The perfect fall/winter soup
Minestrone is a classic Italian soup that can be made all year round using seasonal produce. In the winter, I opt for vegetables like potatoes, carrots and winter squash, but you can use any veggies that you have in your fridge. I love that it’s adaptable and uses ingredients that you probably have in your pantry. It also happens to be super satisfying and delicious with it’s rich tomato broth, hearty pasta + veggies and a healthy topping of parmesan.
One thing I don’t like about minestrone is how the pasta gets all mushy when you go to reheat it or eat as leftovers. This is why I decided to use farro instead of pasta. The farro adds a wonderful nutty flavor, chewy texture, and more protein, fiber, B vitamins and minerals.
How do you make minestrone soup?
There is not one solid recipe for minestrone. All regions of Italy have different ways of doing it. To put it simply, it’s a soup or stew with a rich tomato broth and seasonal vegetables. All you have to do is saute the aromatics, then add in the vegetables, beans and grains or pasta and let it simmer until cooked through and delicious!
How do I substitute different vegetables?
If you want to use different vegetables than what the recipe calls for, go for it! Just keep in mind how long each vegetable takes to cook. For example, you should add winter squash in the beginning and stir in broccoli more towards the end.
You can use winter squash or sweet potatoes instead of potatoes. Easily add in broccoli, green beans, zucchini (those should all go in towards the end as they take less time to cook).
Farro White Bean Minestrone
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp salt
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 cup farro
1 (13.5 oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
8 oz yukon gold potatoes, cubed (about 2 medium potatoes)
6 cups water
3 cups chopped kale
Parmesan, for serving (optional)
In a large pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, fennel seeds, oregano, and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook for 30 more seconds.
Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables and spices. Cook for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, to caramelize the tomato paste into a deep dark color.
Stir in the farro, white beans, tomatoes, potatoes and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.
Stir in the kale and simmer for 1 more minute. Served drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with shredded parmesan (if using) and black pepper.
Tips and tricks for the perfect farro minestrone
Make sure to cook the raw tomato flavor out of your tomato paste. This will add a rich, more intense flavor to your soup.
As always, taste and season with more salt if needed. Everyone has a different preference for salt levels (I always go heavier on the salt!).
Don’t skip the olive oil or Parmesan topping. This is also delicious with some crusty bread!
If you have a block of Parmesan, add the rind into the soup along with the water. It will add a ton of cheesy, yummy flavor.