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Summer Minestrone with Pesto

Summer Minestrone with Pesto


  • 6 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 zucchini, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), drained
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, crushed
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons Classic Pesto (see recipe)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add broth and next 7 ingredients. Increase heat to high and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover pot, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in spinach; simmer 3 minutes longer. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into 6 bowls; garnish each with 1 tablespoon pesto. Serve, passing cheese separately.

Reviews Section

Summer Minestrone Soup

Elise founded Simply Recipes in 2003 and led the site until 2019. She has an MA in Food Research from Stanford University.

When it's summer's high season, and the garden is overflowing with more vegetables than one can reasonably consume, a great way to make use of the bounty is to make minestrone soup.

A few zucchini here, a couple chopped tomatoes there, some beans, grab the lonely leek that's sitting in the fridge, add some chicken stock, a handful of pasta, and in a few minutes you have summer in a soup.

Minestrone is, by its very nature, a throw-together event. An improvisation. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.

You can use vegetable or chicken stock. The soup can be thin and focused on the broth, or it can be thick and stew-like.

On a recent trip to Italy, visiting my sweetheart's Italian relatives, we were served minestrone twice, both times with apologies ("I'm sorry we don't have anything special for you, only minestrone"), and both times the broth was exquisite, the vegetables perfectly fresh and tender.

To our hosts, the minestrone was everyday home cooking. To us, it was revelatory.

This summer minestrone recipe captures the freshness of the soups we had in Italy. It's probably a bit thicker, we are serving up more veggies for the broth, but the taste is spot on.

Consider the recipe a guideline, and feel free to play with the amounts or types of vegetables. Make it your improvisation! (And let us know how it goes in the comments.)


Pomì chopped tomatoes have a single ingredient: fresh tomatoes ripened under the sun, cut in delicious chunks and packaged on location to bring to the table an inimitable taste. An excellent ingredient to exalt the taste of Pasta Sauces and many simply recipes. Chopped tomatoes are perfect for recipes that call for diced tomatos! Store up to 5days in the fridge after opening​. How is it made? The tomatoes are washed, peeled, chopped and mixed with a lightly concentrated tomato juice. The product is then thermally pasteurized and aseptically filled in our signature carton boxes. The product is exclusively made of Italian tomatoes from our farmers. Chopped tomatoes contain visible seeds and peels.

Ingredients for 6 to 8 people
Chopped Tomatoes 26.6oz 1 Box
Basil pestoTo taste
Carrots2 cups (about 2 large), cut into 1-inch pieces
Celery1 cup (about 2 stalks including leaves)
Chopped fresh basil1/3 cup
Chopped fresh parsley leaves1/3 Cup
Cooked or canned Borlotti beans2 cups
Dried oregano1 teaspoon
Finely chopped Swiss chard4 cups
Garlic cloves3 large, minced
Grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheeseTo taste
Green beans cut into 1-inch pieces2 cups
Grilled slices of crusty Italian breadTo taste
Olive oil1/3 cup
Onions2 medium, finely chopped
Salt & pepperTo taste
Small zucchini5 to 6 (about 4 cups), cut into 1-inch pieces
Vegetable or chicken broth8 cups

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery, and cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two until fragrant. Next, add the green beans and zucchini to the pot and stir to mix.

Add the Pomi Chopped Tomatoes along with the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the oregano, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Add the Swiss chard and beans to the soup, and continue to cook for another 10 minutes or until the chard is wilted and soft. Add additional broth or water if the soup seems too thick. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.

Place slices of grilled Italian bread into individual bowls, and serve the soup just barely warm or at room temperature ladled over the bread. Top with a spoonful of pesto and some freshly grated cheese.

Minestrone with Pesto

The best versions of this soup are made with fresh seasonal vegetables. Don’t hesitate to add or substitute cabbage, green beans, eggplant, cauliflower, peas, zucchini, leeks or whatever else looks good at the market. A dollop of pesto on top adds a great aroma and fresh flavor to this hearty soup. Simmering the rind from a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano in the soup imparts a rich, deep flavor.

