My Kids favorite Minestrone Soup
Minestrone is a thick Italian soup made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice. The name minestrone means "big soup" thanks to the amount of veggies that are stirred in one pot. Minestrone was traditionally made to use up leftover vegetables, and ingredients that you often have at hand such as beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, tomatoes and pasta or rice. so feel free to use any seasonal vegetables and greens you have on hand. I used sweet potatoes and kale for the soup and it was absolutely delicious. Use a hunk of parmesan cheese in the tomatoes broth (just the Rind) it will add richness and depth to the soup plus more cheese shavings on top. This is a soup I make almost once or twice a month when the weather gets cooler. It’s loaded with veggies and plant based protein, it’s made in one pot and tastes even better the next day, my kids really love it. A big bowl of soup, a hunk of bread and back to the tv to watch more election news, I might need extra cheese and maybe some red wine.
Serves 6 to 8
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 60 min minutes
1 yellow onion finely chopped
1 bay leaf
Two sprigs fresh rosemary
3 stalks celery chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 sweet potato diced
3 garlic cloves
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans (not traditional but extra protein) rinsed and drained
1 cup short pasta (I used orzo)
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt, and freshly ground black pepper
1 (2x3-inch) Parmesan rind
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes or a can of diced tomatoes
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth or just water there’s lots of flavor in the soup
4 cups chopped kale or spinach
Parmesan cheese and crusty bread, for serving
To a soup pot or a Dutch oven add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil begins to sizzle, add the onion and a sprinkling of salt, and hot pepper flakes if using, and sauté until softened about 3 minutes. Add the diced carrots and celery and cook for a few minute 4to 5 minutes. The caramelized veggies will add a nice depth and flavor to the soup.
Add the sweet potato and garlic and sauté until slightly softened.
Add the bay leaf, Rosemary sprigs, tomatoes, and broth. Add the Parmesan rind, crushed tomatoes, 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth or even water, and the beans. Stir to combine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Stir in 1 cup dry short pasta, during the final 6 to 8 minutes of cooking
Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove the Parmesan rind, the rosemary stem, and the bay leaf.
Stir in the 4 cups of kale and simmer until combined and the greens wilt. About 5 more minutes. Adjust your seasoning.
Serve the soup with more Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and some crusty bread.
Vegetable and bean variations: feel free to use whatever in season or what you have at hand. If you don’t like kale use spinach if you don’t have sweet potatoes, add regular potatoes. Add zucchini or bite size broccoli florets. Experiment and have fun.
Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Soup thickens in the fridge, add more water or broth when reheating or as needed.
This soup freezes real well for up to 6 months in freezer safe containers.