Imagine a soup–chunky, full of flavor, loaded with vegetables, a dash of wine and spices and flavored with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. That precisely describes Minestrone Soup – Garden Fresh, & Gluten Free is all those things plus it’s perfect for a crowd and I’m pretty sure it will become a family favorite. My husband ate two GIANT bowls and told me it was his favorite soup EVER.
I typically use Italian sausage, half hot and half sweet but you can leave it out if you like or use pancetta instead. Or, keep it vegetarian and leave out the meat. Also, I make this with beef broth and a dash of red wine but there’s no reason you can’t use chicken or vegetable broth and a dash of white wine. No reason at all 🙂
If you’re like me, you like to use freshly grated parmesan cheese. In fact, when I go to Costco, I buy the big wedges of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. This is the most delicious parmesan ever and because it’s aged more than 2 years, it’s more expensive than regular parmesan. But, it’s cheapest at Costco and one wedge will last me a couple months. The best part is the rind. Lots of Italian cooks will toss a hunk of rind into their marinara sauce as it cooks to add lovely flavor. I do that and also add it to several of my soup recipes–Minestrone Soup Garden Fresh & Gluten Free in particular! It really kicks the flavor up!
- 1 pound Italian sausage, sweet or hot, or 2 cups chopped pancetta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, butter or ghee
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 chopped leek (see note in Kate's Tips below)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced
- 1 cup carrots, sliced
- 1 cup celery, sliced
- 1 large can whole Italian plum tomatoes, (see note in Kate's tips below) chopped
- 4 cups beef broth, chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
- 2 cups chopped kale or chard
- 2 cups cannelini beans or great northern beans (one can)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ cup dry red wine
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Rind of a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If using fresh pork sausage, remove casing then slice sausage into ½ inch slices. Brown sausage in hot oil, butter or ghee.
- Add onions, garlic, leeks, celery and carrots to sausage. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes.
- Add basil, oregano, bay leaves and crushed red pepper. Cook 1 minute.
- Add zucchini, cabbage and kale.
- Add broth, tomatoes, wine and cheese rind. Simmer 45 minutes.
- Add beans and cook an additional 15 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper.
- Serve with additional grated cheese and a little extra splash of red wine 🙂
- If you’re not gluten free, feel free to cook up some pasta, a small one like ditalini, and add to your soup.
- If you don’t want any heat, don’t use the crushed red pepper. If you like more heat, increase to a teaspoon.
- Feel free to use chicken sausage in place of Italian sausage.
- You could add a couple chopped potatoes to this soup to make it even chunkier.
- Substitute green beans for zucchini if you’d like.
- If you don’t have beef broth, use chicken broth or to keep this completely vegetarian and vegan, eliminate the meat and use vegetable broth.
- If you have pesto on hand, a swirl in each bowl of hot soup would be incredibly good!
- To clean a leek, cut off the root end and slice the leek lengthwise. Wash leek well, getting in between the layers to get out the dirt and sand. Then chop and use in your soup.
- I love Muir Glen Organic Peeled Whole Plum Tomatoes and I use them in this soup.
- Some of my other favorite soups:
I’d love to hear if you make this yummy soup!