Warm bowl of minnestrone soup with basil pesto on the side
Plant-based, Soups

Minestrone soup

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Minestrone is a great way to get your veggies! Eat the rainbow in one bowl of healthy soup. This colorful minestrone soup recipe features fresh in-season vegetables. It tastes great with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, but this garnish can be left off for a well-balanced plant-based meal.

Warm bowl of minnestrone soup with basil pesto on the side
Healthy minestrone soup

Minestrone is by far one of my favorite soups. It is a hearty Italian soup made with fresh in-season vegetables. There are no hard or fast rules about what goes into minestrone. Use what is fresh and in-season. Change it up and use what you prefer. This philosophy of eating and preparing food seasonally greatly impacted me when I lived in Italy. Not all vegetables were available at all times.

A hearty bowl of minestrone soup. Pesto on the side.
Serve with pesto and Parmesan

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Minestrone is especially delicious with a spoonful of fresh pesto onto top of each bowlful. When paired with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, it is a fresh flavor burst that will ignite your senses.  To keep things simple, in this version of Minestrone, I use canned San Marzano whole tomatoes. You can certainly use fresh tomatoes, like pictured below if you prefer. Also pictured in this big bowl is the addition of escarole (Italian greens), chick peas and elbow pasta.

Minestrone is a great way to get your veggies! Eat the rainbow in one bowl of healthy soup. Use up any left-over vegetables in this great soup.

A big bowl of minestrone soup featuring fresh vegetables.

Helpful kitchen tools for this recipe:

Le Creuset Round French (Dutch) Oven
J.A. Henckels International Forged Premio 18-Piece Block Set

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone is a hearty Italian soup made with fresh in-season vegetables. There are no hard or fast rules about what goes into “the big soup.” Use what’s fresh, in-season and what you prefer. For a fresh flavor burst, top each bowlful with a spoonful of fresh pesto.

  • 2 – 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion (about 1 cup) (diced)
  • 1 stalk leek (about 1 cup)
  • 1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 medium-sized carrots
  • 2 1/2 ribs celery (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cups cabbage
  • 1 1/2 small zucchinis (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 can San Marzano whole tomatoes (28 oz can)
  • 1 can vegetable broth (14.5 oz can)
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 – 8 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 can cannellini beans (15 oz can)
  • fresh pesto or grated Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
  1. Chop all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans. Heath the olive oil on medium-high in a large Dutch oven. Saute the onion and leek until they begin to soften. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the carrots, celery and cabbage and continue to saute for several minutes. Finally, add the zucchini and tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon.
  2. Add the vegetable broth, oregano, salt and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the cannellini beans. Reduce the heat and simmer covered on low for 1 – 1 1/2 hrs or until the vegetables are fork tender.
  3. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve with a garnish of fresh pesto or grated Parmesan cheese.

Optional: Add 1 – 3/4 cup small pasta or rice about 8 – 10 minutes prior to end of cooking time.

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