Today's post is presented to you by April's miserably cold, wet weather. I'm trying to keep it together, because I know many people have it so much worse, but I'm tired. I'm tired of the cold. I'm tired of the rain. I'm tired of feeling sad. I need sunshine and warmth. Because sometimes that's all that's required to lift our spirits.
For now, I'll have to settle on this minestrone soup. It certainly is warm and comforting and happens to be my favorite minestrone soup recipe to date. I make it throughout the winter and especially when my family needs a little immune boost!
Hopefully you always have onions on hand. They are the base for so many recipes. My fridge is always stocked with carrots and celery at all times, so I can whip together just about any soup or stew. And, of course there are those pantry staples I'm always talking about... beans and tomatoes. A must have, especially nowadays.
Minestrone soup is perfect for using up those unwanted vegetables that have been sitting in your fridge. But I personally love the flavor combination of these particular veggies in this recipe.
*And remember that pesto from the last post? I didn't have any fresh parsley, which I would normally use in this recipe, so I used the leftover pesto instead. It added an extra layer of garlicky, fresh herb flavor. Truth be told, the pesto is also perfect for dipping warm, crusty bread (pure joy)!!
Hope this recipe brings you some warmth, happiness and hope for better days ahead!
I cook my pasta in the same pot to save time and for ease in clean up. Depending on the pasta you use, it can absorb quite a bit of liquid. I like to use small shaped pastas like ditalini or small shells to prevent too much soup liquid from being absorbed. It is also important to cook the pasta al dente, especially if you plan on letting the soup sit on the stove awhile before serving, as it will continue to cook a bit more. I would recommend moving the pot to a cooler space somewhere on your kitchen countertop to cool, if not serving immediately.
My Favorite Minestrone Soup
- 32 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 onion diced
- 4 large carrots or 8 small/medium chopped
- 4 celery stalks chopped
- 1 large zucchini quartered then chopped
- 1 heaping cup fresh string beans cut in half if large
- ¾ cup shell pasta
- 15 oz. can cannellini or kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 cups vegetable stock low sodium recommended
- olive oil
- coarse salt and fresh pepper
- handful fresh parsley and/or pre-made pesto* see above
- grated cheese optional
- Heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot.
- Add the onions, carrots and celery and generous pinch of salt.
- Saute for 5 min until onions are translucent and veggies begin to soften.
- Add the string beans and zucchini and saute for another 3 min.
- Add the vegetable stock and bay leaves (parsley if using) and stir to combine.
- Bring to a gentle boil then simmer for 30 min.
- Add in beans and pasta and cook until pasta is al dente according to package instructions *see side note above
- Remove soup from heat.
- Serve with a dallop of pesto (optional).
- Salt and pepper to taste.