A warm bowl of minestrone is the perfect comfort food. I love minestrone because it's a cold weather soup that has all the flavor of summer vegetables.
And of course, this soup is made with nourishing bone broth — rich in minerals that build strong bones and teeth.
Minestrone is Italian for “the big soup”. Minestra is the Italian word for soup, and one means big.
According to Wikipedia:
The word minestrone has its root in the latin word “minus” or minor or less, which was applied to servants, as they were considered subordinates. Hence, the word “minestrone” originates from the latin word “minestrare” or literally “that which is served.” The verb is from circa 1300, originally “to serve (food or drink)” and shares the same root as the verb and noun “minister”.
Where to Find Real Bone Broth
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- Yield: Serve for 6-8
- Cannellini or Great Northern beans, dried, or use canned beans (1 cup)
- Olive oil, extra-virgin, organic, or grass-fed butter or coconut oil (1 TBS + extra for serving)
- Pancetta or bacon, pastured and nitrate-free (3 oz)
- Celery stalks, medium (2)
- Carrot, medium (1)
- Zucchini, medium (1)
- Garlic cloves (2)
- Sea salt
- Red pepper flakes (1/8-1/4 tsp)
- Chicken or beef stock, preferably homemade (10 cups)
- Parmesan cheese rind, 1 piece (5×2″)
- Bay leaf (1)
- Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Tomato sauce (1 1/2 cups)
- Basil leaves, fresh (1/2 cup)
- Black pepper, freshly ground
1. Soak the dried beans in warm filtered water for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse well.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cut the pancetta or bacon into 1/4 inch pieces. Add to the pan and cook until lightly browned, and fat had rendered, about 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Clean the celery and carrot, chopping into into 1/2 inch pieces. Peel the onions and finely dice. Trim the zucchini and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Peel the garlic and finely mince.
4. Add the celery, carrot, onions, and zucchini to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, about 5 to 9 minutes. Stir in the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, and red pepper flakes. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and set aside.
5. Add the soaked beans, chicken stock, Parmesan rind, and bay leaf to the now empty pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
6. Reduce heat and vigorously simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are fully tender and liquid begins to thicken, 45 to 60 minutes.
7. Add the reserved vegetables, and tomato sauce to the pot. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and Parmesan rind.
8. Coarsely chop the fresh basil and stir into the soup. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
9. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
There is no official recipe for minestrone — it's a catch-all made out of whatever is in season. Sometimes I like to add brown rice pasta, especially if I'm in a hurry and don't have any soaked beans. But I usually prefer making minestrone with beans because it has more protein.
You can also play around with using different vegetables. Use what you have on hand and have fun with it!
You can use canned beans instead of dried if you are in a hurry.
If you like, you can serve this soup with some crusty sourdough and butter. It's also nice accompanied by a green salad with shaved fennel and Parmesan.
If you are on allergic to dairy, you can omit the Parmesan.
Note: This recipe is GAPS-legal.
Things to do ahead:
1. Make the chicken stock about 24 hours ahead
2. Soak the dried beans at least 8 hours or overnight
Equipment Needed for This Recipe
Large stock pot or Dutch oven