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Classic Minestrone

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 only limited by the contents of your refrigerator and pantry.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6
Classic Minestrone

Source: Everyday Food, October 2008

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving (optional)
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 head Savoy or green cabbage (1/2 pound), cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, plus torn leaves for serving (optional)
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, for serving

Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrots, celery, red-pepper flakes, rosemary, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to turn golden, 5 to 8 minutes.

  2. Add tomatoes; cook until some of the liquid evaporates, 1 minute. Add potato, cabbage, cannellini beans, and 7 cups water; bring to a boil. Stir in green beans.

  3. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; stir in garlic, if using, and basil. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan and, if using, torn basil. Drizzle with more oil, if desired.

Variations

For variations on this classic version, try swapping zucchini for green beans, kale for cabbage, and chickpeas for cannellini beans.

Reviews (12)

  • ilovebrooklyn 27 Nov, 2014

    Fabulous! Made exactly as directed. I will make this soup again, delightful!

  • JennyfromBaltimore 20 Oct, 2013

    This recipe was a good base, and I liked the suggested modifications. Followed the advice of another review and caramelized first the onions, then carrots and celery, then diced tomatoes until nice and rich fond developed on my pan, then deglazed with some white wine. I then added the canned tomatoes and other veggies. I did kale instead of cabbage and zucchini in place of green beans. Huge hit for a dinner party of teen girls - even the non vegetarians came back for seconds!

  • okicooker 5 Apr, 2013

    Nice recipe... I had a couple of huge cabbages that needed using, but no celery. I know it adds a nice little flavor in minestrones but it's fine without it too. I did use beef broth and 7 cups water, and it was anything but bland. The fresh herbs at the end halp a lot too, and I added the traditional pasta in time for it to get al dente. Minestrones can be just about anything you want, around a basic texture and taste matrix.

  • MHarding 13 Dec, 2011

    This is the best soup I have ever made and my daughters who enjoy vegetarian meals are thrilled too. For those who want to add pasta, I suggest making some in a seperate pot and add to each bowl of soup as the pasta will absorb liquid if it sits in the pot until another meal.

  • ashmcdeavitt 6 Oct, 2011

    I dont know if this is a silly question but if I wanted to add some shell pasta to this, how would I go about doing so without making them overcooked?

  • karenuh 16 Aug, 2011

    Full-on flavor! So fresh... the fresh green beans were so much better than the canned I usually use in soups. I made this recipe as it is written & it's delicious! As is any soup, it's even better left-over.

  • ChristineIvy 18 Feb, 2011

    This soup was amazing, but I changed it in three ways. I replaced the celery with 1 c. corn, the tomatoes with 1 1/2 c. spicy tomato sauce, and the cabbage with a box of frozen spinach. Everyone loved it! I'm writing down my version to do again :) So hearty, healthy and flavourful (probably from the pasta sauce).

  • corknut 22 Oct, 2008

    Made this tonight and it was Sooooo Good! Can't wait for left overs tomorrow night!

  • designer53 13 Oct, 2008

    I heavily carmelized the onion, carrot and celery with salt and pepper then carmelized the drained tomato (used petite diced) before adding the water, juice and rosemary to the pan. By that time there was heavy fond so the resulting stock did have a lot of flavor. But I bet it was more like 30 minutes for the carmelizing.

  • shelbizmommy 6 Oct, 2008

    I DIDNT EVEN READ THAT IT WAS 7 CUPS OF WATER.. I BOUGHT CHICKEN BROTH SO I AM MAKING IT TONIGHT... I WILL LET YOU KNOW HOW IT COMES OUT. I SURE WISH I HAD SOME SQUASH TO PUT IN IT... WELL MAYBE NEXT TIME

  • Eucharistal 1 Oct, 2008

    Variations

    Replace green beans: 2 c. diced zucchini/summer squash.
    Replace potato: 1 1/2 c. peeled, seeded, cubed butternut squash.
    Extra vegetable: 1 1/2 c. frozen peas (add after 15 min. of simmering in step 3).

    Replace cabbage: sm. bunch robust greens (add after 15 min. of simmering in step 3): trimmed and thinly sliced Kale (tough stems removed), Escarole, or Swiss chard.

    Replace cannellini beans: 15 oz. can of another variety (rinsed and drained Kidney, Chickpea, or Pinto beans).

  • jenb69_1999 30 Sep, 2008

    I think there may be a mistake in the recipe. If you use 7 cups of water (like the recipe suggests) the soup comes out very bland. Next time, I will use vegetable broth.

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