This hearty soup will definitely keep you warm on a cold winter's day (or night)! It's chock full of healthy vegetables, fresh herbs and it's super easy to prepare. This is a wonderful soup to add to any cook's repertoire; you can substitute and add anything to your heart's content! For this recipe, I used homemade chicken stock, but using store bought chicken broth, vegetable broth or beef broth will be just as tasty. I also soaked the cannellini beans overnight and cooked them in chicken broth before adding it to the minestrone, but using canned beans is perfectly fine. —Vanessa
First, heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Dice the bacon into bite sized pieces and add to the heated oil. When the bacon is nicely crisped, lower the heat to medium.
Dice the vegetables into bite sized chunks and add to the bacon. Add the garlic and thyme as well. Stir to combine and cook for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are softened.
Add the bay leaf, beans, diced tomatoes and chicken broth to the vegetables. Bring this to a boil, then cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
Julienne the kale and add the kale and pasta to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes. At this point, if the soup is too thick because of the pasta, thin it out by adding a splash of either water, or broth. Then, add the baby spinach and just mix it in. Salt and pepper the soup to your liking.
Preheat your over to 400 degrees F. Slice the baguette on the diagonal and place the bread on a cookie sheet.
Drizzle the top of each slice with a little bit of olive oil and grate a little Parmesan cheese over top.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the tops are nicely browned and the toasts are crisp.
Place one (or two!) Parmesan toasts over top each bowl of minestrone soup and enjoy!