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Authentic Italian Minestrone Soup

Move over lunch salad, it's time for soup to take a turn.  And no worries that the weather is warming up, this soup tastes so fresh and full of healthy garden herbs and vegetables, you can have it any time of year.

Authentic Italian Minestrone Soup

Truly, I could eat this soup every day— and I probably will for some time. It doesn't have a heavy feel or overpowering seasonings. Yet it is very filling, tasty and satisfying packed with beans, hearty vegetables and a surprise ingredient...barley!

What Ingredients Do I Need to Make Minestrone Soup?

Ingredients for Authentic Italian Minestrone Soup

The Soffritto:

  • Chopped onion, celery and carrots softened in olive oil 

Additional Vegetables: 

  • Stewed tomatoes, zucchini, new yellow potatoes, green beans

Beans:

  • Used a trio of dried great western northern beans, pinto beans and garbanzo beans

Grains:

  • In addition to the traditional Ditalini pasta, I have added some pearl barley for more texture and heartiness.

Fresh Herbs and Greens:

  • Italian flat-leaf parsley and basil leaves, as well as chopped kale.

Seasonings:

  • For added umami, we're throwing in a Parmesan cheese rind. Other seasonings are minced garlic, a bay leaf, marjoram, dried oregano, black pepper and salt.  

The Soup Base:

  • 50/50 mix of vegetable broth and water.  You could replace some of the water with more broth, especially if you are using canned beans, since the process of cooking the beans in the soup will add some flavor.

How Do I Make Minestrone Soup?

First, make the soffritto. Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery; cook, stirring often, until softened. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

carrots onion and celery for minestrone soup

Add all of your dried seasonings, including salt, pepper, marjoram, oregano.

Stir in the stewed tomatoes and use your hands or a wooden spoon to break them up a bit. Add the dried beans, pearl barley and diced potatoes. Then pour in 4 quarts of vegetable broth and 4 quarts of water. (If your dried beans are old, you may want to pre-cook them first. You can also use canned beans.)

Add your bay leaf and then raise the heat to high and bring pot to a full boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer slowly, uncovered, until the beans are tender, adding more water as necessary if the mixture gets too thick, about 1½ hours. If using canned beans, simmer for only 10 minutes.

Stir in the pasta and continue simmering, uncovered, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.

Then add your frozen green beans and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Finish the soup by adding the rest of your "greens": sliced zucchini, kale, flat-leaf parsley and basil. 

Simmer for just a few minutes more and then serve.

 

Top a bowl of soup with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Note: This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I could earn a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

 

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