Homemade Minestrone Soup

This recipe is a popular one I thought I’d resurrect, so even more people can enjoy the yummy minestrone soup.

I thought of it while peeking outside my window, watching winter play out in my backyard: Trees cracking in the wind, snow swirling, and Lake Ontario thrashing with waves and ice.

It’s a cold one today, so what an ideal time for me to share my heartwarming Minestrone soup that you can make tonight to stave off the season’s chill.

I actually learned how to make this recipe when I was in Italy, and it was ideal because the Italians are known to cook with high-quality and in-season ingredients. This minestrone soup is based on those fundamentals of cooking: fresh vegetables, a bit of stock, and your best olive oil.

What’s important to remember here is that, when cooking, you really want to try your best to use vegetables that are in season. It’s not always easy, and sometimes you just have to go with what you want, but try your best to understand what vegetables taste best, depending on the season. Eating seasonally means you’re getting the best flavours out of those ingredients – without even trying that hard!

Minestrone Soup Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Oil
  • 6 cups of water, or alternatively 6 cups of low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • Vegetables of your choosing:
    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    • 1 large carrot, diced
    • 1 28-ounce can, no-salt-added diced tomatoes
    • 1 head of broccoli
    • 2 cups chopped rapini, cabbage or arugula (whichever may be your favourite)
  • 1 teaspoon of either fresh oregano, thyme, or parsley (given the time of year, dried works just as well here).
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • In a big soup pot, fry the chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic together in 2-3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil until soft.
  • Add in the crushed tomatoes with their juices
  • Cut all the veggies into large, bite-sized pieces, add to the pot in batches: your goal isn’t to steam the veggies, and that will happen if you over-crowd your pot, but to fry them to lend great texture.
  • Once you have fried the entire batch of veggies, add to that add 6 cups of warm water (just from the tap is fine!). Add a handful of fresh herbs like chopped parsley, thyme or oregano. If you don’t have fresh, dried will work just as well.
  • Salt and add freshly-ground pepper to taste and let simmer for two hours.
  • To serve, top with a little bit of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.
Bowl of Italian vegetable soup, minestrone in bowl with spoon

Tip: For an even greater depth of flavour, instead of water add 6 cups of low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock instead. Also, feel free to add in a protein (chicken or beef, cut into cubes fry in a small pan with Extra Virgin Olive Oil before adding to your soup mixture), or a starch: Jasmine rice or small egg noodles work well. This makes for a much heartier recipe!

Enjoy!

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