Italian Minestrone Soup

This recipe for minestrone soup has a somewhat funny origin. Years ago, my oldest sister had a school assignment to study a country and then cook a meal from that country's cuisine. She picked Italy and made this Italian Minestrone Soup. The soup recipe has evolved a little bit since then but I always smile and think of her when I make it.

minestrone soup

As most soups go, this recipe is pretty versatile. I often make it without noodles, especially when serving it with bread, just to lighten things up a bit. You can put in just about any bean you'd like (I've used chickpeas before) but I've decided that I like it best with cannellini beans. 

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large or 2 small zucchini, sliced into one-inch pieces
  • 1 large carrot, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced small
  • 1 can of cannellini beans (also known as white kidney beans), drained
    (in the picture above, you can see that I also used red kidney beans, but I've since then decided that I prefer this soup without them)
  • 1 jar of diced tomatoes
  • 6-8 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons of butter (omit to make this soup vegan)
  • 1 teaspoons of salt
  • to serve: black pepper, parmesan cheese, bread, and wine

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large pot, over medium heat. Sauté the onion until soft, then add the garlic, being careful not to let it burn. Add the zucchini, carrot, and celery. Then add the rest of the ingredients. I always find that I like this soup with more broth, so I lean towards adding 8 cups. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and let simmer for at least one hour. Serve with the best bread you can find and a generous grating of parmesan.