minstrone soup

Photo by The Unseasoned Wok


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Minestrone Soup


Crisp fall days are ideal for a big batch of this satisfying Italian vegetable soup. The flavour improves after a day or two in the fridge and it freezes well too. Tossing some of the vegetables in hot oil beforehand helps retain their colour and texture.

  • Serves: 8
  • Course: Lunch, Dinner, Snack


  • 3 tbsp olive oil (45 ml)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 4 oz diced salt pork, or side bacon (125 g)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or one 28 oz (796 ml) can plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (1.5 L)
  • bouquet garni
  • kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 19 oz (540 ml) can white kidney beans, drained
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (30 ml)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (125 ml)


  1. Heat 2 tbsp (30 ml) oil in a large frying pan over moderately high heat. Add carrots, celery, potato, zucchini, and a pinch of salt. Toss gently for 2–3 minutes and set aside.
  2. In a large soup pot, heat remaining 
oil over medium heat. Add salt pork or bacon and cook until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Cook onion, leek, and garlic in the fat in the pot until soft and lightly browned.
  4. Stir in tomatoes, sautéed vegetables, pork, stock, herbs, and seasonings. 
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in beans and simmer for 15 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  6. Serve in hot bowls, garnished with parsley and accompanied with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to sprinkle on top.
  7. Tip: Soups and stews are often flavoured with a bouquet garni, a small bundle 
of herbs, usually bay leaf, parsley, and thyme or oregano, tied with string and removed before serving. You can assemble your own or sometimes find them pre-made in the supermarket.
  8. Variations:

    - For a heartier soup, increase the amount of stock by 2 cups (500 ml) and add 1⁄2 cup (125 ml) rice or orzo during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  9. - For Vegetarian Minestrone: Omit salt pork or bacon and brown the onions, leeks, and garlic in 2 tbsp (30 ml) butter or olive oil in step 3.

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Jane Rodmell