This Winter Minestrone Soup is made exclusively with vegetables that are at their best in this time of the year. Thick, comforting, a true flavor bomb, this soup will definitely leave you craving for more!
This time of year I am all about soup. I could create and enjoy a different soup every single day. I love that soup can be so many different things depending on the ingredients, even individual soup types can change depending on the ingredients that you choose.
Take Minestrone, for example. You know Minestrone, right? The deliciously thick soup that originates in Italy?
Minestrone literally means “thick, vegetable soup.” Beans, vegetables, spices, and pasta, rice or quinoa (my personal preference) all combined together to create an unforgettable flavor explosion!
This soup is delicious, filling and can literally change its flavor based upon what time of year you make it. That’s because Minestrone is generally made with vegetables that are in season.
So let’s say that it’s summertime and you want to add lots of fresh tomatoes and squash and other summer vegetables, have at it! All of these taste amazing and will bring the flavors of summer out.
We are still in the middle of winter here so winter veggies it is! I used celeriac, carrots, celery, sweet potato, kale this time but you can easily substitute any veggie with the one you have on hand or like.
I also LOVE that tomato flavor in Minestrone so I added canned tomatoes. During the wintertime, I prefer not to use ”fresh” tomatoes as I don’t like the plastic tasting, juiceless ones that are in store this time of year. Regardless of whether I use fresh tomatoes or canned, it doesn’t change my love for Minestrone soup.
One thing about this Italian soup that never changes though is that it almost always includes beans. It doesn’t matter if you cook them yourself, or if you use canned beans, it will taste great. However, if you do cook the beans yourself, you can use the liquid from cooking them as your soup base, which adds to the flavor quite a bit. If this isn’t a big deal to you, or if you simply want to save time, you can use vegetable or chicken stock instead.
Minestrone soup is one of the meals that you almost always have the ingredients on hand for, plus it is also quite frugal, so it is perfect for those times that you are watching your food budget. Who doesn’t love a healthy meal that is easy on the budget? If that sounds like you and you are ready to make some delicious Winter Minestrone Soup, wait no more.
I recently made this soup for a family dinner and it was a huge hit! Everyone loved the flavors and were anxious to enjoy seconds. You can serve Minestrone as a side dish or make it the main course like I did when I served it with garlic bread (which was an amazing pairing by the way).
Winter Minestrone Soup
- 1½ cups cooked cannellini or butter beans , rinsed and drained (1 15 oz. can if using canned / ¾ cups if using dry)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium carrots , peeled and diced
- 1 cup celery , diced
- 1 cup red onion , diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water (only needed if you don’t cook beans yourself)
- 1 cup celeriac , cubed
- 1 medium sweet potato , diced
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups chopped fresh kale , thick ribs removed
- 3 tbsp finely chopped basil
- 2 oz (60g) Parmesan , grated (omit for vegan)
- (Skip this step if you use already cooked or canned beans). Soak the beans overnight in a large amount of water (should be at least 2 inches above the beans) or use a quick soak method: bring to boil, boil for 3 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse.
- Discard the soak water, and add 8 cups of fresh water for cooking. In a large pot, simmer the beans with a little salt and aromatics (onion, garlic, carrot, celery, rosemary, thyme, anything you have on hand) with the pan lid half for about 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, until tender. Discard the aromatics leaving the cooking liquid and the beans in the pot.
- Instead of the two steps above you can simply use vegetable or chicken stock or water (8 cups) as a soup base instead of the bean cooking liquid + use already cooked or canned beans.
- In a skillet, heat the olive oil and add the carrots, celery, red onion, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook for about 8 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the bean cooking liquid or the stock together with the cooked beans.
- Add the celeriac, sweet potatoes, canned tomatoes, and quinoa. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the chopped kale and cook 5-8 minutes, until wilted. Add more water if the soup is too thick. Stir in the chopped basil just before serving. Serve in bowls sprinkling each one with some Parmesan. Enjoy!