Classic minestrone soup is a great weeknight meal. Rich tomatoey broth full of fresh vegetables, hearty white beans and pasta is topped with a sprinkling of fresh herbs to make this soup a nutritious and delicious dinner.
Minestrone is an easy soup recipe for dinner, it is full of nutrients and fiber and it’s always a crowd-pleaser, making it a great option for family dinners.
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Making a good pot of minestrone is all about timing. It is full of vegetables that cook at different rates, so knowing when to add them is the key to perfectly cooked vegetables in your soup.
This recipe makes 4 quarts of soup. You might think that is much more than you’ll need, trust me, it isn’t. We are a family of two and I always make this much soup to have leftovers for lunches during the week.
Minestrone is great for meal-prepping because you are getting a nutritious, good for you lunch that fills you up and is delicious.
How to make minestrone soup from scratch
Minestrone soup doesn’t have a strict recipe. This soup uses whatever vegetables are available, which makes it the perfect soup. You can use root vegetables in the fall like I did for an autumn minestrone or you can use whatever you happen to have on hand.
There are basics, like carrots, onions, celery, zucchini, etc. in most minestrone recipes. But, if you don’t like zucchini, you can omit it and carry on with the rest of the soup.
If you’re planning to use dry beans, the first step is to soak the beans overnight. Keep in mind that they will triple in volume after soaking and they’ll get a bit bigger after cooking.
Sauté the aromatics (or mirepoix) – carrots, onions and celery to start building a flavor base for the soup. After that, the vegetables and beans simmer in the tomatoey broth until tender.
We reserve some of the vegetables for the end as well as the pasta to ensure delicate vegetables don’t overcook in the soup.
Chopping vegetables doesn’t take long, but if you plan ahead and chop them the night before, you’ll save yourself 15 – 20 minutes on the day you are making soup.
If you are really pressed for time, the grocery store usually sells pre cut veggies. You pay for the convenience of it with a slightly higher price tag, but in a pinch, it is an option.
To avoid mushy pasta in my soup, I add the pasta at the very end if I’m serving the entire pot. If I know I’ll have leftovers, or will be freezing some of the soup for later, I cook the pasta separately to add when I’m ready to eat it.
I loathe mushy pasta and will avoid it at all costs. If this is you too, keep the macaroni separate until you’re ready to serve your soup.
The minestrone is finished off with a handful of fresh herbs and we are ready to eat!
Freezing minestrone soup
Freezing soup is a lifesaver when you need lunch or dinner, but you don’t feel like cooking. Stackable 16 ounce containers are perfect for the freezer and they won’t break or shatter if you drop one.
What to serve with minestrone soup for dinner
For dessert, rich chocolate hazelnut bread pudding is an excellent way to end this meal.
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- 1 cup dried white beans (or 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 8 cups vegetable broth (or chicken stock)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 2 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 cup fresh green beans, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup elbow macaroni (or ditalini pasta)
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- If using dry beans - soak beans overnight with enough water to cover by 3 inches. Drain and rinse beans.
- In a large stock pot over medium heat, add olive oil and sweat onions, garlic, celery and carrots with 1 tsp salt. When vegetables have started to soften, about 6 - 8 minutes, add vegetable broth or chicken stock, beans, tomatoes and remaining salt and pepper. Simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add zucchini, fresh green beans, frozen peas and pasta. Cook another 5 - 10 minutes until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.
- Add fresh herbs and stir to combine. Serve.
If I have a piece of parmesan rind, this is a great use for it. Put the cheese rind in your pot of soup when you are simmering to let the parmesan rind flavor the soup. (not vegan)
If you plan to freeze a portion of the soup, portion out what you plan to freeze before adding pasta to avoid mushy macaroni.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 115Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1312mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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