By some records, the origins of minestrone soup predate even the Roman Empire! This tasty Italian staple has cemented its spot in history thanks to its earthy flavors and hearty helpings. We love a good bowl of hearty minestrone soup to help banish the season’s gloom. It’s also wonderfully easy to make.
We used chicken broth as our base, but vegetarians can opt for vegetable broth instead. And, if you’d like to cut carbs, simply replace the pasta with cauliflower or zucchini. It’s just as delicious!
Black kale, also known as lacinto kale (and sometimes “cavolo nero”), has a more delicate flavor and tender texture than the regular green variety. It’s readily available at any well-stocked grocery store. But, really, either variety is a traditional ingredient in hearty minestrone soup.
Have fun with your veggie options, too. You can add almost anything to this dish—potatoes, squash or cauliflower. Let your taste buds inspire you!
Serve this soup recipe in a fancy homemade bread bowl!
Hearty Minestrone Soup Recipe
- 1/2 cup small pasta, uncooked, (small shells ditalini, orzo, etc...)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, or black kale, deveined, coarsely chopped
- 14 1/2 oz can tomatoes, diced
- 3 tsp fresh thyme, sprigs or dried thyme
- 4 tsp fresh rosemary, long stem, or 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 2 14 oz cans low-sodium vegetable broth, or low-sodium chicken broth
- 15 oz can cannellini beans
- 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for sprinkling
- salt and pepper
- Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse the pasta and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place a medium-sized soup pot over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and ½ tsp salt. Cook for 8–10 minutes until the onion is translucent and the carrots and celery are beginning to become tender. Add the chopped kale and cook for an additional 2 minutes just to soften it a bit.
- Stir in diced tomatoes, thyme, rosemary and chicken broth. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15–20 minutes, until the kale is wilted and tender.
- Drain and rinse the cannellini beans and add half to the soup and place the other half in a small bowl. Add the Parmesan cheese to the bowl containing the beans and mash them together with a fork until a thick paste forms. (Don’t worry about making this perfectly smooth; just mash the beans well.) Add the paste to the soup and stir until completely dissolved. Continue to simmer the soup, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and discard thyme and rosemary stems (if you used fresh herbs). Add the cooked pasta to the soup and stir to combine. Serve nice and hot with an additional good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Why not pair your minestrone with a nice glass of cabernet? It’s the perfect duo!