This post was originally published here January 5, 2017. I’ve since updated the photographs and text. This hearty, nourishing soup is ready in about 30 minutes!
I hate to be the bearer of bad news…but it’s still Winter.
I know. I’m sorry. Don’t shoot the messenger.
But I’m making the best of the situation and I’m sneaking in one final hearty soup recipe before the Spring thaw. This Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup is so delicious AND easy that it might even make you glad that it’s still Winter!
Ok. Probably not. But I tried.
If you search recipes for minestrone soup, you’ll find many different versions. There aren’t really any hard-and-fast rules about which vegetables must be present to make a minestrone soup. And it often varies depending on the season and region. For this Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup, I used a combination of chopped butternut squash, onion and fennel for the bulk of the recipe. I’ve also included lots of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme and parsley) and a couple big handfuls of kale. Basically, it’s all my favorite nourishing ingredients in one big pot!
To make the broth for this soup, you’ll need a jar of tomato passata. Tomato passata is an uncooked, strained tomato purée that you can find next to the other shelf-stable tomato products in your grocery store. It typically comes in a jar, but I’ve also seen it in cartons. If, however, for some reason you can’t find tomato passata, the next best thing would be to buy canned whole tomatoes and purée them in your food processor or blender. Canned tomato sauce is a cooked tomato product, and thus is not an exact substitute for tomato passata in recipes.
Whenever I make minestrone, I always cook the pasta separately and add it in at the end. If you cook the pasta in the soup itself, it will absorb a lot of the liquid. And it will also make the broth a bit starchy. Ditalini is my favorite pasta shape for this recipe and is somewhat traditional (although some minestrone recipes don’t contain any pasta at all!), but other small pasta shapes can certainly be used.
Serve this Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, a side of bread and a glass of wine and Winter won’t be looking so bad after all!
Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup
- 2-3 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
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups thinly sliced kale leaves
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat. Add the butternut squash, onions and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften. If the pot is getting dry you can add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Add the vegetable broth, passata and water (use the water to rinse out the passata jar). Bring the soup up to a boil, then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer the soup, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the kale, 3/4 cups of the chopped parsley, cannellini beans and lemon juice. Simmer until the kale is softened, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the ditalini according to the package instructions until it’s al dente (mine was 8 minutes). Drain. Then stir the cooked ditalini into the soup. Taste and adjust for salt and black pepper. Rewarm the soup as needed.
- To serve, ladle the warm soup into bowls. Top with some of the reserved parsley and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. The soup will thicken as the ditalini absorbs some of the liquid. You can add additional vegetable broth or water to thin the soup, as needed.
Happy New Year, Liz! I’m definitely ready to get back on track of eating healthier and exercising a bit more. The holidays are my favorite time of year, but I’m ready to move on! This soup is just calling my name. I could eat soup every single day (not exaggerating!) so I’m loving this easy minestrone!
I know you’re a big soup lover…even in the Summer! I hope you try out this minestrone. I think you’ll love it! Cheers!
Happy happy new year friend! Can my words be eat, booze, eat? I feel like you would appreciate that one! This soup is exactly what I need in the new year, especially with the veggies and pasta!
Ha ha – I do very much appreciate those words! 🙂
I love your words for 2017 Liz! I’ve never been one for serious resolutions either but I always feel ready to give my best self a go. Let’s hope it sticks! Lol. I am a big soup lover, especially minestrone! Such a fun twist.
Thanks, Ashley! Yeah the three words seemed less daunting than some strict resolutions. I’m really liking it!
I’ll have to put some thought into my three words Liz. I know there’s lots I would like to work on, so I’ll come up with something.
This Minestrone looks so nice and hearty. Perfect for the winter season. My husband Tom would love it, so I’d have to share. Hope you have a wonderful 2017. Can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store at the Floating Kitchen!
It’s actually a tough little mental exercise, right? Hope you have a wonderful and delicious 2017! So glad we’ve been able to connect via our blogs!
My relaxing time was last week, now it’s back to the grind! I don’t do resolutions either, and if I had to choose 3 words for this year I would choose savor, strive, and celebrate (you made me stop and think there for a minute!). I’m all about hearty soups packed with veggies and I’m ready to get a big pot of this on the stove. I won’t share either!
Oh I love “celebrate”. I need to do that more too – like celebrating the small things and not beating myself up so much about stupid crap. Thanks for sharing, Marcie!
I agree… I actually prefer the time after the holidays. No more rushing around.
So, I am totally craving a big bowl of soup right now but I’ve gotten distracted by things (Ok… blogs and Facebook) and have made zero effort on the dinner front. But this needs to happen very very soon.
Despite the usually cold and dark weather we have here in January, it’s actually one of my favorite months. I love the fresh start! Let me know if you try out the soup!
Delicious! Definitely something that’ll be going on my cozy meal list!
Let me know if you try it out, Tori!
What a way to start the new year. Beautiful!
Thanks, Nicole! Happy New Year!
I’m totally with ya on new years resolutions and love your idea of overarching themes for the year. I did something similar last year, and wrote down personal goals for the year. Thinking about those goals, my big theme was peace and self care. So, I think I’ll continue on with those in the new year, as I’ve a lot of work to do – lol! Oh My!! All the goodness here… the color instantly warms me up! and you wouldn’t believe! I just bought a box of ditalini to make a winter minestrone, going off a summer minestrone recipe… but now I can use yours! OMG! This looks sooo good, Liz.. pure comfort food! I can see why you’d hoard it! I bet it’s freezer friendly too.. I’ll take it! Looking forward to your creative work and your inspiration in the New Year Liz!!
Guess we both had minestrone on the brain this week! Peace and self care sound like good goals. Self care is something I need to be much better at. I’m so very hard on myself. We are our own worst enemies some days. Looking forward to much deliciousness in 2017! XOXO!
I’m kinda happy that Christmas is behind us too, although I never really got into the Christmas spirit this year. Everything seemed to go by way too fast, but I’m excited that it’s January now and it’s a new year! I haven’t made a nice hearty vegetable soup in so long and this minestrone looks amazing! Despite the fact that it’s about 80 degrees here, I think I could still go for a big bowl of this 🙂
80 degrees! I can’t even imagine that right now. Only 6 degrees this morning on my dog walk! Yikes! Sounds like I need soup more than you. Lol.
Joy, productivity, health
This minestrone sounds just FAB! Thanks for sharing!
Love your words, Michelle! Cheers!
Love this update, Liz! Thank you for your tip about cooking the pasta separately. Simple yet so smart! Winter will be here a bit longer… more soup please!
Still full on soup weather here – just got a foot of snow! Yikes!