The best part about this garden vegetable minestrone is the enormous volume of gorgeous vegetables you can fit into a single pot and the rustic nature used to prep them. Enjoy the process of cooking this soup and appreciate the opportunity to preserve the taste of peak harvest. A few hours preparing this minestrone and you’ll reap the benefits for days or even months to come—the flavor only gets better over time. The recipe makes a huge quantity, so you can have your fill now, or portion into meal-sized freezer bags, freeze and enjoy on a cold winter day.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 7–9 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 5–6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1–2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 2–3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
- 5–7 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 winter squash or pumpkin (we used a ‘kuri’ squash), peeled, seeded, and chopped into large chunks
- 5–6 leeks, top dark greens removed, white and light green parts halved lengthwise, soaked to remove dirt, and chopped into half moons
- 12–14 fingerling potatoes, cut into half moons or rounds, depending on size
- 1 fennel bulb, medium chop
- 3–4 green, sweet, or bell peppers, finely chopped
- 16–18 turnips, roots and greens chopped separately
- 1–2 zucchini, inner flesh with seeds discarded, outer flesh cut into small cubes
- 16–20 ounces dried fagioli beans, rehydrated and cooked
- 16–20 ounces dried cannellini beans, rehydrated and cooked
- 5–10 ounces baby kale, chopped
- 2–3 cups green beans, blanched and chopped
- 2 heads escarole, root ends removed, leaves roughly chopped into ½-inch pieces
- 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
- 3 quarts chicken stock or vegetable stock
- Olive oil, as needed
- salt and freshly ground pepper, season as you go
- Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil for finishing
- Preheat a braiser or other heavy-bottomed pan with a lid over medium-high heat. Generously coat pan with olive oil and add tomatoes, one-fourth of the onions, 2 minced garlic cloves, oregano, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Add another drizzle of oil, cover the pan, and gently simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat a large heavy-bottomed enameled pot over medium-high to high heat. Generously coat pot with oil and stir in remaining onions, carrots, winter squash, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until vegetables soften a bit and a little caramelization develops on bottom of pan, 5–7 minutes.
- Stir in remaining garlic, potatoes, leeks, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until all the liquid has cooked off but vegetables are still al dente, 5–7 minutes.
- Stir in fennel and peppers of your choice and season with salt and pepper. Sauté 2–3 minutes, then pour in chicken stock and tomato sauce from the braiser. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, until potatoes are slightly soft, 15–20 minutes. Stir in turnip roots and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cover pot and return to a gentle simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add fagioli and cannellini beans, kale, turnip greens, blanched green beans, and salt and pepper. Push ingredients down into the broth without stirring too much, cover pot, and cook for 3–5 minutes. Stir in escarole, cover pot, return to a simmer, and cook for another 3–4 minutes.
- Stir in basil, cover pot, and remove from heat. Ladle into bowls, drizzle with some nice olive oil, and serve.
- Prepping the soup: This is a rustic soup, so don’t get crazy with perfect knife skills. The most important thing is to cut all related vegetables to similar sizes so they all cook evenly.
- Storing the soup: If you’re going to save all or a portion of the soup do your best to cool it as rapidly as possible. The soup will continue to cook in the pot and you run the risk of overcooking certain vegetables. Transfer meal-sized portions to freezer bags, label them, and freeze for a later date.
- Serving the soup: Try adding cooked pastina or pearl pasta to the soup and serve with grilled or toasted bread.
- Category: soup
- Method: braise, sauté
Keywords: vegetable minestrone,