Minestrone is a hearty Italian vegetable soup made with tomato based broth and pasta. It is traditionally made to use up leftover vegetables, so feel free to use any seasonal vegetables and greens you have on hand. Sometimes we use potatoes and spinach, and the next time we add kale, corn and squash. We also substitute straight chopped tomatoes instead of the tomato paste and broth combination.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium ribs celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (4 oz) tomato paste
  • 2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables (potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini and/or green + wax beans, corn, cabbage)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 Tbs each fresh oregano, basil and thyme
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 32 oz vegetable broth + 2 cups water
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup uncooked whole grain orecchiette, small shells or pearl couscous pasta
  • 15 oz great northern, garbanzo or cannellini beans
  • 2 cups chopped spinach, kale or collards
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shiny, add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and the onions are turning translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste, seasonal vegetables (except greens), garlic, oregano, basil and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juice, broth and water. Add the salt and red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Raise heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.
  5. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and add the pasta, beans and greens. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the the pasta is cooked al dente and the greens are tender.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat. Taste and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Garnish bowls of soup with grated Parmesan if desired.

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