Minestrone is such a great soup for winter, isn’t it? It has a little bit of everything in it, and is so versatile. The ingredients can be changed up to fit anyone’s tastes, whether you like it with bits of ham or bacon, with cheesy tortellini (as I’ve done here), or easily made vegan as well. This is a great recipe if you have a bunch of odds and ends in the refrigerator that you’re looking for ways to use, too. Don’t be frightened by the long list of ingredients, this is one of the easiest things in the world to make, and not only that, it’s hearty, delicious, and warming for those icky cold winter blahs.
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper of choice, chopped
1 16 ounce (400 grams) can plum tomatoes, crushed
1/2 head cabbage, roughly chopped
2-3 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
a generous handful of green beans, trimmed and cut
a generous handful of pinto beans, shucked
2-3 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 small acorn (or other) squash, peeled and diced
2-3 zucchini, washed and chopped
1 large bunch spinach, washed and chopped
1 cup peas
1 cup corn
3 quarts vegetable broth (or more to generously cover vegetables)
oregano, basil and thyme to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
2 cups tortellini
Using a large stockpot, saute garlic in olive oil until golden, then add onions and stir around a bit.
Add remaining ingredients except tortellini and bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce heat to low.
Cook about an hour then add tortellini.
Bring back to a boil, then cover and remove from heat.
Allow to stand about 30 minutes (to cook tortellini).
Serve with freshly grated parmigiana if desired.