Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Italian Minestrone - Vegetarian

Whenever I read the words, "Because I'm a food blogger I never make the same thing twice", it makes me a little bit sad.  I can't imagine not whipping up the girls' favorites or a recipe that has been handed down over and over again.  Maybe it's because I favor more traditional things or I'm embarrassed to say it, "A little old-fashioned."

Even though I'm constantly trying new things, nothing makes me happier on the inside than when I go to my mom or in-law's house and they have one of my favorites prepared.  I don't care how many times I've had it prepared that same way, I can hear a whisper in my head - I love you, that is why I made your favorite.

Minestrone is one of those happy memory dishes.  It's one my younger daughters' favorites and I know every time I make it, she will eat it and be happy to do so.

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
32 ounces vegetable broth
1 quart whole tomatoes, crushed or 28 ounces crushed tomatoes (canned)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2-3 teaspoons salt or more if needed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 - 15 ounce can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 zucchini, sliced
8 ounces cooked ditalini pasta
2 cups spinach or Swiss chard (optional)
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Add the olive oil and onion to a heavy stockpot and turn heat on medium.  Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are starting to soften and getting some color.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring.  Add the carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock and be sure and to stir the bottom to get the color up from the bottom of the pan.  Add the crushed tomatoes.  I broke into my San Marzano tomatoes from the summer and I'm glad I did, they still taste as good as the day they were picked.

Add the thyme, salt, pepper and bay leaves and let the soup come to a boil on medium heat, cook for 15 minutes.

Add the beans, zucchini, and pasta also the greens if you are going to use them, cook five minutes.  Remove bay leaves.

My daughter dislikes the greens, so I serve her hers and then will add the greens for the rest of us.

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Traditionally you would place a Parmesan rind in the pot, but I don't usually have rinds lying around, so I usually omit that step.

You guys are probably thinking where are your I'm crazy-busy getting ready for Christmas posts? Yes, I'm busy getting ready for the holiday, but I'm not being crazy about it.  I've decided this year I'm not taking on too many things.  Unfortunately this whole year has been a bit stressful for me and I'm giving myself the gift of - it's okay to just sit back and enjoy being together.  I've had to take on new tasks, so I had to let some go.  I guess I'm just rebalancing, one should never be so out of balance that you keep being weighed down from it all.




  1. Mmm, I love a hearty, warming cup of minestrone :) Looks like a great recipe, i love the addition of chard!

  2. This soup looks absolutely perfect for the really nippy days we've been having here in So Cal. I'm glad you're taking time to kick back and relax this holiday season, Gina. Happy holidays!

  3. Gina-I love this soup, perfect for our soup weather weather now although we have only had a dusting of snow. wish that I had some of your tomatoes, to put in the soup.

    I'm happy that you have been able to find "balance" in this crazy season. Sometimes you just have to say "No".

  4. My favorite type of soup - I am always collecting different recipes for Minestrone. Yours looks very good! I, also, have decided not to over-do the holiday preparations and stay focused on my family.

  5. Hey Gina, If you knew how good your soup looks to me right wonder your girls love it so!
    I think I need to make a pot of Minestrone just for myself, maybe share a little bit;-)

  6. Gorgeous vegetarian Minestrone soup, Gina! I made the same soup myslef, last week except, I added little meatballs to it! Lovely photos, as well!

  7. Great Recipes! Looks delicious and yummy! Thanks for posting this!
    Love your recipes!

  8. The minestone soup looks soulwarming and delecatble!

  9. Souper soup Gina! A meal unto itself with all of those veggies in it.
    Take care..

  10. I'm with you, Gina! I like to make favorites often. It's actually what I find most useful about having a blog - all of my favorites are organized in one place! :)

    Your minestrone looks fantastic; it could be one of my new favorites!

  11. What a great recipe Gina! Sit back, relax, and enjoy the season!

  12. This soup looks so good, and it was in the 20's here this morning...Yikes! I need this now!

  13. I fully support 'old favorite' dishes. The more the merrier. In fact, we only really experiment with recipes a couple of times a month. Since I'm working, I stick to my easy, tried and true recipes during the week :) I think this one might need a go round in rotation, though!


  14. Looks delicious. Would love for you to share your pictures with us over at

  15. This looks DIVINE! I am quite hungry right now and just wish I had a bowl of your soup. I am bookmarking to make this - my hubby would adore it. Hope you are doing well! Let's get together after the crazy holidays!

  16. at last!!!!! finally a moment to sit down and read your posts, I am so bummed I missed your last giveaway with those marvelous cookie cutters...both of my kids have been sick since last weekend!!! I must say the whole ordeal kind of kicked me in the butt but thankfully it has passed and trying to get back on track in the normal weekly things. Good for you in downshifting a few notches this holiday season...and this soup looks fantastic. It's going to snow here tomorrow, and probably tuesday, this would be perfect. Minestrone is one of my favorite soups, and I love the ditalini!

  17. Don't feel bad ladies about being busy, I just sat down for the first time today, back to the kitchen to churn out more cookies. Hope you all try the soup, it is really good.

  18. Hi Gina! How are you? Bet you all must be busy prepping for Christmas. I have not even really started. Am starting to feel guilty. I was just telling my friends that one of my fav soup is minestrone. And you made some.. Yummm.. wish I could have a bowl right now. You I know completely agree about not cooking your favourite food twice or more times. I do it all the time. Just that I won't blog about it. Kekek.. Till then.. I am dedicating my virtual cookie exchange to you ladies. Take care now.. Huggsss, Jo

  19. Congratultions Gina! You just brought my humbel minestrone to high level. Every Monday I make a pot of soup that serves as lunch for the week; your recipe will be on the menu next Monday. It is good to take time to site back and reflect, especially after rough times. Sending good soothing vibes your way; I love reading you.

  20. Hi Gina, Hope you are well and the baking wasn't drained you completely. I love trying and experimenting with new foods. But as you said there is something very comforting and loving about making those cherished family recipes or favorites. How sad to make something you loved and not ever make it again. I love love minestrone soup. I'm going to try your recipe because I haven't found one I love yet. Take care sweetie :)

  21. You soup look like my family would enjoy eating very much..I loveeee your beautiful photos!!

  22. Happy New Year!! This looks like total comfort food to me. Wish Connie liked soup as much as I do and we'd be making this this weekend. Hugs, Kate

  23. Hi Gina, I was craving minestrone so bad this weekend, and remembered you had a recipe. I made it and it was so good! I had to change the beans and kale. I only had small white beans and can't find kale so I used savoy cabbage. It has been freezing here and your soup really hit the spot. For 3 days actually :)