Minestrone soup is unaffectionaly sometimes referred to as the kitchen sink soup…meaning you can put just about anything in it! To me, it’s a God-send for staying within a food budget AND eating healthy. That combination isn’t something you come across every day.
Minestrone soup is essentially a broth-based soup with lots of veggies. You can add just about any vegetables you have on hand, or even better, use all of those veggies in the produce drawer that are on the verge of going bad. You can also make this soup on the fly, since frozen veggies work great too. For a little added protein, beans are a common ingredient, but I also added some leftover cooked chicken for this round. Leftover rotissere chicken or that half serving that won’t be enough for a complete meal are easy add-ins for this dollar-saver.
As with so many soups, you start with sauteeing the standard trio – diced onion, celery, and carrots. Feel free to add garlic to this combo too. Once soft, it’s down to adding broth (vegetable or chicken work well), your veggies and protein. Canned tomatoes are another common go-to for this soup. I prefer diced tomatoes with garlic, basil and oregano, but fire-roasted can be awesome too. Sprinkle in any spices at this point. I prefer oregano or a bay leaf, but let your tastebuds guide you. Bring all of this to a simmer for at least 30 minutes so the flavors can marry – a fancy way of saying “makes it yummy”.
While there are many variations to this soup, here is the general recipe I use.
Easy Minestrone Soup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 gloves garlic, chopped
1 32 oz. container low-sodium chicken broth (can substitute vegetable for vegetarian option)
2-3 cups of vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces (Examples: zucchini, green beans, squash, broccoli, fresh spinach, mushrooms)
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic
1 15 oz. can canellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded (optional)
Season to taste – salt, pepper, oregano
Warm oil over medium to medium high heat in a stock pot. Add onion, celery, and carrots and sautee until slightly softened. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add broth. Then add vegetables, tomatoes, beans, chicken and seasoning. Stir to combine. Cover pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.
Serve with a salad, whole grain crackers, cheese toast or all on it’s own. Enjoy!