Minestrone with Pesto

For the pesto:

1 1/2 cups (1 1/2 oz./45 g) lightly packed fresh basil leaves

1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 lb. (125 g) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

For the minestrone:

1 oz. (30 g) dried porcini mushrooms

2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) warm water

1/4 (2 fl. oz./60 ml) cup olive oil

1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stems removed and leaves chopped

3 Yukon Gold or other boiling potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 1/2 (8 oz./250 g) cups peeled, seeded and diced butternut squash

4 fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 2 cups seeded and chopped canned plum tomatoes with juices

2 cups (12 oz./375 g) fresh borlotti or other shelling beans

1 small piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (optional)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup macaroni or other small pasta shape

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

To make the pesto, in a large mortar, combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic and 1/2 tsp. salt. Using a pestle, and working in a circular motion, grind the ingredients together until a dense, thick green paste forms. This can take several minutes. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while stirring continuously with the pestle until a thick, flowing sauce forms. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese. Adjust the seasoning with salt.

Alternatively, in a food processor or blender, combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic and 1/2 tsp. salt and process until finely chopped. Then, with the motor running, pour in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and process until a smooth, flowing sauce forms. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese. Adjust the
seasoning with salt.

Use immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Makes about 1 cup (8 oz./250 ml). You will need 1/4 (2 oz./60 g) cup for this recipe reserve the rest for
another use.

To make the minestrone, in a bowl, combine the mushrooms and warm water and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Strain the liquid through a paper coffee filter or a fine-mesh sieve lined with dampened cheesecloth and set aside. Rinse the mushrooms well under cold running water. Drain well, chop and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, chard, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, beans and cheese rind. Add the mushroom liquid and enough water to cover the
vegetables by about 1/2 inch (12 mm), bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Season with salt and pepper and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened and the vegetables are
tender, about 1 hour, adding water as needed if the soup becomes too thick.

Add the pasta and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente, about 15 minutes. If a cheese rind has been used, you can remove it from the pot, cut it into small pieces and return it to the soup or discard it.

Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls and top each serving with a dollop of the pesto. Serve
immediately, passing the grated Parmesan at the table. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian, by Michele Scicolone

Summer Minestrone Soup

Posted By Savita

Summer Minestrone Soup is a one pot dinner soup which has everything I ask from a quick summer dinner. With just 10 minutes prep, a good serving of summer veggies - yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, kale. with cannellini beans, pasta and parmesan. this vegetarian minestrone is a sure Home Run!

Just like you, I'm very busy on weekdays. and often keep exploring options to serve homemade dinner which is fast to put together, need less dishes, brings seasonal healthy flavors to dinner, and is delicious. (that's a must have!)

I love a bowl of hearty, veggie-full soup for weekday dinner, no matter if it is winter or summer. Specially, vegetarian minestrone soup or a vegetarian cabbage soup, are perfect vehicle to use all those extra veggies from refrigerator. So, this is one of my go-to recipe towards end of our groceries or when I don't want to be in kitchen more than 15 minutes! )

Oh, also sharing few tips to make ultimate restaurant-style minestrone soup broth! Try this recipe, and then take bows for every batch of soup you make in year 2017!

Read on to learn more.. This recipe comes with video. Learn to make Minestrone Soup in just 1 minute.

Often when we visit these Italian restaurants, seasonal minestrone is always on soup specials. Well, I think they know I will need a soup even in California's Sunny Summers. :)

Oh, do you know actually eating hot in hot weather makes you feel cooler. No kidding! It's true.

I don't think, I have ever missed chance to order a soup. After, of course, first Vishal's judge-y questions Just soup for dinner?! You came this far just for just for soup??

And then waitress will get all judge-y..

Waitress: So, your order?
Me: A bowl of Minestrone Soup with side of House Salad.
Waitress: And for main course?

Trust me, Vishal giggles in whole such conversation because he told me to order from Mains.

Me: Can't I have a main-size portion soup?
Waitress: Oh, of course. I will add a special request for you.
Me: Yes, please. Thank you.

On a serious note, a loaded hearty soup is a complete meal! Isn't it? Veggies, delicious broth, pasta, beans, basil, parmesan. Who needs anything else!?

