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How To Make Amazing Minestrone Soup

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Last Modified: February 4, 2024
Published: February 4, 2024

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Hearty And Filling Perfect For Lent

Minestrone soup has a rich history that dates back hundreds of years. It's a popular Italian vegetable soup at Olive Garden, but it's different in every kitchen when it's homemade. The ingredients vary depending on the cook's preferences and what's available when the mood for minestrone hits.

minestrone soup in a bowl

Even in Italy, minestrone soup recipes vary because there is no exact "official" recipe. Minestrone means thick vegetable soup. When Rome conquered all of Italy around the second century BC, trade increased, and more people had access to a wider variety of vegetables.

That's when minestrone was born. Centuries later, the word minestrone finally made its way into the English language somewhere around 1871.

Why You Will Love Minestrone Soup

Minestrone doesn't take a long time to make. A lovely pot of this tasty soup can be ready in under an hour; it reheats very well and tastes even better the next day. It's packed with tons of flavor from lots of vegetables in a tomato-ey broth, and it's vegan, so it's perfect for Lent, which begins in just a few days!

I served minestrone to guests recently, and my nephew showed the soup to his son and said, "Look! It has so many vegetables in it; you can't get everything in a single spoonful!"

Well described! This soup is full of many different vegetables, making a wonderful, hearty soup perfect for vegetarians. Idea: Tuck this recipe away for Lent or put it in your Meatless Monday rotation!

Five Great Reasons Why You Should Eat Minestrone Soup

  • Soup takes longer to eat than some foods and makes you slow down long enough that you don't overeat like we can when we wolf down our food quickly. What's more, eating slowly gives us an opportunity to linger and have a real conversation at the table! That's very healthy!
  • It's packed with vegetables and beans, loaded with antioxidants, and provides great nutrition. The more colorful, the better, and you can add any seasonal vegetables like kale, swiss chard, broccoli, parsnips, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and more.
  • Vegetables are low in fat and full of fiber, just what the doctor ordered for a heart-healthy Mediterranean-type diet. It helps you feel full longer because it is digested slowly and is great for intestinal health, too. It slows down the absorption of sugar and gastric emptying.
  • Orange and yellow vegetables have beta-carotene, which is essential for healthy hair, eyes, and skin. A virtual alphabet of vitamins helps to reduce the inflammation that can cause aches and pains.
  • Potassium and magnesium in a vegetable-rich soup like this help the body release excess fluid that causes fluid retention and swelling.

How To Make A Great Pot Of Minestrone Soup

Start by sauteeing onion, garlic, and celery in a little olive oil until everything is tender, fragrant, and a little translucent. Then add water, a vegetable broth base, packaged vegetable bouillon (more about that in a minute), and all the canned vegetables, carrots, pepper, spices, and kidney beans.

I prefer the Knorr brand vegetable bouillon base. They are not paying me to say so, but it's great! It comes in large cubes, but now I buy it in the restaurant-sized tub because it adds so much flavor to so many things I make.

The tub has a long shelf life and makes 11 gallons of broth. (Plenty to share!) Better Than Bouillon also makes a good paste-type vegetable base in a jar. Refer to the label to see how much to use for two quarts.

Let that simmer for a while, and give all the ingredients a chance to know each other better. Add the pasta and the zucchini ten or fifteen minutes before serving it, and toss the spinach with 5 minutes to go. It takes no time to cook the spinach.

Minestrone can simmer on the stove longer, but if you are trying to get it on the table quickly, this is all the time you need. Toss a handful of shredded or shaved parmesan on top if you like! Serve it with plenty of crusty bread and maybe a big green salad for a wonderful meal perfect for cold days.

Here's a ridiculously easy bread you can make to go with it; start it the night before and bake it the day you make the soup. It costs pennies to make but looks like it came from a fancy bakery, but it takes no bread-making skills! Bellisimo!!

Yield: 12 servings

Minestrone Soup

minestrone soup

A colorful, healthy, veggie-packed soup with pasta in a delicious tomato-ey vegetable broth.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed or crushed
  • 1 cup celery, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Two quarts water or vegetable bouillon (If you use water, add vegetable broth base to make 2 quarts. I prefer Knorr brand vegetable bouillon cubes or their bulk vegetable base in the restaurant tub. Better Than Bouillon also makes a good paste-type vegetable base.)
  • 1 tsp dry oregano or more to taste
  • 1 tsp dried basil or more to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper or to taste
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes, approximately 15 ounces, do not drain
  • 1 can French cut green beans, approximately 15 ounces, do not drain
  • 1 can kidney beans, approximately 15 ounces, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup or more fresh spinach, chopped (I remove any large stems)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup unpeeled zucchini, cut in half if large, and sliced thin
  • 1 cup small shell pasta
  • 1 cup or more fresh spinach, chopped (I remove any large stems)
  • Grated or shredded fresh parmesan cheese for garnish if desired.

Instructions

  1. Saute onion, garlic, and celery in olive oil until tender and fragrant.
  2. Add water and vegetable broth base or vegetable bouillon cubes to make two quarts of broth. Refer to the label on the product for the amount you need to make the vegetable broth. You can also use packaged vegetable broth or bouillon.
  3. Add the spices.
  4. Add undrained petite diced tomatoes and green beans. Add drained and rinsed kidney beans and shredded carrots. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Add pasta and zucchini and cook 8-10 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
  6. Add chopped spinach and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  7. Ladle into bowls and garnish with shredded or grated parmesan cheese if desired.

We live on soup for much of the winter because we love cooking once and eating two or three times. Cleanup is a breeze when you aren't washing pots and pans.

Here are some of our favorite soup recipes; we hope you enjoy them! Old-Fashioned Cabbage Soup With Potatoes and Sausage, Instant Pot Beef Noodle Soup, and easy Crack Chicken Chili! Hungry for more? Type 'soup" in the search bar for more!

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If you haven't already, please check out my Facebook page and find me on Pinterest, where I will post easy, delicious, and family-friendly recipes every week!

Love, GB (Betty Streff)

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