5:2 Diet - Minestrone Soup

I had a break from my 5:2 diet over Christmas and New Year. There were too many meals out with friends, too many drinks and nibbles, too many mince pies and that isn't even taking account of all the goodies on Christmas day.

I was back at work on the 7th of January and right back into my routine. I always do my first 5:2 fast (under 500 calories) of the week on a Monday and then the second day varies. It's always on a work day. I have a schedule on a work day, so it is much easier.

I made this minestrone last week as I knew my parents were going to be around for dinner and my dad loves minestrone soup. He is a bit of a minestrone aficionado. He always orders it in a restaurant, if it's on the menu. Mind you he isn't as fond of the green pesto style minestrone.

This is the first time I've made minestrone. I thought it was slurpilicious. So rich and tasty with lovely big chunks of vegetables, as well as the beans and pasta.

The response from my family was varied. Cooper was just getting over a bug and wasn't up to eating, so he just sat with us and had a drink. My dad said "it's really good and I'm enjoying it, but there's too much tomato for me". Graham came to the conclusion he doesn't like pasta in soup, so he would prefer it without the pasta next time and my mum, well she loved it. As the saying goes, you can't please all of the people all of the time!

For me this is a winner. Tasty and filling, just perfect for a fast day and low in calories too. My recipe made a huge potful, which would serve between 8 and 10 people a generous bowlful. I've based my calories on 8 huge portions.

198 calories per serving

I used Polish Lubella pasta threads in my soup which is like a thin, broken spaghetti, but you can use whichever pasta you prefer, or if you are cooking it for Graham, don't add any. *sigh*

print recipe

Minestrone (198 calories)
A rich and tasty, low calorie soup perfect for those who are watching their weight, but want a filling and satisfying meal.
  • 1 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 medium courgettes (zucchini), chopped
  • 8 medium carrots, chopped
  • 100g spinach, chopped
  • 3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tins cannellini beans
  • 150g lubella strand pasta (or other)
  • 5 pints/10 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • a good grinding of salt & freshly ground pepper
  • a generous handful fresh parsley, chopped
1. Saute the onion in garlic in the rapeseed oil until soft and translucent. Then add the celery, courgette and carrots and cook gently for a few minutes.2. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, beans, spinach and vegetable stock. Mix well and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and leave it to simmer gently for 15 minutes.3. Add the pasta and cook for another 15 minutes. Season and add the fresh herbs.4. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: 8-10 servings

I am submitting my minestrone to:

Herbs on Saturday

Herbs on Saturday is a monthly challenge focusing on using herbs in cooking. It is the brainchild of Karen over at Lavender and Lovage but is being hosted by Vanesther over at Bangers and Mash this month.

If you would like to join in, you have until the 31 January 2013.


  1. I love minestrone! I think pasta in soups helps make them feel more filling.

    1. I'm with you there Pam, it definitely helps.

    2. I am only just starting out with my husband on the 5:2 diet today after haering about it last week and devouring the book by the "fantastic" duo. I have , however been making homemade minestrone for years ( having married into an italian family)I have found - not only for dietary reasons - that if you boil the pasta seperately it makes for a clearer and ( to many people's opinion) nicer( some say more stylish) soup. When you see the amount of starch in the cooking water you pour away, this becomes obvious. If you have already precooked the pasta as well as the soup, you can add a really small splash of water into the pasta and gently re-heat in the microwave , then strain before adding to the really hot soup. This also allows for smaller children to have more pasta and those who do not like it to avoid it altogether thus making it into a pure vegetable soup.Give it a try for even less calories !

  2. Looks delish, nothing better than soup on a cold winters day!

    1. Especially on a snowy day like today Shon :)

  3. ...but... but... the pasta is what MAKES it! A lovely al dente ditalini is supposed to go in Minestrone!
    Once again, Graham is totally wrong.

    And it IS easier to do a 5:2 when you're fully busy and engaged working with your hands - you're on a schedule, have limited time to fuss - it works beautifully then. If I do it otherwise it always feels like I have too much time to think about food/cooking/eating...

    1. Haha, I will tell him that and yes, it is definitely better to keep busy. Although I am never really hungry on fast days.

  4. ANOTHER fabulous entry for Herbs on Saturday, thanks so much for this Jac, now please serve me a BIG bowl!Karen

    1. Would do if I had any left. Oh wait a minute, I have some in the freezer ........

  5. I love minestrone - great satisfying soup for your fast days - was surprised that Graham doesn't like pasta in soup - it just seems such a great comfort to me - and sounds like you need a good hearty soup in your current weather - are you finding fast day harder when it is cold?

    1. I am a bit surprised about that too. It's a strange thing not to like. Oh well. To me it is perfect for my fast days. So tasty. I wouldn't say I am finding the fasting any different in this bad weather.

  6. Lovely looking soup - can't believe how low cal it is too! A bowl of soup really fills you up

    1. I know, I was a bit worried when I was totting it up, but once it was divided by the 8 portions, it was nothing. Lovely too!

  7. What a great way to lose weight and eat delicious and healthy!

    Thanks for the recipe, regards


  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. Fantastic recipe! I hate courgettes and celery normally but in this soup it is gorgeous - thank you x

  13. I hate celery too but I might skip including it in the soup. I've never tried cooking minestrone before, so this will be a nice challenge :)


  14. This soup is so delicious, it doesn't seem possible that it is so low in calories. It is meals like this that makes the 5:2 diet such a pleasure - mind you, it fits in with 'normal' eating habits as well. Your Minestrone soup on 5:2 diet days makes winter a treat! Thank you for this recipe.


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x

Back to Top