The ideal recipe for using up late summer and early fall garden harvests, this minestrone is loaded with perfectly in-season vegetables and herbs.
After making variations on Kathryne Taylor’s fantastic recipe over at Cookie and Kate about a dozen times since February, I’ve finally discovered my dream minestrone. I’ve tweaked it quite a bit since then, but full credit to Kate for the aspects of this recipe that are similar. Be sure to check out her recipe blog (it’s one of the best out there!) and her cookbook, Love Real Food.
But I’ve ended up adapting a few ingredients and techniques in this recipe to my specific tastes and wanted to share this garden fresh version. Most importantly, I wanted this recipe to use fresh vegetables and herbs, straight from the summer and early fall garden.
Since many gardeners end up swimming in green beans and zucchini from July through September, minestrone is designed to use those up in the most delicious way possible. Unfortunately, I’m not lucky enough to have an overload of zucchini right now, since squash bugs have decimated my zucchini and winter squash plants this summer (though I’ve learned to tips to get rid of squash bugs organically next summer!). But I do have plenty of green beans straight from the garden).
I’ve also adjusted cooking times to preserve more of the original texture and color of the garden vegetables. In addition, I’ve amped up the flavor in a few spots, increased the quantity of vegetables (I like a hearty soup!), and included a special ingredient to add richness and depth to the minestrone. The result is absolutely luscious.
Savory, bright, filling, and full of flavor, this minestrone is a meatless meal that even carnivores will love. Even better, it’s one of those magical dishes that tastes amazing as leftovers. In fact, I rarely eat it fresh! Instead I’ll make a big batch, divide it into individual servings in mason jars, let the flavors meld in the fridge overnight, and then eat it for lunch throughout the week.
Fortunately, minestrone also freezes well with a couple of tweaks. The pasta and potatoes will get mushy after freezing and reheating, so I recommend leaving them out, at least initially. You can either replace them with more beans and freezer friendly veggies, or you can make the soup without them and add in boiled potatoes and pasta after you’ve thawed the soup.
- A BIG cutting board
- A chef’s knife
- A large pot or dutch oven with a lid
- A deep spoon
- Measuring spoons
- A can opener
- A pepper grinder
- An herb stripper
- Kitchen shears
- A garlic peeler
Before starting the recipe, do the following:
- Gather all ingredients and supplies.
- Dice the following:
- Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Then slice it into bite-sized pieces.
- Snap the green beans into 1/2 inch pieces.
- Mince the garlic
- Open the tomato paste and diced tomatoes, but don’t drain them.
- Remove the stems from the rosemary, thyme, and basil.
- Open, drain, and rinse the beans.
- Cut the rind off the parmesan.
- Juice the lemon half.
Minestrone making tips
- Slice the carrots and celery and dice the potato into small piece to ensure that they cook thoroughly.
- Leave the zucchini and green beans in large, but still bite-sized pieces. You’ll want these to be larger pieces than the other vegetables so that they don’t get too soft.
- You can substitute other vegetables as desired in this recipe, depending on the season, but you’ll want to add different types of vegetables at different times in the cooking process.
- Most veggies can be added when the instructions say to add the zucchini and green beans.
- Hard root vegetables, like parsnips or rutabagas, should be added along with the carrot and celery.
- Greens should only be added in the final few minutes of cooking
- Pay attention to the color and texture of the vegetables and pasta as you near the recipe’s end. Take the soup off the heat if the veggies start to turn dull or overly mushy or the pasta gets too soft.
- If you’d like to substitute dried herbs, use 1 teaspoon of each herb instead.
- You can substitute vegetable or turkey broth for the chicken broth, but I don’t recommend beef broth unless you like a very meaty flavor.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment! Minestrone’s one of the most flexible dishes out there.