Soups, Vegetarian

Mom’s Minestrone Soup

minestrone soup with beans, pasta and vegetables
Minestrone soup is great way to use up extra vegetables.

My mom has a way with soup. She finds the greatest recipes and throughout the fall and winter she usually has a pot simmering on the stove. Delicious and hearty, it always hits the spot. She still cooks for a crowd (after raising seven children it’s hard to break the habit) so it isn’t uncommon to be handed a tub of soup before leaving mom’s house. 

Some of mom’s best soup recipes are out of the Moosewood Cookbook, a book published in the late 1970’s by the chef at a vegetarian restaurant in New York State. Mom discovered the book at my brother’s one summer weekend when we were visiting him in Montreal. As she flipped through it this recipe for minestrone caught her eye. She copied it down along with some others and then promptly ordered the book when she arrived home. That was in the early 1980’s. 

Mom’s minestrone is my children’s favourite soup. They’ll clean their bowls no questions asked and prefer mom’s to mine, even though we use the same recipe. Even my dad, the reluctant vegetarian, loved it.

Minestrone is a great leftovers soup. You can toss in all sorts of vegetables and chopped greens. Mom usually adds more vegetables than called for so it becomes a lovely thick stew.  It’s a great lunch soup but with the beans and pasta it is substantial enough for supper too.

Mom’s Minestrone

From Moosewood cookbook

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup diced eggplant (optional)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • Fresh black pepper, to taste
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3-4 cups water (or more, if you prefer a thinner soup)
  • 1 28 oz can of tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups cooked beans (chick peas, navy or kidney beans)
  • ½ -1 cup dried pasta
  • ½ cup fresh minced parsley or other fresh herb


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot.
  2. Add onion, garlic and salt.
  3. Sauté over medium heat for five minutes, then add the celery, carrot, eggplant (if using), oregano, pepper and basil.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add bell pepper, zucchini, water and canned tomatoes.
  6. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Add the beans and simmer another five minutes.
  8. Bring soup to a gentle boil. Add pasta, stir and cook until the pasta is tender.
  9. Serve right away, topped with parsley and parmesan.

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