30-Minute Minestrone
Yield: a scant 3 quarts
An abundance of colorful veggies is the basis for this classic, comforting soup, which cooks quickly in one pot. The flexible recipe is protein-rich and plant-based, but a variety of meats may be added for those who enjoy.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion yellow chopped (~1 small)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (~2 carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini (~1 small-medium zucchini)
  • 3 ribs celery chopped (I include any leaves)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth for vegan recipe
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian-style crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen green beans (could substitute chopped greens of choice)
  • 1 cup uncooked elbow or ditalini pasta (use GF as needed)
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar; ½ cup chopped fresh parsley;  shredded Parmesan cheese (omit or serve on the side for vegan option)


  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large soup pot, and sauté the onion, carrots, celery and zucchini for 5 to 6 minutes, just until slightly softened. Add the garlic and sauté an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, both beans, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then stir in the frozen green beans and uncooked pasta. Return to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. (Helpful hint: I start checking the pasta a few minutes early and remove the pot from the heat when the pasta is still slightly firmer than I prefer to eat it, as the hot soup will continue to cook the noodles for several minutes after removing the pot from the heat. This will prevent overcooked or mushy pasta. You’ll also get the most flavor and texture out of the vegetables by simmering them for just long enough to cook the pasta.)
  3. Stir in the parsley, if using. Check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. (Precise amount will depend on type of broth used and personal preference.) I like to also stir in 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, as the hint of acid adds subtle complexity to the soup. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
  4. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the soup will keep well for approximately 5 days and can be frozen for 2 to 3 months.

Notes & Options

The soup will thicken and become somewhat more stew-like as it sits overnight. If you prefer a soupier consistency, you may wish to have some extra broth on hand to thin any leftovers.
Meat lovers may enjoy the addition of cooked and shredded chicken, browned ground beef, turkey or sausage, or sliced smoked sausage.
Feel free to add chopped greens of choice instead of green beans and/or add a chopped red bell pepper when sautéing the other vegetables.
For added flavor when I make minestrone, I sometimes add a Parmesan rind once the mixture comes to a simmer and/or stir in 2-3 tablespoons of pesto at the very end.

Helpful hints:
As chopping vegetables is often the only tedious part of a recipe, I frequently chop them in advance and store in the refrigerator until ready to cook. This small bit of advance prep can make dinnertime feel truly effortless.
Swish some of the broth in the emptied crushed tomato can to extract every last ounce of the flavorful puree.
I tend to go a little heavy on the veggies, leaning towards rounded cupfuls. Also, I recently made this soup with 4 cups of homemade, unsalted stock and 2 cups of low-sodium canned broth, and I used 2 teaspoons of salt. Feel free to adjust the seasoning to taste based on personal preference and type of broth or stock used.


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