I know I’ve said this before, but I will say it over and over again: I love soup. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday! One of my all-time favorites is Minestrone soup, it’s full of yummy vegetables, chicken stock and beans. There’s not much better than a broth based soup. Whenever I search for a Minestrone recipe I get hundreds of options, and after trying a few and finding that there was always a few things I didn’t like about it, I decided I wanted to make my own version that I really loved.
Even though it’s Fall across the rest of the United States, it is still very much Summer down here in Southern California. I miss the cool crisp Fall days of Nampa and wanted to feel like I was experiencing it a little. So even though I was wearing shorts and a tank top with the AC on, I made a huge batch of Minestrone Soup this weekend. And it hit the spot! (At least for me, I can’t say the same for Jesse).
Here’s what you need:
Cooked pasta, spinach, chicken stock, cannellini beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, green beans, onion, zucchini, celery and carrots. You’ll also need oregano, basil, garlic, celery salt, sage and bay leaves. It’s kind of a lot of ingredients, but keep in mind this makes a LOT of soup! I made this in my large dutch oven. A soup pot will work great, but I always prefer my dutch oven when it comes to making soup.
Start by sauteing the diced onions in a large dutch oven until they become very soft – and you know me, the longer they saute the better. When they get soft, about 5 minutes, add in the diced carrots and celery. Continue cooking these for another 7-10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to get a little color and start to soften.
Once the carrots, celery and onions are ready, pour in the chicken stock, which is about 4 cups. I wish I would have had two of these stock containers to use, but instead I used chicken bouillon cubes and ended up pouring in another 6 cups of broth. Yes I realize it’s a lot!
Next you can add in the tomatoes, green beans and cans of kidney beans and cannelini beans. In the ingredients picture I only showed one can of diced tomatoes, but I actually used two cans with their juice. I used some fresh green beans that I blanched and then cut into 1 inch pieces. Originally I was only going to use the one can of cannelini beans but I decided I liked using both kinds. I just drained off the juice but didn’t rinse them before adding the beans to the pot.
Next, add in the partially cooked pasta. Some recipes call for the pasta to be cooked while others call for it to be uncooked when you put it in. I know I like a lot of broth in my soup so if I added in the pasta uncooked it would’ve soaked up a lot of my broth, so I cooked the pasta just before the al dente stage and then rinsed it under cool water so it would stop cooking and added it in.
Add in all the flavor and then give it a good stir. I added sage, bay leaves, celery salt, garlic, oregano and black pepper. I didn’t add any plain salt because I knew the bouillon cubes would have plenty and the celery salt was salty enough. The celery salt is definitely optional because I realize most people don’t have this in their spice stash, so use any seasoning salt, just a little at a time so your soup doesn’t get overly salty.
Cover the dutch oven or soup pot and let simmer for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes add in the zucchini, give the soup a good stir and then recover and simmer another 10 minutes.
Once the soup has simmered make sure the vegetables are tender and taste the broth and check the flavoring. Add any additional seasonings and then add in the spinach and chopped fresh basil. It will wilt as soon as it gets stirred into the soup, so you can stir a little in and see if you need to or want to add more. I ended up adding an additional cup and I’m glad I did.
The soup looks so delicious! At this point I had only added 8 cups of broth and decided I wanted to add two more for a total of 10 cups. As long as the broth gets flavored when it’s added, you really can’t have too much. I like a good proportion of veggies to broth, so I always add more.
This soup was super scrumptious, but there are a few things I would have changed and will change next time I make it.
I used about a cup to a cup and a half of each veggie, and so next time I would take about 1/2 cup out of each one since it was very veggie heavy. I like a very balanced soup, so I could’ve added more broth or stock but my dutch oven was already full. Next time I make this soup I will max out my stock at 8 cups and then add another can of tomatoes with their juice or add a few tablespoons of tomato paste to add a richer flavor. The last thing I would do differently for added flavor is simmer the soup with the rind of Parmesan cheese.
The recipe below reflects the changes I would make. This soup serves about 8-10 people, so you can easily halve the recipe. I made this much purposefully so that I could eat half over the next several days for a quick lunch and then freeze the rest of it for another day.
Top your bowl of soup with shredded parmesan cheese and enjoy with a nice piece of crusty garlic french bread!
- 2 T oil
- 1/2 Onion, diced
- 1/2 cup Carrots, chopped
- 1 stalk Celery, chopped
- 6-8 cups Chicken Stock
- 2- 14 oz. cans Diced Tomatoes with juice
- 2 T Tomato Paste
- 1- 14 oz can Kidney beans, drained
- 1- 14 oz can Cannelini beans, drained
- 3/4 cups Green Beans, chopped in 1" pieces
- 1- 1-1/2 cups small Pasta, partially cooked
- 1 medium Zucchini, chopped into 1" rounds, then quartered
- 2 cups Spinach, packed tightly
- 1 tsp Sage
- 2-3 Bay Leaves
- 2 tsp Celery Salt
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp Dried Oregano
- Parmesan Cheese and Fresh Basil
- Saute onion in oil until soft, then add in carrots and celery and stir until soft, about 7 minutes
- Pour in broth, tomatoes, beans, pasta and seasonings, stir and simmer for 20 minutes
- Add in zucchini, then simmer another 10 minutes
- Taste broth and adjust seasonings
- Stir in spinach and fresh basil