This hearty Italian soup is packed with flavor. Loaded with veggies and beans, the classic Minestrone soup is the perfect dish for a healthy family lunch or dinner!
Where was Minestrone Soup invented?
Minestrone soup originated in Italy long before the Roman Empire (27 BC to 286 AD) and the Roman Kingdom (753 BC to 509 BC) existed. It even existed much before that when the Latin tribes reached the region of Rome.
The local diet was mostly veggies such as carrots, turnips, broad beans, garlic, cabbage, lentils, onions, and asparagus. Meals would have been like the “pulte”, a porridge made of spelt flour and veggies.
After Rome conquered the rest of Italy, other products started to reach them and the Italian diet started to include meats circa 2 BC.
As bread from Greece reached Rome, spelt was removed from soups and pulte became a meal for the poor. But they continued to include cereals and vegetables in their diet in the form of thick vegetable soups.
There’s a 1st century AD cookbook by Caelius Apicius, commonly called De Re Coquinaria (On the Subject of Cooking) that’s pseudepigraphically attributed to Marcus Apicius. (Pseudepigraphical mean wrongly attributed.) This book has a recipe for a soup called polus that included farro, fava beans, chickpeas, onions, lard, garlic, and other greens.
Over time, Italian eating habits changed and the soup also included wine and brains. Once American tomatoes and potatoes reached Europe in the 16th century, they were included in the minestrone as well.
Minestrone now belongs to the “cucina povera” or “poor kitchen” style of cooking which includes rustic and rural dishes from antiquity.
How is Minestrone Pronounced?
Ever go into a restaurant and order minestrone soup and end up in a debate on how to pronounce minestrone? It’s happened to a lot of us!
Minestrone is a word derived from the Italian word ‘minestra’ which means ‘soup’.
So in Italian it is pronounced “min eh stron ee” or “min eh stron eh”.
There are a few regional Italian dialects do not pronounce the ending ‘e’ and say “min eh stron”. You might find this version more widely used in the US after it was popularized by the HBO series called “The Sopranos”.
But whichever way you pronounce it, minestrone is the heartiest Italian soup there is! So here’s how to make minestrone soup from scratch!
Recipe Pointers For Minestrone Soup Recipe
- I’ve used elbow macaroni, but you can use your favorite small pasta instead.
- Kidney beans give the soup that extra ounce of fiber!
- Want the soup spicier? Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of chili flakes.
- You can use cannellini beans in place of kidney beans.
- Serve with some buttery toasted bread!
- Top the soup with some grated parmesan before serving.
- Use gluten-free macaroni (pasta) to make the soup gluten-free.
FAQs about Minestrone Soup
Minestrone soup is a type of vegetable soup that also has beans and pasta in it. Also, minestrone soup more often than not also contains ground beef.
Minestrone is derived from the Italian word ‘minestra’ which means ‘soup’.
Minestrone soup is best served with simple toasted bread. But if you want to serve with other dishes, a grilled cheese sandwich, a tomato cheese sandwich, cheese toast, roasted cauliflower, or these potato dumplings will go really well with it! Feel free to pair it with panna cotta for dessert.
To make vegan minestrone soup or vegetarian minestrone soup replace the ground beef in the recipe with boiled potatoes, or carrots.
You can add green peas, zucchini, spinach, kale, celery, cabbage, other seasonal vegetables, and beans.
The chunky veggies in the sauce should thicken it naturally. But if you want to thicken the minestrone soup more, you can add more tomato sauce.
Minestrone soup can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. Leftover soup can be stored in the freezer for 3 months. But it’s best to finish the soup in 2 to 3 days, and not to store it in the freezer as the macaroni or other pasta will become mushy once thawed.
On the other hand, if you know in advance that you want to store the minestrone soup, it’s best not to add the pasta/macaroni to it while cooking. You can freeze this soup for up to 3 months. Just add in the pasta/macaroni while reheating.
- 1-tbsp. olive oil
- 1-lb. ground beef
- 1-yellow onion, chopped
- 2-cloves garlic, minced
- 1-stalk celery, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1-8 oz. can red kidney beans
- 1-8 oz can corn
- 1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
- 2 -14.5 oz can stewed can tomatoes, with juices
- 1-cup elbow macaroni
- 3-cups water
- 4-beef bouillon cubes
- 1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large stockpot, add oil and brown ground beef and drain.
- Add olive oil, onions, and garlic to ground beef, and sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, cabbage, water, bouillon cubes, pasta, and tomato sauce.
- Once it starts boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 7 minutes, covered.
- Uncover and add beans and corn, and stir.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat but keep covered. Allow to sit for 20 minutes before serving.