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Easy Vegetable Minestrone Soup

by Jeanette on February 28, 2011 · 10 Comments
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Easy Vegetable Minestrone Soup with Whole Wheat Pasta and Lots of Vegetables

Today is the last in a series of soup classes I’ve been teaching at our local community center. It’s been a tremendous experience, sharing some home cooking with a group of seniors in the hope of encouraging them to get back into the kitchen to cook healthy meals versus buying processed foods.

We’ve had lots of fun and exchanged useful tips about the best local supermarkets to buy fresh produce, talked about what everyone’s favorite soups are, and enjoyed a number of hot healthy lunches. I’ve been especially pleased to hear that a number of the students in my class have made the soups I’ve been demonstrating since that was the original intent of the soup series.

So far, we’ve made a Simple Lentil Soup, Mushroom Barley Soup, and Cuban Black Bean Soup. To go along with these soups, we’ve also been making some healthy green salads. For our last class, I am making an Easy Minestrone Soup based on popular request, served with a simple tomato artichoke salad and some garlic herb toasted whole grain bread.

Minestrone Soup used to be one of my favorite soups, but I haven’t made it in a while. I’m so glad the class requested Minestrone Soup as it reminded me of why I love this soup (I made a big pot and have been enjoying it over the weekend!). Minestrone Soup is typically chock full of vegetables, beans and pasta. It’s thick and hearty, almost like a stew, perfect for the wintry days we’ve been having in the Northeast. Almost any vegetables can be included in Minestrone Soup, but I like mine with some chunky vegetables and leafy green vegetables to add different textures to the soup. Sometimes pasta is cooked directly in the soup, but I prefer to add cooked whole grains or cooked pasta to the soup before I serve it. That way, the grains or pasta don’t absorb all the soup. Also, since I have a gluten-free child, I can add gluten-free pasta or brown rice to a portion of this Minestrone Soup, and other grains or pastas to the rest of the soup if I choose.

To make this soup even healthier, I used kidney beans (which are high in fiber), cabbage (a cruciferous vegetable), baby spinach (a leafy green vegetable) and whole grain farro (I also made some with whole wheat pasta). To add a some bright flavor to this soup before serving, I like to stir in a spoonful of pesto. A sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese is optional, but adds even more flavor and umami.

Easy Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup is really versatile. Feel free to use cannellini beans or other beans, kale or other leafy green vegetables, and any loose vegetables sitting in your refrigerator. You can also throw in a chopped potato for an even heartier soup. This soup freezes well, just don’t add any pasta (you can add whole grains before freezing however).  

Easy Vegetable Minestrone Soup with Farro and Spinach Basil Pesto
Printable Recipe
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 cup green cabbage or savoy cabbage, shredded
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup green beans, fresh or frozen
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup cooked farro, brown rice, or small whole grain pasta
3 cups baby spinach
Spinach Basil Pesto, for serving, optional
fresh grated parmesan cheese, optional


Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add onions, carrot, celery and garlic and saute until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, cabbage, kidney beans, oregano and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes. Add green beans and zucchini. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta and cook until warm. Stir in baby spinach and cook one more minute until just tender.To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Top with a spoonful of pesto and stir in. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.
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  1. Jane Bonacci - The Heritage Cook says:

    Gorgeous photos and fantastic soup! Perfect for any day!

  2. Feast on the Cheap says:

    This looks wonderful – and what a terrific project you're spearheading!

  3. Thanks so much, it's been a lot of fun and a good learning experience for me.

  4. Pretend Chef says:

    I've been enjoying the soups you've come up with to present to your class. This one sounds and looks delicious especially with that spinach basil pesto on top. Love it!

  5. Looks very healthy and tasty! I'd have to have the pesto on mine, plus a little cheese please!

  6. The pesto makes this soup so good. I love toppings on my soups!

  7. Georgia (The Comfort of Cooking) says:

    Jeanette, your minestrone looks just wonderful! So comforting and easy and absolutely delicious. It's one of my favorite winter soups! You have a beautiful blog and I’m so glad to have found it. I’m looking forward to exploring your recipes and seeing more! :) – Georgia

  8. Thanks Georgia, minestrone is definitely a keeper. So easy and it freezes well. You have gorgeous pictures on your blog!

  9. Online Foods Menus says:

    I just love the minestrone soup. Thanks for this healthy & yummy share.

  10. Thanks for stopping by – I was actually thinking of making some minestrone this week for dinner with the weather getting cooler

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