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.
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.
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!
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!!
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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Love, GB (Betty Streff)
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