Eating vegetables in the winter is hard. Salad in the summer? Great! Not so much in the winter. That’s why I LOVE this soup. It’s chock full o’ vegetables, tastes light and refreshing but still warm, but is still hearty enough for a meal with the beans and whole wheat pasta added.
I’ve been making a variation of this minestrone soup for years from The Vegetarian Table: Italy by Julia della Croce, and each time I make it differently, depending on what vegetables I have on hand or are in season. It’s easy to use whatever veggies you want for this soup (a great way to use up the stuff from your CSA box or that random thing you got at the farmer’s market because you thought it looked cool but have no idea what to do with it now). Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom for the exact combo I used for this one!
The thing I always make sure I put in this soup: lots of fresh rosemary. It gives the soup a unique taste and pairs well with anything you add to it.
The soup can be cooked on the stovetop in about an hour or in the slow cooker. Both ways consist of two phases: the first phase for veggies that can be cooked for a long time (such as root veggies or winter squash) and the second phase for pasta, beans, and more delicate veggies (such as green beans and summer squash).
Phase 1: Begin by sautéing your hearty vegetables in some olive oil and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary and/or other herbs in the biggest pot you own (this soup makes a ton, and can be frozen for later!), adding 4 cloves of minced garlic and a couple tablespoons of tomato paste toward the end once they soften a bit. Hearty vegetables are those that need a while to cook and/or can withstand cooking in liquid for a long time without getting too soggy. Try butternut (or other winter) squash, cabbage, carrot, potato, onion, celery, etc. Add 8-10 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30-40 minutes. You can also add the rind of parmesan cheese to add extra flavor if you want. I save mine in the freezer when I am done with a block of parm. Remove it before moving on to phase two.
Phase 2: Add a half package of small whole wheat pasta, 1 can of drained and rinsed canned beans (pinto, cannellini, or great northern), 2 more tablespoons of chopped rosemary and/or other herbs, and your delicate vegetables. These are vegetables that taste better when they have a little bit of a crunch to them, such as zucchini, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. Continue simmering until pasta is cooked. Serve with salt, pepper, and grated parmesan cheese on top, if you want!
For the slow cooker:
Add hearty vegetables, vegetable broth, parmesan cheese rind, and herbs to a slow cooker and cook on low. During the last half hour of cooking, remove parmesan cheese rind and add beans, pasta, more herbs and delicate vegetables. Continue cooking for about a half hour until pasta is cooked.
This soup can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
This soup can be cooked over the weekend and reheated on a weeknight for a quick dinner. Alternatively, to save time, chop and prep your veggies and herbs and store in two bags or containers (for the first and second phases of the soup) to make for easy cooking (and clean-up) on a busy weeknight!
Rosemary Minestrone Soup
A fresh and hearty minestrone soup that’s chock full o’ vegetables. The secret ingredient in this is lots of fresh rosemary. It can be made with almost any combination of veggies you have and on the stovetop or slow cooker. It’s a warm, cozy alternative to salad in the winter to eat lots of vegetables!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 40 mins
- Yield: 6-8
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 2 cups diced butternut squash
- 1 potato, diced
- 4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped (separated into 2 tablespoon measurements)
- 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (separated into 2 tablespoons measurements)
- 8-10 cups vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1-2 parmesan cheese rinds (optional)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
- 1 cup green beans, sliced into 1-inch long pieces
- 1 can pinto, cannellini, or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 oz. small whole wheat pasta, such as orecchiette or ditalini
- Grated parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
- Saute onions, celery, butternut squash, potato, and two tablespoons each of rosemary and parsley in olive oil until softened in a large pot, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and tomato paste; stir to coat and saute for about one more minute.
- Cover with vegetable broth, season with salt and pepper, and add optional parmesan cheese rind; bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
- Remove parmesan cheese rind, if applicable.
- Add pasta, canned beans, zucchini, and green beans, and remaining herbs; stir and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.
- Serve with extra salt and pepper, and parmesan cheese on top if you want!
Add all ingredients except for pasta, canned beans, zucchini, green beans, and half the herbs to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
During the last half hour of cooking, remove cheese rind (if applicable) and add remaining ingredients.