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Garden Minestrone

Total Time

Prep: 20 min. Cook: 30 min.

Makes

10 servings (about 4 quarts)

At Italian restaurants, I always order minestrone. After doing many trial-and-error batches, I developed a hearty veggie soup my whole family craves—kids and all. —Hillery Martin, Junction City, Kansas
Garden Minestrone Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 medium carrots, chopped
  • 7 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 yellow summer squash (about 3 cups), chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cans (15-1/2 ounces each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cartons (32 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini or other small pasta
  • 12 cups chopped fresh spinach (12 ounces)

Directions

  1. In a 6-quart stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery and onion; cook until tender, 6-8 minutes. Add zucchini, yellow squash and seasonings; cook and stir until squash is crisp-tender, 4-6 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  2. Mash 1/2 cup beans with a fork. Stir mashed beans and tomatoes into vegetables. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10-12 minutes.
  3. Stir in pasta and remaining beans; return to a boil. Cook, uncovered, 7-9 minutes or just until pasta is tender. Discard bay leaves. Stir in spinach; cook until spinach is wilted.

  4. Freeze option: Add remaining beans but not pasta and spinach. Cool soup; freeze in freezer containers for up to 3 months. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Place in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Stir in pasta; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, for 7-9 minutes or until pasta is tender. Discard bay leaves. Add spinach and cook until wilted.

Nutrition Facts

1-1/2 cups: 209 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 929mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 9g fiber), 12g protein.

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