Yield: 6-8 servings

In Italian, minestrone means “big soup,” and this recipe delivers. In this version, carrots, onion, leeks, zucchini, cabbage, tomatoes, kidney beans, and whole wheat pasta make for a hearty vegetarian meal. Adding the parmesan rind to the broth infuses the soup with a subtle flavor. Enjoy!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 leek (white part and 1 inch green), quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 3 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • 2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 Idaho potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3/4 cups dried kidney beans, cooked and drained (about 2 cups)
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup small whole wheat pasta
  • 5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly grated parmesan for garnish
  • Parmesan rind (optional)


  1. In a medium stock pot, heat oil and butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, carrots, onion, and leek and raise the heat slightly. Cover and wilt the vegetables for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the cabbage, zucchini, potato, stock, tomato paste, and parmesan rind (optional). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add oregano, basil, pepper, and salt. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the kidney beans, tomatoes, and pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender. Remove the parmesan rind. Stir in the parsley. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese as a garnish.

Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook

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