- April 14, 2021
- 5 / 5
There’s something very comforting about a bowl of traditional minestrone soup. Even though I often make this during the winter months, I’m truly a fan of it year ’round. Why? It’s easy, it’s nostalgic (reminds me of a soup I ate growing up) and it’s simply the tastiest soup!
And, I will tell you that in Arizona, with the air conditioning blasting, sometimes it feels a little wintery in my house!! Yep, you will find me in a sweater most of the summer when I’m indoors! So strange…
This soup begins with sautéing up carrots, onions, celery and Yukon gold potatoes until the onions begin to soften. Crushed tomatoes get added along with beans, broth, Parmesan rinds and spices and that gets cooked down for ten to fifteen minutes.
Let’s discuss the tomatoes. In this recipe, you can use either fire-roasted or regular crushed tomatoes. I say that if you can find the fire-roasted tomatoes, use them! They give a smoky flavor to the soup that is just fab, in my humble opinion!
Can we now talk about the Parmesan rind? I have mentioned this before in other posts, but don’t ever, ever, EVER throw away the rind to a chunk of Parmesan cheese. I throw these into almost every Italian soup or sauce that I’m making. It gives it a nutty, cheesy depth that you can’t achieve by just tossing some grated Parm on top. Whenever I am done with a chunk of Parmesan cheese, I freeze the rind until I need it. You ought to do it too. You won’t be disappointed!
One final note about this soup is that it’s versatile. While this is a vegetarian version, you could always add Italian sausage or ground beef. You can leave the pasta out. You can leave the green beans out and replace them with diced zucchini. Ahhhh…so many options!
Makes: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 white or yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, sliced
1 medium (or 2 small) Yukon gold potatoes, diced into ½ inch cubes (about 1 cup diced potatoes)
1 (28 ounce) can fire roasted or regular crushed tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 3-inch long Parmesan rinds (optional, see Chef’s Note))
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 cups spinach
4 ounces elbow noodles, small shells or fusilli, gluten free if desired
Freshly grated parmesan, for serving
Garlic bread or crostinis
Add olive oil to a large pot or dutch oven and place over medium high heat. Add in diced onion, celery, sliced carrots and potatoes. Sauté for 3-5 minutes or until onions soften.
Add in crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, vegetable broth, Parmesan rinds, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Cover and cook on medium low for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the green beans, spinach and pasta (see Chef’s Notes if you will be freezing this soup). Cook uncovered for 8-12 more minutes or until pasta is al dente and green beans are tender.
Pour into a bowl and serve with parmesan cheese on top. I also like to serve mine with garlic bread, crostinis or crackers.
This soup makes amazing leftovers and is even more delicious the next day.
I love adding Parmesan rinds to hearty soups. Not everyone keeps their rinds (you should freeze them!), so if you don’t have any, just skip that step.
To make vegan: simply use vegetable stock and leave the cheese off the top or use your favorite vegan parmesan.
To add more heartiness and protein with meat: sauté 1 pound ground turkey or beef with the onions and carrots until meat is nice and browned. Continue the recipe as written.
Make it in your slow cooker: Add all of your ingredients besides the spinach and noodles to your slow cooker. Cook this on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours until the carrots and potatoes are fork-tender. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the noodles and spinach and leave soup uncovered until noodles are al dente.
If you’d like you can substitute 1 cup diced zucchini or corn in place of the green beans, or skip the greens beans all together.
To freeze: I’d recommend freezing this soup without the added noodles, as they can become mushy while reheating. Let the soup completely cool, transfer it to a freezer-safe container, and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. To reheat: first let the soup thaw in the refrigerator. While it’s thawing you can make the 4 ounces of pasta on the stovetop. Heat the soup in the microwave or on the stovetop, and then add the cooked noodles.
Recipe adapted from Ambitious Kitchen