If you asked me if I liked minestrone five years ago, I would have answered in the negative. Outside of chili, tomato based soups just weren’t my thing. Then one balmy June evening in Chicago, I went over to my best friend’s house to relax. I was in the middle of moving and hadn’t been able to make myself dinner. Rather than grab fast food, I just grabbed a bag of microwave popcorn to take with me. When I asked her if I could make my “dinner”, she frowned and proceeded to take me back to her kitchen and ladle me up a big, steaming bowl of this minestrone. I honestly didn’t want to eat it, but felt it would be rude not to, so I dug in. My world was forever changed.
This minestrone is different than any most of you have had before. There isn’t any pasta. There are potatoes. There are ridiculous amounts of vegetables, including cabbage. And uncharacteristically for me, these vegetables are all cooked until very well done. But this is the best minestrone I have ever tasted, hands down. And as an added bonus, it tastes even better if it sits for a day or two in the fridge or longer in the freezer. So go make a big pot today and save some for next week or next month!
Minestrone (Serves at least 10)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 clove minced garlic or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 (14 ounce) can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed well
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 (14 ounce) cans no salt added diced tomatoes
7 cups beef stock
2 cups diced potato
2 cups diced zucchini
2 cups shredded savoy cabbage
1. Heat oil in large stock pot. Add onion and cook until golden (about 5-7 minutes). Add celery and carrots; cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic; sauté for 1 minute more.
2. Turn heat to low. Add beans, bay leaf, thyme, and Italian seasoning. Toss and let cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and beef stock and bring to a boil.
3. Add in potato, zucchini, and cabbage. Turn down to a simmer. Let simmer for 2 hours. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig before serving.
Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):
Protein: 3.5 g
Fat: 3.2 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: less than 1 mg
Carbohydrates: 16 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 634 mg
Recipe Notes: You can use chicken or vegetable stock instead, but the flavor is definitely not as good. I also do not recommend a low sodium stock. I have a hard time finding savoy cabbage sometimes. I have used a napa cabbage with decent results. You use about half of either cabbage for the soup. I know it seems a really long time to cook the vegetables, but it helps the flavors blend. I have simmered this in the crockpot for 2-3 hours on high. It works, but doesn’t yield quite the same results. This really does freeze exceptionally well. I know the sodium is a bit high in the nutrient analysis. I have done several things to try and cut the sodium, but this is as far as I can go without sacrificing flavor.
Source: adapted from my friend’s mother-in-law’s recipe
Low-iodine adjustment: Use no salt added stock and no salt added beans. Add at least 1 teaspoon of non-iodized salt with stock. You may need to taste and adjust seasonings.