The best Minestrone Soup is a recipe I have been making for twenty years. Because, when you find a good one you need look no further. Nutritionally dense vegetables balance the smoky pancetta and pasta that are the trademarks of a good minestrone. But you can make it vegetarian or gluten free by omitting the pancetta and using quinoa or GF pasta.
Minestrone is Italian peasant food at it’s best. The name derives from the Italian word for soup – minestra. There are many variations of this soup because, essentially, minestrone was created as a “don’t let it go to waste” soup. Whatever vegetables were available in the cold pantry were what went in to minestrone, along with some pasta to bulk it up and, if available, the end of a pork rind to give it more flavor and salt.
I grew up with a single mother who didn’t have time to enjoy cooking until her 4 children were older and more self sufficient. As I was the eldest, that meant many years of only knowing soup that came from a Campbells can. I loved Campbells tomato soup. The minestrone – not so much. So when I became a chef and stumbled upon this recipe for minestrone you can imagine my surprise at how delicious it was. “This is what Minestrone is supposed to taste like?!”
The best minestrone soup…
This soup is so substantial that it is a meal on its own. I love this soup because it’s packed with vegetables – carrots, onion, garlic, leeks, zucchini (courgette), potatoes, cabbage and fresh tomatoes. My daughters won’t touch zucchini or cabbage with a ten foot pole and yet this is one of their all-time favorite dinners. It also makes a TON of soup so great for batch cooking!Print
The Best Minestrone Soup
This delicious, veggie packed soup is a meal in itself.
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Cook Time: 20 min
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Italian
- 1 glug of olive oil
- 4 oz. (113g) pancetta or bacon, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and small dice
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 leek, cut in half lengthwise, rinsed well to ensure there is no sand or dirt between the leaves. and thinly sliced.
- 3 –4 cups thinly sliced green (savoy) cabbage
- 2 zucchini (courgette), diced
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 6 cups (1.4 liters) chicken stock (can be made with bouillon cubes but use LESS than the recommended dose non the box – it’s too salty. Start by using half. )
- 3 cups (700ml) beef stock (same note as above with bouillon)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- salt, to taste
- 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup small macaroni or orzo pasta
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Heat a glug of olive oil in a very large soup pot over medium-high heat and saute the pancetta or bacon until it releases its fat and begins to crisp.
- Add the garlic, leeks, onion and carrots and saute until beginning to soften, 5-7 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, stock, tomato paste, parsley, basil, oregano, and pepper and bring to a simmer.
- Add the zucchini, cabbage, beans and pasta and simmer until the potato and pasta are cooked.
- Season the soup with salt and pepper. The soup will get very thick. Add more stock if necessary but then you will need to possibly add more seasoning.
- Serve with grated parmesan on the side.
Keywords: Minestrone, soup, comfort food, Italian,