This easy Minestrone Soup is perfect for chilly winter nights.
Not that anyone from the rest of the country would believe that we have those in San Diego, but that doesn’t make this soup any less spoon-worthy! Err… in the literal sense.
The idea for this recipe was percolating in my mind during today’s grocery haul. I had some fresh kale and parsley in the fridge, just itching to be bathed in an Italian-style soup. Because I can read the minds of green leafy produce.
Confession: I typically abhor shopping at Costco.
To me, it epitomizes mindless consumerism. The parking lot is always packed, the store has aisles upon aisles of processed junk food, and the shoppers mill around aimlessly, pushing their carts at a snail’s pace. There’s just so much STUFF – the minimalist in me can’t help but cringe. But alas, Costco has cheap toilet paper in bulk… so there we were.
Okay, so I’m exaggerating. Costco has a few other things going for it. Case in point (no pun intended), I found a case of a dozen cans of organic tomato paste for $6.79. That’s much cheaper than getting tomato paste or tomato sauce at Sprouts, where it’s usually $2 per can. As I conveniently discovered, you can make the equivalent of 1 can of tomato sauce by diluting a can of tomato paste with water (about 1 cup). So simple (*mentally slaps forehead for not realizing that sooner*).
Alrighty, on to our easy minestrone soup!
No need for exact measurements; this is a very flexible kind of soup. You can add whatever veggies, beans, or herbs you have on hand. I would have sautéed some celery with the onions and carrots if I had some on hand, but it was still very good without it. I also added some fresh sage that I had left over from ThanksLiving, but I wouldn’t go out and buy a package of it just for this soup.
You could use chopped spinach instead of (or in addition to) the kale. I used a combination of red kidney beans and great Northern white beans, but other varieties such as cannelini, pinto beans, or even chickpeas would work well, too. And of course, if you prefer to use plain tomato sauce or diced tomatoes, swap 1 can for the tomato paste and 1 cup of water in the recipe.
In other words, don’t stress out if you don’t have all of the exact ingredients in the recipe below.
You should still make this soup with whatever you like and have available. It might not be an authentic Minestrone soup, but it will still be super flavorful, hearty, and comforting, which is really the point. Oh, and if you have the forethought to plan such things, I recommend serving this soup with some crusty bread. Bonus points if you make (vegan) garlic bread!
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 1 carrot or 6 baby carrots, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tsp. fresh sage, minced
- 1 cup dry pasta, any small shape
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
- 1 can tomato paste
- 2 cups vegetable broth (I used low sodium)
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning OR 1/2 tsp. each oregano and thyme
- 1/2 bunch lacinato kale, de-stemmed and torn into 1" pieces
- 1 cup mixed frozen veggies (I used corn, peas, and carrots)
- 1/2 can each red kidney beans and white beans, OR 1 can of either one
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Pinch white or black pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
- Sautée the onions and carrots in a large saucepan over medium heat, adding water by the tablespoon to prevent sticking, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and sage; cook for an additional 1 minute.
- Pour in 4 cups water, dry pasta, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost done but not quite.
- Add the tomato paste and vegetable broth, stir well to dissolve the tomato paste. Add the Italian seasoning or other dry herbs, beans, kale, and frozen veggies. Return to a boil and simmer about 5 more minutes.
- Stir in the parsley, pepper, and nutritional yeast (if using). Cook for 1 additional minute. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed; I added an extra pinch of salt.
- Serve in a bowl and top with vegan parmesan, if desired.
Nutrition information below estimated for 1 bowl of easy minestrone soup (1/4 of recipe).