Loaded Minestrone Soup
I’m coming at you with another soup recipe. Soup always amazes me that you can dump a lot of ingredients into a large pot (portions just a suggestion), add some stock and seasoning and you have a hearty, comforting filling meal. This minestrone pulls in a medley of flavors from the vegetables, but it’s the pesto and Parmesan cheese at the end that really give it a mouthful of flavor. By including beans and pasta it is plenty filling so you aren’t digging through the cabinets for a snack an hour after eating dinner.
Because this is Jacked Kitchen where I’m always pushing you to go the extra mile to make good food, I recommend you take the time to cut up fresh vegetables and herbs if you can. I really don’t think you’ll save yourself all that much time by using a bag of frozen vegetables and the vegetables will be a little mushy and lacking in flavor. If you want to save time, don’t get too caught up on the chopping of the vegetables. They do not have to be perfect and if they are relatively uniform in size that will work just fine.
This soup is great any time of year. The vegetables are fresh and the pesto has a pop of flavor while the beans, cheese and pasta make it comforting as any good soup recipe should be.
Loaded Minestrone Soup Recipe
Makes 6 bowls.
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 3 small Yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 zucchini, quartered
- 1/2 jalapeno, minced
- 1/2 cup green beans, diced
- 1 and 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (substitute 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
- 1 can fire roasted petite diced tomatoes with green chiles (substitute any style of petite diced tomatoes)
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups water (optional)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 can white beans (substitute cannellini or kidney beans)
- 1/3 cup pre-made pesto
- Parmesan rind (optional)
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 1 cup Israeli couscous (substitute small pasta such as Ditalini, Pastina or Acini di Pepe)
- 1 and 1/4 cup water
Prepare the Ingredients
- Peel and dice 1/2 of a yellow onion.
- Peel and mince 3 cloves of garlic.
- Dice 2 medium sized carrots into 1/2-inch thick pieces.
- Dice 3 small Yukon gold potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. (No need to peel the potatoes.)
- Chop half of a zucchini into 1/2-inch thick quarters.
- Mince 1/2 of a jalapeno. (Remove the seeds.)
- Dice green beans into 1/2 cup bite size pieces.
- Remove thyme leaves from their stems for 1 and 1/2 tsps.
- Drain and rinse 1 can of white beans.
- Grate Parmesan into 1/2 a cup
Make the Soup
- In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions soften.
- Add the carrots and potatoes and generously season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the zucchini, green beans, jalapeno and 1 can diced tomatoes. Stir and season again with salt.
- Add 4 cups of stock. You want the vegetables sufficiently covered. Depending on how many vegetables you add, you may need to add up to 2 more cups of stock or water.
- Add the thyme and 1 tsp dried oregano. Add a Parmesan rind if you have one. Cover the soup and bring to a boil.
- Add the beans, reduce to low heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
- In a separate saucepan, add 1 cup Israeli couscous and a drizzle of olive oil. Toast the couscous over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Cover with 1 and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer, covered for 12-13 minutes.
- Check the soup to ensure the vegetables are softened. Taste the broth and add additional salt or pepper to taste.
- Serve by adding a spoonful of couscous to separate bowls and cover with the soup. Top with a scoop of pesto and grated Parmesan cheese.
When making soup don’t get too caught up on portions. There is nothing wrong with the ‘a little of this, a little of that’ mentality. This minestrone is loaded with vegetables, and the amounts I use in the recipe can be increased or decreased to your liking.
I often think of soup stewing for hours and hours on the stove, but this soup actually cooks fairly quick. The carrots and zucchini will become way too mushy if you let the soup stew for too long. I also cook the couscous separately so it doesn’t get too mushy in the soup. You can skip the couscous or pasta and the soup will still taste great. The Parmesan rind is also optional. I often chop the cheese into large chunks and run it through the food processor saving the cheese rind for recipes like this soup. It adds a cheesy, salty flavor to the soup that can be discarded before serving.
Be sure to season with salt and pepper as you add the vegetables at each step. The salt will help to bring out the flavors of the vegetables. I encourage you to taste the soup along the way so you are careful to not over or under season.
It makes about 6 bowls, depending on your serving size. The leftovers heat up well so I usually eat enough for myself and use the leftovers for lunch or dinner again the next day.