Garden Minestrone

By / Food / May 11th, 2012 / 1

A bowlful of vegetable soup is comfort food and a taste of summer’s bounty all at the same time. Minestrone is a personal art form. Use this recipe as a base and add whatever beans or vegetables you enjoy. Try cannellini or Great Northern beans, fennel, cabbage, green beans, rutabaga, celeriac, or butternut squash. For a heartier soup, add cooked Italian sausage and sautéed pancetta. Instead of orzo, try elbow macaroni or rotini. This soup is delicious topped with purchased or homemade pesto.

Garden Minestrone
Serves 4 to 6

3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 large carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh baby spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups cooked orzo
Pecorino Romano cheese
Ciabatta bread

1. In Dutch oven or soup pot, over medium-high heat, sauté onion, celery and carrot in 2 tbsp hot oil until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.

2. Stir in broth, tomatoes, basil and oregano. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, sauté zucchini in medium skillet in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat, until tender. Then add zucchini, beans, spinach, salt and pepper to soup pot. Simmer 5 minutes or until spinach is wilted and soup in warmed through.

4. Spoon orzo into 4 to 6 bowls. Ladle soup over orzo. Garnish with curls of Pecorino Romano cheese. Serve with crusty Ciabatta.

Chenin Blanc pairs nicely with the vegetables in this soup.


Quench Food Editor, Nancy Johnson, minced, sliced, chopped, sautéed and sipped her way through George Brown College’s culinary program with a focus on food writing and wine. Nancy cooks by the code her Italian grandmother taught her: For the best results, always use the freshest, best ingredients. She writes for Ohio-based Wine Buzz Magazine and recently published a short story in Woman’s World Magazine. She is always on a diet.

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