A hearty soup for a cold day, Bean and Vegetable Minestrone is prepared with Swiss chard, tomatoes, white beans, and more. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan and some grilled bread for a complete meal!
Soup season is back and I couldn’t be happier! We love soups and stews. In fact, I think it’s the only meal that we all agree on every single time. No matter what type of soup I prepare, everyone loves it. And, most of the time, my soup recipes are vegetarian.
I’m a firm believer that a hearty soup doesn’t need meat of any kind. Sure, I love a good Leftover Turkey Soup as much as the next guy, but I very rarely set out to make soup that has meat. That’s why I like to serve soup with bread. In this case, I’ve used grilled baguette, but my No Knead Dinner Rolls would be great too!
DOESN’T MINESTRONE HAVE PASTA?
Most commonly, yes. But, I have opted to not add pasta to my Bean and Vegetable Minestrone. I did this for two reasons. First, pasta tends to make the soup more filling and I didn’t want that. I wanted to highlight the Swiss chard and the beans rather than the pasta.
Secondly, when you add pasta to a soup recipe, it tends to make the broth thicker. This is because of the starch in the pasta. Even though I love thick soups, I like the broth to be thin. Thin broth works so much better for dipping bread into!
If you want to add pasta to your minestrone, you can certainly do that! Since there’s nothing worse than overcooked pasta, here’s what I recommend. Cook your pasta in salted water separately. Be sure to undercook the pasta slightly. Drain and add to the soup with the Swiss chard.
WHITE BEAN OPTIONS
You can certainly use whatever white bean you have on hand for this soup. I used white kidney beans, because I like to plumpness and meatiness of kidney beans. Other beans that would work well are of course navy beans. They are probably the most common canned white bean.
Most minestrone recipes use cannellini beans, which is just another name for kidney beans. You can also try great northern beans or even lima beans.
For the purpose of keeping things fast and easy, I opted to use canned beans. If you’re a purist, you can certainly soak and boil dry beans for your recipe. Otherwise, open a couple of cans and call it a day!
SWISS CHARD SUBSTITUTES
Let me just start by saying that the only reason you should ever want to substitute Swiss chard for anything else is because your local grocery store doesn’t stock it. It is certainly a vegetable that we can all benefit from eating more of!
If you cannot find Swiss chard, you can use spinach leaves instead. Don’t use baby spinach – they’re too delicate and will basically wilt down too much in the soup. Use large spinach leaves; they’re heartier.
You can also use collard greens. Collard greens can be eaten raw like chard and the taste is pretty similar. Mustard greens would work very well too. Mustard greens are known because of their strong peppery taste. They come to different colors just like Swiss chard.
Keep in mind that if you use spinach leaves, you will not need to cook them first like you will do with the chard.
FREEZING AND RE-HEATING
When freezing Bean and Vegetable Minestrone, I like to make sure it’s completely cooled. The best way to do this is to just turn off the heat, remove the lid, and let the pot of soup just sit at room temperature for at least ninety minutes. Then, stir well to ensure the veggies have not settled at the bottom.
Portion as you wish. I like to portion two cups per person. Use a freezer-friendly container with a very tight fitting lid. Also, be sure to label the soup so you know what it is!
To reheat, allow the frozen soup to sit at room temperature for at least two hours. Then, slowly simmer in a covered sauce pan with two or three tablespoons of water. This will create some steam and get the soup back to where it should be – hot, hearty, and delicious!!
Bean and Vegetable Minestrone
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large celery stalks, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 3 large carrots, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups diced canned tomatoes, with juice
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 3 cups white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- parmesan cheese, optional
- In a large soup pot, over medium heat, add the olive oil, celery, onion, carrots, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Saute, stirring often, for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and saute for another 5 minutes.
- Add the water. Stir and place a tight fitting lid on the pot. Cook for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, wash the Swiss chard leaves and remove the stem and core. Chop the green leafy parts into 2-3 inch pieces. Add to a sauce pan and top with cold water. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Add the canned tomatoes, along with the juice, to the vegetables. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
- Next, add the Swiss chard, canned beans, fresh thyme and rosemary. Stir and cook for 10 minutes.
- Lastly, add the parsley and stir into the soup. Turn off the heat and serve hot. Top with parmesan cheese if desired.