Minestrone has traditionally been designed to use leftover vegetables, so be sure to use any seasonal vegetables and greens you have on hand. I used potatoes and spinach for the soup you see here, and it was absolutely delicious.

INGREDIENTS Of Classic Minestrone Soup

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium ribs celery, chopped
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables (potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, butternut squash, green beans or peas all work)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with their liquid (or 2 small 15-ounce cans)
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole grain orecchiette, elbow or small shell pasta
  • 1 can (15 ounces) Great Northern beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked beans
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped kale or chopped collard greens
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnishing (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS Of Classic Minestrone Soup

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, tomato paste and a pinch of salt.
  2. Cook until vegetables have softened and onions become translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add seasonal vegetables, garlic, oregano and thyme. Cook until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the diced tomatoes and their juice, broth and water. Add salt, bay leaves and red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pan with the lid.
  5. Reduce the heat as needed to maintain a slight boil. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the cover and add the pasta, beans and green vegetables. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked al dente and the green vegetables are tender. Remove the pan from the heat, then remove the bay leaves.
  6. Stir in the lemon juice and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Taste and season with more salt and pepper until the flavors really sing.
  7. Garnish with bowls of grated Parmesan soup, if desired.