A cold weather soup should be filling and hearty, and this winter minestrone definitely fits the bill. Packed with chunky carrots and rutabaga (or other root veg – see substitutions), it’s exactly right for colder weather, and very warming.
This soup features plenty of texture and a deep, rich flavour from wine, herbs, and a longer cooking time. It’s a real meal in a bowl, with beans, plenty of winter vegetables, and whole wheat pasta, making for a substantial dinner.
There’s not a lot of broth here, and it is almost a stew. This will reduce even further with leftovers, but see the notes below for some notes on how to mitigate that. For some more excellent cold-weather soups, try easy chickpea noodle soup with parsley and lemon, cabbage lentil soup, or a Moroccan chickpea, sweet Potato, and kale soup.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Onion: red, white, or yellow, it doesn’t matter. A medium onion is about the size of a tennis ball and around 120 grams.
- Rutabaga: this is a slightly bitter vegetable and adds a nice note to the soup. You might not be able to find them so easily, and if not, use any number of root vegetables in its place. Celeriac, parsnips, turnips, whatever you have on hand that’s relatively light in colour (not beets). Even potatoes can be used in a pinch.
- Herbs: the recipe calls for Herbes de Provence, a mix that usually includes thyme, rosemary, oregano, and savoury, among other herbs. Thyme or another herb mix – one for pizza, for example – are good substitutes.
- Red wine: if you don’t have red wine, or prefer not to use it, sub two teaspoons of balsamic vinegar in its place.
- Vegetable broth: use broth or water. For this recipe, feel free to use water, and just be sure to season properly.
- Kidney beans: cooked or canned, it doesn’t matter. Borlotti or pinto beans are good in place of kidney beans if you prefer.
- Pasta: I use spelt pasta. Try to find a type that’s about the same size as the beans, but it doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s not spaghetti. Use a good gluten-free pasta for a GF option. I recommend chickpea pasta.
Step by Step
In these process pictures, I used kohlrabi in place of rutabaga and it was very nice. This is such a good use what you’ve got kind of meal.
Step 1: cook the onions, then add the vegetables and cook for a few more minutes.
Step 2: stir in the garlic and herbs, then deglaze with the wine.
Step 3: add the broth and beans, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for half an hour.
Step 4: add the pasta and cook until it’s ready, 6-7 minutes. Serve hot.
To avoid soggy pasta in leftovers, you can cook it separately from the soup. For this recipe I don’t really mind that the pasta soaks up the broth when it sits – just add a splash of water and more salt when reheating – but if you prefer, reduce the liquid by half and cook the pasta separately. Add before serving.
The same goes for if you want to refrigerate or freeze the pasta for longer storage. This is just personal preference, so go with whatever method you prefer.
Due to the tomatoes and wine, this has a slightly longer cooking time than many of my soups. Simmering for half an hour before adding the pasta makes for a richly flavoured soup.
If you eat cheese, parmesan is always a good addition to minestrone. When I made this as a kid I always added a parmesan rind for the simmering period. If you can get a good vegan parmesan-style cheese, that’s great too.
How to Store
Storage: keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days, keeping the pasta separate if desired.
Freezing: transfer cooled soup to airtight containers and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating as usual.
- Rinse the beans: if using canned, rinse, then soak for a few minutes in cool water, and rinse again. This helps to remove any thick liquid around the beans more effectively.
- Season to taste: you don’t need more garlic, you need more salt. Every soup should be tasted before serving and salt added if needed.
- Choose a dry wine: a dry cooking wine, not expensive, is best for this recipe. Something sweet or very fruity will add strange flavour notes.
More Warming Soups and Stews
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Winter Vegetable Minestrone
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 medium carrots sliced (~300 grams)
- ½ rutabaga peeled and sliced (~200 grams)
- 50 ml red wine
- 400 grams canned diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoons Herbes de Provence
- ½ teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper to taste
- 1 litre vegetable broth or water
- 250 grams kidney beans cooked or canned, rinsed
- 150 grams short pasta
- Add the oil to a large pot and heat over medium.1 tablespoon olive oil
- Once the pot is heated, add the onion. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened and fragrant, stirring occasionally.1 medium onion
- Add the carrots and rutabaga, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.2 medium carrots, 1/2 rutabaga
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the wine, canned tomatoes, herbs, salt, and pepper. Stir to mix.50 ml red wine, 400 grams canned diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoons Herbes de Provence, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Add the broth and beans. Cover and increase the heat to bring the soup to a rolling boil.1 litre vegetable broth, 250 grams kidney beans
- Once the soup reaches a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.
- After half an hour, increase the heat to bring the soup back to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook for 6-7 minutes, covered, or the time needed for the pasta type you’re using.150 grams short pasta
- Once the pasta is cooked, remove the soup from the heat. Taste and season as needed.
- Leftovers will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator but the pasta will soak up the broth – thin it out with a splash of water when reheating.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
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