Minestrone Soup is all about it's Broth (use any veggies you like)

When trying soup in an Italian eatery, do you ever feel, "ah, what a refreshing bowl of soup? What do they add in the broth?"

If so, I'm with you. To me, the best thing about a well prepared Soup is it's *broth. That is why I tell you, add any veggies you like.. once you get the broth right. vegetables, chicken, turkey, anything added to it will be delicious. Banana, orange, mango. anything will do! (it's not me, it is foodie love for minestrone soup writing. ) Please don't add Banana, orange, mango for sure :)

There are few things which will add ton of flavor to soup broth which will make Minestrone Soup, The Italian Soup that you always wanted to make at home! After few trail and error rounds.. I found that "ah-ha" moment with following finds:

1) Tomatoes: For minestrone broth, San Marzano tomatoes packed in tomato juice make all the difference. It seasons the broth, and brings out flavor of veggies.

NOTE: Fresh diced tomatoes will not give this color to the soup. However, it is season of fresh tomatoes. So, feel free to use fresh. I would blanch those before adding to the soup. Here is a recipe to learn: Homemade Canned Tomatoes.

2) Stock: Such as chicken or vegetable stock. I wanted to keep soup vegetarian, so I have used homemade vegetable stock. You can also use store-bought low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth per preference.

3) Soup Base: Soup base of garlic, seasonings, carrots, celery, and onion adds unbeatable depth of flavor. My other flavor weapon, the unsung hero, is finishing the soup with 1-2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. It rounds up the taste of minestrone, enhance the flavor of veggies and tomato broth even more. It taste so refreshing.. just like traditional minestrone soup served in Italian restaurants.

Last but not the least. I cooked a piece of parmesan rind in the broth. OMG! My kitchen was like standing in Open Italian Kitchen! (this has been, by-far, my favorite find so far)

yumm! Oh Minestrone, I love you!

Guys, this week, I'm dedicating to cooking for my mother. Since my parents live in India and I have not visited them from past 4+ years. Every year, this time makes me more-than-ever home sick. I so wish, I can cook everything that I'm sharing here, for her. Zucchini and mango are favorite of my mom. When zucchini is in season, she often make stew with lots of veggies and fresh tomato broth. This summer minestrone captures the freshness of that tomato zucchini stew in form of a soup.

Let's see, when do I get chance to prepare this for her.. If you live close to your mother? I highly recommend surprising her with a dinner or breakfast of her choice. She cooks all of her life for us.. she deserves the best this Mother's day and always!

That reminds me, remember, I shared Zucchini and Eggplant Ratatouille few weeks ago? If I had not shared that.. I would have shared it today. With layers of tomato garlic sauce and squash. Ratatouille also carries same hearty Zucchini stew like flavors.

Treat this minestrone recipe as base and build soup the way you like. Play with veggies, add chicken or turkey.. make it your own. I'll look forward to hear your unique take on minestrone.

Summer Minestrone

This veggie-packed soup is low in calories but high in flavor.

large onion, finely chopped

cloves garlic, finely chopped

red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

low-sodium vegetable broth

small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

small carrot, thinly sliced

fresh basil, roughly chopped

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan on medium. Add onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes.
  2. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute. Add red potatoes and low-sodium vegetable broth and simmer 5 minutes. Add zucchini, yellow squash, and carrot simmer 3 minutes.
  3. Add frozen peas and simmer until vegetables are just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and fresh basil. Serve with crusty bread if desired.

Nutritional information (per serving): About 185 calories, 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 7 g protein, 490 mg sodium, 29 g carb, 5 g fiber

Summer Minestrone with Pesto

This super satisfying minestrone is perfect if you’re like me and don’t want to let summer get in the way of your love for soup.
I make it with homemade pesto, but it’s equally good with shop-bought pesto. If you want it vegan, just use vegan pesto as the rest is already naturally vegan.

