You can substitute any vegetables you like in this recipe.  Fresh green beans, zucchini, sweet potatoes, or squash would be great!


Minestrone Soup (adapted from Ina Garten)

serves 6-8


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 carrots, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 cups butternut squash, diced (I find this pre-diced in the grocery store)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1  15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

6-8 cups chicken stock

salt and pepper

1 cup dry small pasta 

8 ounces fresh baby spinach

2 tablespoons store-bought pesto

Parmesan cheese, for serving


Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic and Italian seasoning and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. 


Add the tomatoes, beans, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.


Add the uncooked pasta, bring the soup to a boil and cook until pasta is done (about 10 minutes).  Add additional chicken stock as the soup thickens. Just before serving, add the pesto and the spinach, and cook just until the spinach is just wilted.  


To serve, top with Parmesan cheese.