thyme for 10 minutes in the bacon fat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Drain spelt and add to pot with tomatoes, crushing them with your hands a bit, and liquid from the can, kidney beans and vegetable broth. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, add kale and bacon. Cook, uncovered, for 10 more minutes. (If needed, thin with additional water or broth.) Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with chopped basil, olive oil and Parmesan cheese.