Comfort food is perfect at this time of year. What could be better than to serve a steaming bowl of hearty soup with some crusty bread? In this recipe, there are vegetables and protein to put parents’ minds at ease, along with pasta and cheese to please the kids. This recipe is savory, chunky and filling… Minestrone soup!
This recipe by Parenting Pod is incredibly versatile— add in the ingredients that look good to you, leave out the ones that don’t, and mix it up by adding other ingredients that aren’t explicitly listed below. This recipe is very adaptable and great for using up what is in the fridge.
Below is a basic minestrone soup recipe—but before we get into that, let’s explore some of extras you can add to your soup to kick it up a notch, tailor it to your family’s taste buds, and make it your own.
Cream: Comfort food just got a whole lot more indulgent with some added cream. The higher the percent, the creamier the soup will be. Even full-fat milk can add an extra dimension to your soup without adding as many calories and fat as heavy cream. Start with ½ cup of milk, half-and-half, or straight-up cream, depending on your preference, and add more as needed.
Ground beef/sausage: If you’re a carnivore and enjoy a hearty stew, minestrone with beef or sausage will surely hit that sweet spot. Prepare the meat by cooking it in the soup pot before all the soup ingredients go in. Once it is cooked through, remove the meat and set it aside. Then saute the vegetables in the juices left in the pot. Add the meat back into the pot a few minutes before serving.
Chicken breast: Winner, winner chicken dinner. Chicken breast is a great addition to minestrone soup. It fits in perfectly with the other ingredients, and adds a lot of flavor and protein without adding a lot of calories. Add the chicken breast to the pot whole and once it is fully cooked, use two forks to shred it so that it soaks in all the flavors of the soup.
Leafy greens: Some of the healthiest foods on this planet fall into the “leafy green” category, and many of them go perfectly in soups and stews. Kale, spinach, collards, and chard are all great additions to your minestrone soup. These anti-oxidants add flavor and are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Spinach should only be added one or two minutes before the soup is removed from the flame, and the others can be added 10 minutes before.
Red wine: Half a cup of red wine goes a long way in minestrone soup. This ingredient should go in toward the beginning of the cooking process, after the vegetables have been sauteed, but before all the other ingredients are added. Let it simmer for a few minutes before adding the other ingredients.
Now that we know about all these great soup additions, let’s get to the actual minestrone recipe and get cooking—so that we can eat!
Classic Minestrone Soup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup small pasta (like elbow, radiatori, ditalini, or conchiglie)
1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
Let us know if you try this recipe in the comments!