Minestrone soup is the national soup of Italy. Minestrone literally means big soup. There is no fixed set of ingredients for the soup. It can be made with any combination of vegetables and pasta. You could use any left over vegetables in the fridge or fresh seasonal vegetables. Whenever I make the soup, I like to use some vegetables, some small pasta, some type of beans and some greens. This gives it a combination of textures and makes it very nutritious.
Vegetable broth (home made or store bought) – 4-5 cups
Diced Tomatoes – 1 can (or you can use blanch and chop fresh tomatoes and use them)
Onion – 1 (chopped)
Garlic – 4 cloves (minced)
Vegetables of your choice – 2 cups (I usually like to add carrots, potato, zucchini, celery and cabbage.)
Beans – 1/2 cup
(You can use any beans like white beans, pinto beans, chickpeas etc. If using canned one, use directly. If using dried beans, soak it overnight, cook it and use.)
Greens – 2 cups packed (You can use spinach, swiss chard or any other greens.)
Pasta – 3/4 cup
Dried Italian Herbs – 2 tsp
Red Pepper Flakes – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 tsp
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese (grated)
Fresh Basil leaves or Parsley (chopped) or spring onionsSlow Cooker Method
Combine all the above ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours or 4 hours on high.
Pressure Cooker Method
Combine all the above ingredients (except the greens) and cook for 2-3 whistles. After the pressure is released, add the greens and simmer the soup for 10 minutes.
Open Pot Method
1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Saute the garlic and onions till it sweats.
2. Add the vegetable stock and bring it to a boil.
3. Add the vegetables, cooked beans and cook till the veggies are tender.
4. Add the italian seasoning (dried herbs), salt, red pepper flakes and the can of diced tomatoes. Boil again.
5. Now add the pasta and the greens. Cook for 15-20 minutes till the pasta is tender. Add more water if you feel the soup is thick.
Take the hot soup in a bowl. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top. Garnish with some fresh grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Serve this hearty meal with a slice of garlic bread.