Minestrone Soup

Something special has been happening in our house recently. Max has been eating the same food we do (for the most part)!  It is so exciting to, A.) see him feed himself handfuls of cheese, cheerios, bread, pretty much anything you put in front of him. Not to mention his ability to take huge bites out of bananas, and, B.) Share food with him! Now when I make a meal, he  and I can basically share a plate! His recent favorite foods are: cheese, turkey, soup, bread (with peanut butter and/or jam on it), peaches, bananas, salmon, rice, beans.

Ok, back to this soup….I made it for dinner and it was a huge hit – among all three of us. Minestrone soup can get a bad rap. It can be known to have a bland tomato base and rubbery, flavorless vegetables. Ick. James even expressed some skepticism about this soup before we ate it. Those miserable minestrone memories! But after the first bite, all skepticism went out the window.  I think the key ingredient here is adding the parmesan rinds and letting that rich flavor permeate the soup.

minestrone soupI will also note that I used too much pasta. I added the original 1/2 cup amount, and then added more. Bad idea. The pasta, obviously, soaks up the liquid so that I kept having to add water to create more broth. The recipe below reflects the 1/2 cup proportion.

Source: Adapted from The Washington Post

2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced (1/2 cup)
1-2 carrots, scrubbed well, then diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 zucchini, diced
1 cup dino kale, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1-2 T. fresh basil, julienned (or 1 tsp. dried basil)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
48 oz. (6 cups) vegetable broth or chicken broth
1- 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dried, whole-grain elbow pasta
1/3 lb. parmesan rinds (Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, Trader Joes often sell these in their cheese sections)


  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion, celery, carrot and bell pepper; cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften.
  2. Add the zucchini, garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and broth; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Partially cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, then add the parmesan rinds, beans, kale and pasta.
  4. Uncover; increase the heat to medium-high just long enough to return the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, until the pasta and vegetables are tender.



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