Posts by tag: squash

  • Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Posted on January 5, 2017

Happy New Year! I hope 2017 is off to a wonderful start for everyone.

I must say, this first week of January has been pretty good to me. I’m feeling more rested and relaxed than usual. And I may have even detected a small “spring in my step” the other day when I was out walking my dog. I guess I was anxious (and long overdue) for a bit of a reset.

In general, I always love this time of year. Christmas is safely behind us (remember that I’m a big Scrooge!). And everything seems sparkly and fresh. And while I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions (I find they cause me unnecessary stress and anxiety), I was prompted by a friend to set three words of intention for 2017, and I decided to give that a go. It’s a seemingly simple task, but it did force me to pause and think about what I would like to achieve going forward into the New Year.

So my three words for 2017 are: create, peace, present.

What are your intentions for 2017? If you have three words you’d like to set, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup |

So…let’s talk about this Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup. YOU GUYS it’s so freaking good. I made a giant pot last week and I didn’t share it with anyone. I greedily ate it all by myself. And I reveled in the fact that I didn’t have to cook for several nights. I was in heaven.

This soup is full to the brim with delicious seasonal vegetables, nourishing ingredients and all the feel good vibes you can handle. It’s a great way to kick off the New Year. And trust me, you won’t feel deprived one bit. I’m totally digging it. And I know you will be too.

To make this minestrone soup recipe all cozy for winter, I used butternut squash and fennel in place of the usual carrots and celery. Then I added in a couple big handfuls of dark, leafy kale and lots of fresh herbs to keep things bright. I stuck with the more traditional ditalini and white beans, but you could certainly use any small-ish pasta and/or beans that you like. It’s all good in my book.

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup |

This recipe calls for a large jar of tomato Passata, which is an uncooked tomato purée that has been strained of the seeds and skins. Look for tomato Passata in your grocery store, located next to the other jarred/canned tomato products. Canned tomato purée is cooked and usually not strained, so it’s not an exact substitute. But you could probably use it in a pinch, if necessary. The other option would be to purchase canned whole tomatoes, then run them through your food processor or blender and strain them to achieve a smooth consistency.

This soup recipe itself is dairy free. I do like to shred some Parmesan cheese on top to finish the dish for serving. However, if you’re going dairy free, just leave that part out. Easy peasy!

I’m sharing this Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup recipe today as part of our monthly 30 Minute Thursday series. That’s right! You can make this gorgeous, satisfying soup in only 30 minutes! Just be sure to use a big pot for increased surface area and faster cooking. And keep the vegetables small and uniform so they cook up quickly and evenly. And before you go, check out the links below to see the other #30MinuteThursday recipes created by some of my blogging buddies!



Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Serves about 6

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced fennel
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (24.5 ounce) jar tomato Passata (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups thinly sliced kale leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped and divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese for serving, if desired


  1. Warm the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the butternut squash, onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. If the pot is getting dry, you can add an additional tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and black pepper and cook for 2 minutes more.
  2. Add the vegetable broth and Passata. Use the water to rinse out the Passata jar and add it to the pot. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the ditalini according to the package instructions until it’s al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. Add the cannellini beans, sliced kale and 3/4 cups of the chopped parsley to the soup and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked ditalini and lemon juice. Taste and adjust the soup for salt and black pepper.
  5. Ladle the hot soup into bowls. Top with some of the reserved parsley and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.
  6. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days. The soup will thicken oven time. You can add additional vegetable broth to thin the soup when re-heating it, if desired.


Fajita Gnocchi Skillet with Avocado Salsa from She Likes Food

Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini from Pumpkin N’ Spice

30-Minute Chicken with Greek Avgolemono Sauce from Flavor The Moments

One Pot BBQ Chicken Chili Mac from The Recipe Rebel

30-Minute Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo from My Kitchen Craze

Spiralized Veggie Thai Noodle Bowls from Sweet Peas and Saffron

  • Gnocchi and Winter Vegetables with Sage Cream Sauce

Gnocchi and Winter Vegetables with Sage Cream Sauce

Posted on December 1, 2016

Hi Friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

My Thanksgiving was fairly low key, but that’s just the way I like it. I had plenty of home cooked food. Some time with family and friends. A cold, foggy walk on the beach. And a crackling fire to warm my toes. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

After the Holiday, I took a much needed break from the blogging world to recharge my batteries. The days leading up to Thanksgiving were filled (overfilled, actually) with work projects and Holiday preparations. And I had some turbulent emotional ongoings as well (i.e. boy trouble) that was causing me some serious anxiety and heartache. By the time Thanksgiving was here, I was exhausted in every way imaginable. I could feel my rope starting to unravel from both ends. To be blunt: I was a hot mess.

