Winter Vegetable Minestrone

Minestrone is a classic Italian hearty vegetable soup, and this version showcases a variety of seasonal winter vegetables along with one of the best little pasta shapes—ditalini. When topped with freshly grated Parmigiano and served with crusty bread, it transforms into a delicious, warm, cozy, hearty yet light vegetarian meal!

My nonna’s absolute favorite in the world is minestrone, and she enjoys it at least three times a week, if not more. I’ve watched her make minestrone countless times, and it varies every time, depending on the vegetables she has on hand. Sometimes she includes potatoes, while other times she adds white beans— the possibilities are endless.

This version highlights many amazing winter vegetables because it’s crucial to the Mediterranean diet to always incorporate a variety of produce. While this simple soup does take some time for chopping and simmering over low heat, it’s still incredibly easy to make and is perfect for meal prep. It can be stored in the fridge for about four days or in small containers in the freezer for up to two months. So, on chilly days when you’re craving something cozy, hearty, and packed with veggies, it’s ready to go.

Winter Minestrone Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil – My favorite fat for cooking. Make sure it’s of high quality; you don’t want to use any of the fake kinds.
  • Thick-cut smoked ham (optional) – Adds smoky flavor and a meaty texture to the soup.
  • Onion, carrot, and fennel or celery – Traditionally, celery is used in this trio, but I thought it would be fun to mix it up with fennel instead, as they have a similar texture. This trio of vegetables is called a “soffritto” and provides the soup with a delicious aromatic base.
  • Bouillon– Whether it’s the paste found in a jar or the powdered form sometimes seen in cubes, this is a delicious secret ingredient that my Nonna always includes.
  • Sweet potato – You could use regular potatoes if you’re not a fan of sweet potatoes.
  • Turnip – Mildly spicy when raw, turnips turn sweet, nutty, and earthy when cooked. This goes for texture too—raw turnips have a crisp, starchy flesh, while cooked turnips become soft and velvety.
  • Brussels sprouts – These tiny cabbages are perfect for adding volume and more nutrients to this packed minestrone.
  • Crushed tomatoes – Thickens the soup and adds bulk to the dish.
  • White wine (optional) – It helps deglaze all the delicious flavors stuck on the bottom of the pan and gives the soup more depth of flavor.
  • Vegetable broth – is important for adding depth of flavor, but if you don’t have any, water works just as well.
  • Thyme – I like to tie my thyme in a big bundle so it’s easy to fetch and throw out after cooking.
  • Small pasta – Ditalini is the most traditional, but any tiny pasta shape will work. Just make sure not to overcook the pasta because the best part is that al dente bite.
  • Kale (optional) – It wilts perfectly yet remains quite sturdy, making it a great additional vegetable to add to the mix.
  • Parmigiano Reggiano – The perfect finishing touch when freshly grated on top of a steaming bowl of winter minestrone.
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Winter Vegetable Minestrone


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 medium parsnip, diced
  • 1 medium turnip, diced
  • 1/3 cup Brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons bouillon
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

Instructions

  1. Heat half the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the thick ham and cook over medium-low heat for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly crisped.
  2. Next add the onions, carrots, fennel, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips, thyme sprigs, 1 tablespoon salt, 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper, and the rest of the olive oil to the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  3. Remove the thyme sprigs and add the white wine allowing it to cook 2-3 more minutes before adding the tomatoes, shaved brussels sprouts, and broth. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are almost tender.
  4. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, add more chicken stock if needed and the kale.  Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan

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