Kristina is a writer, gardener, volunteer, and parent to two energetic kids. She enjoys making healthy cooking as simple as possible!
Here in the Midwest of the United States, we often get subzero temperatures and inches (ahem, feet) of snow and ice. Every year, I cross my fingers and tell myself "this year we'll have a short winter!" knowing that is 100 percent wishful thinking. Some years, we have snow on the ground before Halloween. And then on other years, we get through the holidays before any snow falls. But without fail, the calendar flips the page to January, and winter shows up with an exuberant "I'm baaaack! Did you miss me?"
Honestly, I truly do like winter for a while (however, after a month, I'm ready for warmth and to be able to start my car without scraping it off first). I like the evergreen trees and frozen sunsets. The first snow of the year feels very quiet and peaceful. Kids are excited to get out and play, drink hot cocoa, and stomp around in their boots. And it's also the perfect time to warm up with a bowl of hearty minestrone soup.
This minestrone is super easy to make on cold, winter days. It's a healthy, comforting meal to warm up with after shoveling snow!
This vegetarian minestrone will warm you up, fill you up, plus it's quick and easy. At this stage of my life, I try to keep dinnertime as simple as possible. This recipe doesn't contain a ton of ingredients, and the longest part is just waiting for it to simmer. If you're a half-hearted cook like me, you'll appreciate this recipe. The minestrone is ready to eat in about 30 minutes. The best part? There isn't a lot of clean-up. And as a bonus; it's full of vegetables, tomatoes, and beans, so it's pretty healthy too. My kids even like it, Minestrone pairs very well with garlic bread (yum!) or a salad. Tip: get yourself one of those all-in-one bagged salads, to make things incredibly easy!
Read More From Delishably
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
4 generous servings
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 16 baby carrots, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans
- 1 1/4 cups small, dry pasta (e.g., shells, elbows)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Dice the onion, carrots, and celery into small, bite-sized pieces. I used baby carrots instead of regular, to eliminate the peeling process.
- Over medium heat, sautee the onion, carrots, and celery in a pan with butter. Sautee for about 5 to 7 minutes, until they start to get tender.
- Open two cans of white beans. I used Great Northern beans, but any white bean will work. Drain and rinse.
- For the tomato base, there are a couple of options. I used frozen, pureed tomatoes that I had preserved from my garden. These tomatoes already contained liquid, so I didn't need to add anymore to the recipe. I thawed and used this puree as my tomato base. If I didn't already have the frozen puree, I would use store-bought crushed tomatoes. Use 2 cups of the canned tomatoes (undrained), and then add 1 cup of water to thin it out. You'll need the extra water for the dry pasta to cook in. Put your tomato base into a large pot, and turn on medium heat.
- Add your sautéed vegetables to the tomato base. Stir in the white beans. Add the seasonings and vegetable bouillon. Adjust seasonings to your taste. If you prefer to use real garlic, instead of garlic powder, go for it. Real garlic is the best! Just sauté it with the other vegetables, as you read in step one.
- Bring to a low boil, and then turn to low heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
- With about 10 minutes left, add your small dry pasta right into the mixture. Any small pasta will work. I use whatever is available in my cabinet, typically shells or elbows. Allow the pasta to absorb the broth. If necessary, add broth. You want there to be enough liquid to cook the noodles and not have your minestrone become too thick. Simmer until the noodles are tender.
- When the noodles are almost soft, stir in your grated Parmesan cheese. This gives it a full, robust flavor.
- Top with soup crackers, green onions, or extra Parmesan. You can never go wrong with more cheese!
Don't forget your toppings! Grated Parmesan, soup crackers, croutons, green onions, or Parmesan crisps would all be delicious.
Note About Leftovers
If you know you'll have leftovers, you might prefer to cook the noodles separately, and add them to individual bowls upon serving. The noodles will continue absorbing liquid while stored in the fridge and you will end up with a thick minestrone, with little liquid. This doesn't bother me . . . it still tastes good! But if you prefer leftovers that are more soup-like, just cook the noodles separately, and store them in separate bowls in the fridge.