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Easy Minestrone Soup Recipe

January 20, 2014
Kelli Dunn

Fun fact: there's actually no set or standard recipe for the ever-popular minestrone soup! It's just a hearty Italian soup chock full of vegetables — such as onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes and beans. It also uses seasonal fresh vegetables, and since those are always changing, so is the recipe.  Some versions of Minestrone include pasta, but I think brown rice or quinoa could do just as well.

This is my favorite way to prepare minestrone (wine included!). Notice that I didn't refer to it as a "recipe". That's because I want you to think of this as more of a guideline rather than a recipe.  You'll want to include the basics (onion, carrot, celery, canned tomatoes, stock, garlic and herbs), but beyond that this soup is a blank canvas. Try adding a new grain, or your favorite seasonal veggie. This month, I might consider kale, potatoes, leeks, or cauliflower!

Easy Minestrone Soup

Serves 4-6

What You'll Need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 small zucchini, quartered and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup dry red wine (optional)
2 tablespoons any combination of dried oregano, basil and/or thyme
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Other optional add-ins:
1/2 cup dry pasta (add this in the last 10 minutes of cooking)
2 cups shredded baby spinach or kale
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup fresh or frozen corn or peas
1 15-ounce can kidney beans
1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup diced cauliflower
1-2 cup shredded meat, or pre-cooked sausage

What to Do:

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, carrot, celery, zucchini, and garlic, season with a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. Stir to coat with the oil and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.
  3. If using wine, add the wine to the pot and cook until it's almost entirely reduced.
  4. Stir in the dried herbs, diced tomatoes, and stock.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, adding the cannellini beans in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week, or freeze for up to three months.