Minestrone Soup

By • May 19, 2010 20 Comments

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Author Notes: I usually don't follow a recipe for soup, and I rarely write one down. I wrote up this one for publication, and even if I don't follow it exactly every time, at least I've got a good framework now. - Foodwriter97426Foodwriter97426

Food52 Review: This minestrone follows the Italian tradition of relying solely on the vegetables, beans and a scrap of parmesan rind for the flavor of the broth, which is made with a base of water. The beans, cooked from scratch in the soup broth, enrich the soup, napa cabbage sweetens it and a last minute addition of red wine underscores its heartiness. You might want to start with half the pepper called for and add more to taste, but whatever you do, don't forget the final pinch of freshly grated parmesan on top! We also added a cup and a half of water as the soup simmered, to keep it nice and brothy. - A&M
The Editors

Serves 6

  • olive or vegetable oil for sauteing
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic,minced or crushed
  • 3/4 cup dry cannellini beans
  • 1/4 cup dry garbanzo beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (or 1 can, with juice)
  • 1 cup cut green beans, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 2" piece Parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 small napa cabbage (about 10 oz)
  • 1/3 cup soup pasta (e.g.ditalini, orzo, tiny shells)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • shredded Parmesan for garnish
  1. Heat a heavy 4 quart (or larger) pot over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to coat bottom of pot. Add onions and garlic; reduce heat to medium. Saute until onions are translucent.
  2. Add beans, water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer 1 1/2 hours, or until beans are just barely tender.
  3. Add herbs and seasonings, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini and cheese rind. Return to boil briefly, then reduce heat to low and simmer an additional 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, thinly slice and chop cabbage. Add to soup along with the pasta and simmer 30 minutes.
  5. At this point the soup can be refrigerated (or left on the stove with the heat off for up to 2 hours). Reheat before serving. When ready to serve, add wine and taste for seasoning. Serve topped with grated cheese if desired, or pass cheese at the table.
  6. Note: Vegetables can be changed, added to or deleted. Amounts are only suggestions. Dried herbs can be used in place of fresh - cut amounts by 1/2.

More Great Recipes: Green Beans|Soups|Vegetables|Cabbage|Zucchini

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Comments (20) Questions (1)


6 months ago Melissa Gatlin

Thanks .. great recipe .. since I have a ton of veggie (scrap) stock I did go ahead and substitute if for 2 cups of the water ..but I'm sure its as good without. Since I'm a single I use coucous .. that way I can add per serving .. since I can't eat 6 servings but storing with the pasta already in makes the pasta too soggy. I just bring my soup to a simmer and pour over the coucous, covering the bowl with a plate and a 5 minutes later removing the plate and stiring the now cooked couscous into the soup. Might be helpful for other singles out there.


9 months ago Foodwriter97426

I'm so glad you and you're family enjoyed it. That's what cooking is all about!


9 months ago Dawn B

I made this soup over the weekend and it was amazing! It was gone within 30 minutes and my kids asked me to make it again on Sunday.....and I did. Awesome!


about 1 year ago WhatsEating

Loved this soup! The beans gave the broth a nice slightly thick consistency. I did add about 1 1/2 cups more water as the notes suggested. Great flavor - one to make again and again.


over 1 year ago stephanieRD

Made this last night and it's my lunch today! I used a 28 oz can of San marzano tomatoes, used dried herbs instead of fresh (didn't have any fresh stuff on hand) and it came out amazing! Comfort in a bowl.


over 1 year ago Lizzy

I was so excited when I found this recipe but was pretty disappointed in the outcome. The vegetables and beans were tasty but the broth was transparent and pretty blah. I added a touch more seasonings and the red wine, which just gave me a purple hue'd broth. Besides substituting the dry beans for canned, I followed the recipe exactly. Did I miss something?


almost 4 years ago Adelucchi

Thanks for the recipe. My 97 year old mother in law ( superb Italian cook in her day) gave me the thumbs up and most of all cleaned the bowl. I will make it again. I added some hot paprika for a little spice and spicy turkey meatballs. Otherwise pretty much followed your recipe.


over 4 years ago Pat in SoCal

Got home at 6:00 with everything amazingly in the larder but the zucchini...oh well! ...too dark to find the oregano in the garden but bay, thyme, and rosemary were accessible and I had fresh dried oregano available. Chicken broth from this site's "Oven Roasted Broth" sitting and waiting to be divided and frozen was at the ready. Had to use canned beans but thought we could live with that. Just waiting to add the cabbage, pasta, and finishing touches... and it already smells and samples great. Dinner projected for 7:30. I wish I had some fresh parsley as it seems to cry for it....but I used it up yesterday. I may break down and add some mushrooms just 'cause I have them...but not really traditonal. Thanks to all! I really love food 52! It's joy and kindness reminds me a lot of the original Gail's Recipe Swap from the 90's.


over 4 years ago Gluten Free Diva

Yup. Company coming tomorrow night. First course will be your soup and some homemade gluten free rosemary sea salt flatbread. Thank you for the idea!


over 4 years ago Delishhh

Looks fabulous and i do a minestrone that i love very similar recipe. But i use chicken stock or vegetable stock as a base not water. Also instead of red i use white wine and then i add basil peston on top of it all. You would be surprised but the pesto gives it an awesome kick.


over 4 years ago jgerba

Oh ladies, I cooked up some soup this morning, and it. was. good. I opted out of pasta and, instead, heated breadcrumbs in olive oil and sprinkled it on top of the soup, along with some fresh grated cheese. What a way to usher in the New Year.


almost 5 years ago Heather Bklyn

This is a great recipe! We really enjoyed it.


almost 5 years ago margarete

This is an awesome minestrone. The parmesan rind really gave it a great flavor.


almost 5 years ago Jennifer (Delicieux)

Mmmm this looks fantastic!


about 5 years ago Seriously Soupy

I love this soup - what an amazing recipe. I just featured on my blog, too.



over 5 years ago J-Dizzle

It is a rainy weekend here, going to buy the ingrediants and fresh herbs this evening! Sounds yummmmy!!


over 5 years ago lastnightsdinner

This sounds so fabulous. I'm a huge fan of the parmesan rind to make or enrich a broth, and I also love the dual dried beans in your dish - yum!


over 5 years ago TasteFood

I love the sound of this recipe, and the parmesan rind is a nice touch.


over 5 years ago WinnieAb

This looks fantastic. I love that it has two kinds of beans and Napa cabbage, and all the fresh herbs sound wondeful. And finishing it with wine...awesome!


over 5 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Really good recipe--congratulations!