Minestrone is an Italian staple, also known as “poor man’s soup”. Italian peasants would gather leftover ingredients and make this hearty soup. While they share the same basic vegetables, there isn’t a definitive recipe for Minestrone.
Minestrone dates back hundreds of years. Its popularity began to take off in the 2nd century BC when Rome conquered Italy. During this time, economic growth allowed a variety of new vegetables to flood the market.
Consider this a budget-saving hearty meal on those cooler days which helps you clean out your fridge or use up extra produce from your garden.
Serve with nice hearty bread such as Easy Vienna Bread,
Budget Saving Minestrone
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil plus extra for serving
- 3 ounces bacon cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 medium celery ribs cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 medium carrot peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 small onions peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 medium garlic cloves minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 medium potato cut into 1 inch cubes
- ½ small green cabbage chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 4 cups beans romano, kidney, white cooked
- 8 cups water
- 1 can plum tomatoes cut into small pieces
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 piece Parmesan cheese rind about 5 by 2 inches
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/2-1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- Heat oil and bacon in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and fat has rendered, 3 to 5 minutes. Add celery, carrot, onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 5 to 9 minutes. Stir in garlic, cabbage, potato cubes, salt, and red pepper flakes; continue to cook until cabbage starts to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
- Add beans, water, broth, tomatoes, Parmesan rind, and bay leaf and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and vigorously simmer, stirring occasionally until the liquid begins to thicken, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Discard bay leaf and Parmesan rind, stir in chopped basil, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with olive oil and grated Parmesan.