Minstrone's origins date back to a simpler time when pure vegetables were the primary diet of earlier civilizations, due to their health benefits and availability. Types of foods were limited, but globalization offered the spread of ingredients from around the world to regions that never had known of their existence. As the Italian diet developed, new ideas for meals began to emerge. In order to not be wasteful, leftovers from other recipes were normally added into a soup after the meal was prepared. This combination of thick broth and a variety of vegetables became the general recipe for creating minestrone, before these cultures had even known of that term.
Since so many iterations of the recipe were made over time, today there is no standard way to make the soup. Creativity allows for the mixture of multiple ingredients, including whatever types of vegetables and even meats that are on hand, to be added together and still qualify as minestrone. We at reCAP® are happy to share our favorite recipe of this well known dish!
(Recipe originally from The Food Network)
- 3 cup(s) reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can white (cannellini or navy) beans, drained
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 cup(s) onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) dried sage
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 cup(s) cooked ditalini pasta* or gluten free pasta substitute
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped, chopped
- 2 cup(s) fresh or frozen spinach, coarsely chopped and defrosted
- 4 tablespoon(s) Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
- Basil sprigs, garnish, optional
- In a slow cooker, combine broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.
- Thirty minutes before the soup is done cooking, add ditalini, zucchini and spinach.
- Cover and cook 30 more minutes.
- Remove bay leaves and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.
- Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top.
- Garnish with basil, if desired.
- Pour soup into several Mason jars.
- Cap the jars off with reCAP® POUR or FLIP Mason jar lids for easy storage in your refrigerator or freezer.