For the pesto
1/2 bunch fresh basil
2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
50 g (1.8 oz) pine nuts
30 g (1 ounce) grated parmesan
50 ml (1.7 fl oz) olive oil
For the minestrone
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large courgette, diced
1 large potato, diced
1 x 400 g (14 oz) can borlotti beans
1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock
100 g (3.5 oz) ditalini pasta
Make the pesto
Add the basil, garlic, pine nuts, grated parmesan and olive oil into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make the minestrone

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven and fry the onion and garlic over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until translucent.

Add the carrot, celery and courgette and cook for 8-10 minutes until they soften. Next, add the potato and borlotti beans and cover everything with the stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the pasta and continue to cook for another 10-12 minutes until the pasta is al dente. You may need to add a bit more stock or water if the soup becomes too thick.

Once the pasta is cooked, turn off the heat and stir in the pesto. Season to taste and serve with some crusty bread and extra pesto on top if you like.


When the weather starts to turn from summer to fall and thoughts turn to soup, Marcella's Minestrone alla Romagnola is at the top of my list. It's delicious, and since it improves with reheating, it's good for at least a couple of meals. But more than that, it's great to have everyone over for the first fall meal of the season - to watch football, or take a walk in the woods, or whatever is appropriate for where you are when summer ends and the next season is ushering itself in, sometimes not too auspiciously.

THIS is Marcella's Minestrone alla Romagnola cooked with rice and served at room temperature.

It's delicious when the temperature is too warm to consider eating a bowl of hot soup and the garden is replete with vegetables and herbs you are aching to cook - green beans, zucchini, basil, etc.

I think this is a good one to have up your sleeve - oh, sorry, you're sleeveless still, aren't you?

2 cups Minestrone alla Romagnola
1/2 cup rice - arborio is Marcella's choice, but converted rice works well too
1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces or 2 tablespoons of pesto
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Put the minestrone in a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and add rice, stirring well.

When the soup returns to a boil, taste and stir in a little salt and pepper, if needed. Cover the pot, and turn the heat down. Stir occasionally. Start to taste the rice to see if it's done after 12 minutes. (Be careful not to overcook it because the rice will continue to cook as the soup is cooling down to room temperature.)

As soon as the rice is done, stir in the grated cheese, and turn the heat off. Taste, and add salt if necessary. Mix in the pieces of basil or the 2 tablespoons of pesto.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Serve at room temperature, drizzling a little extra virgin oil over each plate right before serving.

Lidia’s Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the leeks and onion. Season with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until leeks and onion have wilted but not colored, about 6 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium high and add the carrots, celery, and potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes begin to stick to the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes. Make a space in the pan and add the tomato paste. Cook and stir in that spot until the tomato paste is toasted and darkens a shade or two. Increase heat to high. Add 5 quarts cold water and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Let it cook vigorously to reduce and homogenize the flavors of the soup base, about 30 minutes.

Add the beans and zucchini and cook until beans are almost tender, about 30 minutes more.

Add the escarole, and cook until it is tender and the soup is thick and flavorful, about 30 minutes more. Season with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt once the beans are cooked through. Remove bay leaves.

When ready to serve the soup, combine the basil and pine nuts with a pinch of salt in a food processor. With the processor running, add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a slow, steady stream to make a smooth pesto. Just before serving, swirl the pesto into the soup, and serve with a sprinkling of grated cheese.

Summer Minestrone with Walnut Pesto

With an array of vegetables in this recipe, the options are endless. And with the produce ever-changing at the farmer’s market, the types of vegetables available won’t always be the same.

Leeks can easily be swapped for white, yellow, or green onions, just use about 1 ½ cups of whichever you choose. If you can find fava beans, they are a great addition or they can swap out the green peas. Whatever squash you find at the market can easily replace the zucchini and fresh tomatoes can replace canned for even more summer flare.

This light, refreshing, and vegetable-focused soup gets a boost of flavor at the end from a homemade pesto. Made with toasted walnuts instead of pine nuts, this pesto offers a deeper, more complex flavor.

Lastly, you’ll notice this recipe lists an option between extra-virgin olive oil and avocado oil, this is simply a flavor preference. Olive oil has a fruitier flavor while avocado has slight grassy flavor and tends to be a bit more mild, but either works great in this recipe!