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How-To: Classic Minestrone

Everyday Food, October 2008

This beloved Italian soup isn't just hearty and healthy -- it's really flexible. Minestrone typically includes lots of leafy greens, other veggies, and beans. Which to choose? You're limited only by the contents of your refrigerator and pantry. I've come up with suggestions for customizing our version of minestrone, such as swapping zucchini for green beans, kale for cabbage, and chickpeas for cannellini beans. Get the ladle!

Classic Minestrone

Minestrone, Your Way

  • Replace green beans with 2 cups diced zucchini or summer squash.
  • Replace potato with 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash.
  • As an extra vegetable, use 1 1/2 cups frozen peas (add to soup after 15 minutes of simmering in step 3).

Leafy Greens
Instead of cabbage, choose a small bunch of robust greens (add to soup after 15 minutes of simmering in step 3).

  • Kale (tough stems removed), thinly sliced
  • Escarole, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • Swiss chard, trimmed and thinly sliced

Instead of cannellini beans, try a 15-ounce can of another variety.

  • Kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Pinto beans, rinsed and drained

Comments (7)

  • 12 Jan, 2010

    This is absolutely delicious and certainly doesn't taste like healthy cooking!

  • 25 Jan, 2009

    This soup is great and good for our bodies. Thanks Martha for this one of many Minestrone soup recipes.

  • 22 Nov, 2008

    Yumiiii...Great tasty soup for a cold days..try it...

  • 22 Nov, 2008

    Love it. It`s absolutely tasty soup for a cold days...Will warm you up..Try it....

  • 16 Nov, 2008

    I made this soup last night and it was absolutely delicious! I was pleasantly surprised how good it came out by using the water as the base. I can't imagine adding all that salt cheflady did! Way too much! I put in a little extra pepper flakes and rosemary, used a yellow onion instead of red, and kale instead of cabbage. It was perfect and very healthy! Perfect for vegetarians like me!

  • 10 Oct, 2008

    Not bland if you use stock instead of water. I also added 1T pesto because that's how my Italian grandma did it.

  • 10 Oct, 2008

    this recipe has lots of great ingredients but it was very very very bland. I added lots of sea salt to no avail. Then I added 1 packet of Liptons onion soup mix, 2 knorr boullion cubes and 1 tsp hot pepper sauce. It was much better. I would use chicken broth instead of water next time.