Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easy Minestrone Soup (Recipe)

This spring I decided that I'd finally try to make minestrone soup. I found a recipe in How to Cook Everything (Mark Bittman, 1998 edition) and was happy to see that it was extremely flexible. That makes it a perfect soup for using up leftover vegetables or, at least, the vegetables that are in season.

I didn't take a picture of our soup, so let's pretend it looked like this. :)

minestrone soupphoto © 2008 giffconstable | more info (via: Wylio) I'll share the recipe as I made it the first time, then tell you more details.

Easy Minestrone

3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 c. cooked cranberry beans
1 can (15 oz.) corn, drained
2 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 c. beef broth
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Add oil to a large, deep pot, then add carrot and onion.  Cook and stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add beans, corn, and potatoes.  Stir and cook for one minute.
  3. Add broth and tomatoes.  Stir in, then lower heat and cover the pot.
  4. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft (30 to 60 minutes).  Season to taste.
  • Use 4 cups, total, of any vegetable mixture you like (substitute for beans, corn, and potatoes):  potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, cooked dry beans, celery, zucchini, summer squash, pumpkin, winter squash, leeks, parsnips, turnips, etc.).
  • Add a handful of small noodles toward the end of the cooking time.
  • Use beef, chicken, or vegetable stock ... whatever you like and/or have on hand.
Time-saving Tips:
  • Save time and work by using canned beans, drained.
  • Save time by using canned corn, drained, as I did.
  • "Cheat" and get a more varied mixture of vegetables by using frozen mixed vegetables.  I did this for my second and third batches of soup.
    frozen mixed vegetables
  • If you want to use dry beans but still save time, consider cooking a larger quantity and storing some in the freezer.  I cooked a one-pound bag of cranberry beans, used one-third for this recipe, then froze two-thirds (in two separate bags) for two more batches of soup.
  • Instead of beef broth, I used about 1-1/2 cups of drippings (which I'd frozen) from a slow-cooked beef roast plus 3-1/2 cups water.
Money-saving and Sodium-reducing Tips:
  • Use dry beans instead of canned.  See the time-saving tip, above, about storing portions in the freezer. Dry beans are also very low in sodium, so you reduce the salt content of the soup.
  • Make your own stock instead of using canned broth.  Or use drippings (see time-saving tips).  This can also reduce the salt content, depending on how much salt you use and which brand of canned broth you compare.
  • If you choose to use canned vegetables, use no-salt-added varieties where available.  I used no-salt-added tomatoes, and I would have used no-salt-added corn if we'd had it on hand.
  • The original recipe calls for only one cup of tomatoes.  Since I was opening a 15-ounce can, I used the entire can instead of wasting almost half.  If you can use the remainder, or if you're using fresh tomatoes, feel free to use just one cup.
minestrone ingredients

I'm linking up!
Hearth and Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers


  1. YUMMY girlie!!

    Sorry I haven't been by in so long, I catch on FB, been a bad commenter lately.


  2. Minestrone soup is my favorite! One of the things I like most about Bittman's recipes is that they are so flexible. Thanks for sharing the variations and time saving tips with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop!

  3. we love minestrone at our house!

  4. You make it look so easy, yum.
    Thanks for the recipe. I started using the tip of using canned peas, kidney, chic and white bean mix as like you said it saves on time.

  5. Great simple, flavorful and healthy recipe!! Warm enough for a chilly day and light enough for summer.

    Thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul!


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