As we transition from colder to warm days, enjoying a tasty soup like Minestrone is essential. This hearty soup, packed with vegetables, is friendly, comforting, and light enough that it doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down when you’re out enjoying the sunshine. Furthermore, this Vegetarian Minestrone is a winner in all my budget Bytes boxes: simple, affordable, cost-effective, flexible, and even meal prep-friendly!
WHERE’S THE PARMESAN?
Many variations of Minestrone are available, but they usually contain the addition of a Parmesan rind to add a more umami-like flavor to the broth. I did not own a Parmesan rind. Therefore this version is a vegetarian version of Minestrone. However, If you find a Parmesan rind in your kitchen and don’t mind making this soup vegetarian, add it to your soup just before it simmers! You’ll be delighted.
WHERE’S THE PASTA?
Minestrone typically contains something like noodles or grains that give the soup a heartier. Since pasta tends to become soft when swimming in the soup over a long period, I steer clear of this issue and instead substitute a few extra beans (chickpeas) to give it that extra heartiness without worrying about soupy pasta.
If you want to add pasta to your soup, select any small pasta, such as ditalini, small shells, or orzo. Add 1 cup of cooked pasta and 2 cups of broth to the soup and simmer until the pasta is soft.
WHAT OTHER VEGETABLES CAN I ADD TO MINESTRONE?
The thing I love that I love about Minestrone is that it’s super adaptable. If you don’t enjoy one or more ingredients in my recipe, you can substitute any of the following instead:
One yellow onion ($0.32)
Two cloves of garlic ($0.16)
4. 4 carrots ($0.32)
Two tablespoons olive oil ($0.32)
2 Tbsp tomato paste ($0.10)
1 28oz. bottle of tomato dice ($1.00)
1 15oz. kidney beans ($0.75)
1 15oz. canned chickpeas ($1.00)
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning ($0.30)
4 cups vegetable broth ($0.52)
One zucchini (about 1/2 lb.) ($0.71)
1 cup frozen green beans ($0.30)
One tablespoon of lemon juice ($0.06)
1 Tbsp of chopped Parsley (optional) ($0.10)
Slice the onion into dice and mince the garlic and cut the carrots. Add onions, garlic, c, carrots, and olive oil to a large soup pot. Cook on medium-low heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about five minutes).
Pour the tomato mixture into the pot, then cook for a couple of minutes until tomato paste starts covering the pan’s surface (make sure it doesn’t become burnt).
Rinse and remove the kidney beans and chickpeas. Then, add them to the pot as the chopped tomatoes (with juices), Italian Seasoning, and vegetable broth. Give everything a thorough stir, cover the pot with a lid over it, and let it come to a boil. Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring it frequently.
While the soup simmers, cut the zucchini into quarter-rounds. After the soup is simmering for 20 minutes, Add the sliced zucchini and the green beans that have been frozen (no need to defrost first). Mix and simmer the soup for another 5-10 minutes until zucchini softens.
The soup can be finished by adding lemon juice and chopped parsley. Take a bite and add salt if necessary (my soup did not require any salt addition. However, it might depend on the kind of broth employed). Serve warm with bread that has been baked for a dip!