Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

When I know I won’t be home until later in the day, and I can anticipate that making dinner will not be one of the things I am going to want to do when I get home, I try and meal plan something using my slow cooker or dutch oven. This way I can just get home and not worry too much that dinner is going to be pizza. And since my back is recuperating again, I’ve been trying some new fitness classes. Monday I tried a “Muscle” group class (at Mountainside Fitness) taught by Dana. It didn’t start until 6, which meant I wouldn’t be home until 7:30. For what  it’s worth, two days later and my calves are still mad at me! If you are reluctant to strength train on the weight floor like me, I really recommend group fitness classes like this. Dana was great, and offered several modifications.

Back to my meal plan: so I decided to start this soup midmorning, and added the spinach and orzo when I got home from the gym. By the time I got out of the shower, I just threw some garlic bread in the oven, and dinner was served. This recipe could easily be made in a slow cooker, on low for 6 to 8 hours, and I would consider adding a cup or 2 of extra broth. The leftover soup is great for next day lunch, I’d consider pairing it with a salad, but it’s definitely hearty enough to eat by itself.

Since technically, minestrone is defined as a vegetable based soup with pasta, several variations can exists: consider using whatever vegetables are currently in season and maybe instead of orzo, elbow macaroni would work just as well. Let me know what you added and how it worked for you!

Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

In a dutch oven, over medium high heat, saute onions, and garlic with olive oil, until onion is translucent.

Add carrot, celery, bell pepper, zucchini, summer squash, diced tomatoes, oregano, and thyme. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes.

Add beans and broth. reduce heat to low/simmer and cover.

About 15-30 minutes before serving, add spinach, basil and orzo. Replace cover.

Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese


Vegetarian Minestrone 


2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced

15 oz cannellini beans, drained

1 lbs ripe tomatoes, diced

1 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 summer squash, diced

1 Tablespoon dried thyme

1 quart vegetable broth

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

3-4 fresh basil leaves, julienned

1 – 2 cups fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped

1/3 cup orzo

grated parmesan cheese (optional)


In a dutch oven, using medium high heat, saute onion, garlic and thyme in olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes, until onion is just turning translucent. Add carrots, celery, bell pepper, zucchini, squash, oregano, beans and diced tomatoes to pot and allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Pour in broth, cover and reduce heat to low/simmer; cook for at least 10 – 15 minutes, but can be left for up to 4 hours on the lowest heat setting.

About 15 minutes before serving, add spinach, basil and orzo.

Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese


Serves 4

Cal 275 * Fat 8g * Carbs 37g (fiber 13g * sugar 8) * Pro 19g



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