Garden Vegetable Minestrone Soup
If you are lucky enough to have a garden of your own or live near a Farmer’s Market, then you know that August is a great month for fresh vegetables!
If you love vegetables like we do, then you’ll love this garden fresh vegetable minestrone soup. Grab yourself a big bunch of Swiss Chard from your garden and read on!
Start by cooking or “sweating” your vegetables in olive oil until they are tender and the flavors have merged. Don’t overcook or char the vegetables and they will make a delicious base for your soup.
This is also called a Mirepoix, which is a French term for gently cooking the vegetables to release their flavors.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 3-6 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 1 (8 oz.) package sliced mushrooms, chopped small
- 5 cups of fresh Swiss Chard, chopped fine
- 3 cups diced zucchini
- 8 cups of chicken broth (plus a little extra)
- 2-3 teaspoons chicken base
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 (26 oz.) box of Pomi chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
- 2 cups beans (we used pinto and navy beans)
- about 3/4 cup pasta (break thin spaghetti into 3 pieces)
- Gently cook the onions, garlic and carrots in olive oil for about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and cook an additional 2 minutes.
- Add everything else except for the pasta; stir and bring to a light boil.
- Reduce heat and let simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Stir in the pasta about 10 minutes before it's finished cooking.
Use a big soup pot preferably one made from stainless steel. We like this stainless steel pot!
The reason we like a nice stainless steel soup pot is because ours is used so often and soups are left to gently simmer for hours. We never worry that parts of an enamel pan will break off and end up in the soup!
Vegetable Minestrone Soup Hints –
- Chop all of your vegetables small.
- Lightly salt your vegetables while they are cooking. Then lightly salt the mushrooms when they are added to the pan. By gently salting in “layers” you add salt where it is needed to enhance the vegetables.
- Have some left over corn? Toss it in!
- You do not have to add any pasta to this soup and it’s still delicious. If you do add the pasta, add small amounts. Break thin pasta into 3 pieces.
- It does take a little time to chop the vegetables but this vegetable soup is so nutritious and worth the effort.
- Use a little garlic or a whole lot of garlic. Garlic is very healthy so never be afraid to add more.
- Carefully wash your Swiss chard and cut out the thick center rib. Chop the leaves into small pieces for the soup. Never be afraid to use a lot of Swiss chard, or even use Swiss chard for that matter, because it cooks down as it simmers. Swiss chard can be a bit intimidating to buy but it’s a lovely little gentle vegetable with a powerhouse of nutrients
- Always have a jar of soup base in your kitchen. You can read more about that here –> Soup Base.
- Don’t forget to grab some fresh garlic if you visit the Farmer’s Market.