Plum Island, MA |

So I needed to stop and slow down for a few days. Which admittedly, is a very hard thing for me to do. But it’s something that I’m working on trying to be better at. As my acupuncturist says, “it’s good you’re doing this stuff now, so that by the time you’re 50 you’ll have it figured out”.

Which is now my new life goal: get my shit together by the time I’m 50. Good thing I’ve got plenty of time until then to work on things.

Gnocchi and Winter Vegetables with Sage Cream Sauce |

In the meantime, I’m back with some comfort food. I actually don’t consider myself usually very good at making comfort food. It’s not really my thing. I’m more of a smoothie bowl and salad type of gal. But I think I nailed it this time with this cozy pot of Gnocchi and Winter Vegetables with Sage Cream Sauce.

I absolutely adore gnocchi and I need to remember cook with it more (I constantly seem to be forgetting about entire food groups). Homemade gnocchi is great – like soft, carbohydrate pillows of deliciousness. But store-bought versions are pretty good these days, and that’s what I’ve used in this recipe. The gnocchi cooks up in just a few minutes, which is a lifesaver on busy weeknights when you need dinner ASAP before you start mindlessly inhaling a whole box of Cheez-It crackers (not that I’ve ever done that). And when combined with some hearty roasted vegetables, like mushrooms, butternut squash and brussels sprouts, you’ve got a satisfying meal that’s perfect for the coldest of nights. I finished off this pot by myself in just two sittings, but you can stretch it to feed four people if you serve it with a salad and some toasty bread. And some wine, obviously.

I’m sharing this recipe as part of our monthly 30 Minute Thursday series, where you can find other great recipes (links below!) that are perfect for fast weeknight dinners. Or for times when you’re just so damn hangry that you might demolish a whole box of Cheez-It crackers by yourself. Just saying.



Gnocchi and Winter Vegetables with Sage Cream Sauce

Serves about 4

Gnocchi and Winter Vegetables with Sage Cream Sauce


  • 2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 cups brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and sliced into wedges
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. salt, divided
  • 3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 1 lb package store-bought gnocchi
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. In a large rimmed baking pan, toss together the butternut squash, brussels sprouts, mushrooms and sliced red onion with the olive oil and 1/2 tsp. each of the salt and black pepper. Transfer the baking pan to your pre-heated oven and roast the vegetables for 20 minutes, stirring once half way through the cooking time. Remove and set aside. Leave your oven set to 425 degrees.
  2. While the vegetables are roasting, bring some water to a boil in an oven-proof pot. Add the gnocchi and cook it according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Using the same pot you used to cook the gnocchi, combine and warm the cream, sage leaves, Parmesan cheese and the remaining 1/4 tsp. each of the salt and black pepper over medium heat until the sage smells fragrant, about 2 minutes. Don’t let the cream come to a boil. Add the cooked gnocchi, roasted vegetables and mozzarella cheese, stirring to combine. Then transfer the pot to your oven and cook for 5 and additional minutes.
  4. Remove the pot from your oven and allow the gnocchi to rest for about 3-5 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional fresh sage leaves, if desired.
  5. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 1-2 days.


1. If you don’t have an oven-proof pot, you can transfer everything to a baking dish before warming it in your oven.


Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup from Pumpkin ‘N Spice

Jamaican Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner from Sweet Peas & Saffron

Easy Falafel Soup with Tamari Croutons & Tahini from She Likes Food

Creamy Pesto Gnocchi with White Beans and Sausage from My Sequined Life

Creamy One Pot Turkey and Rice from Bake.Eat.Repeat.

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