Minestrone should be filling and hearty, and this winter vegetable version 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, veg, and grains 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 tips below for some notes on how to mitigate that.
Scroll to the bottom of the post or click “skip to recipe” above to see the recipe card with full ingredient measurements and instructions.
- Onion – red, white, or yellow, it doesn’t matter. A medium onion is about the size of a tennis ball and around 120 grams.
- Carrots – I used winter carrots, which is why they’re halved before slicing. Slices are about 1cm.
- 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 that’s fine, just use another vegetable (see substitutions).
- Garlic – three cloves adds flavour without overpowering the soup. I know there are a lot of jokes around about adding a dozen cloves when one is called for, but if you need that much garlic, you’re probably just not using enough salt!
- Herbs – the recipe calls for Herbes de Provence, a mix that usually includes thyme, rosemary, oregano, and savoury, among other herbs. If you’re using a store-bought blend, make sure lavender isn’t high on the ingredient list.
- Red Wine – wine adds a good layer of flavour. Building blocks, like in the chickpea noodle soup. The richness pairs well with tomatoes and root vegetables.
- Canned Tomatoes – whole tomatoes are often higher quality, but diced is easier for this recipe.
- Vegetable Broth – I use this broth or water. For this recipe, feel free to use water, and just be sure to season properly.
- Kidney Beans – these add a delicious creamy texture. Cooked or canned, it doesn’t matter. 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.
- 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.
Tips and Notes
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 noodles separately. Add them before serving.
The same goes for if you want to refrigerate or freeze the pasta. 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.
Use a good gluten-free pasta for a GF option. I like chickpea pasta.
Any number of root vegetables can take the place of rutabaga. Celeriac, parsnips, turnips, whatever you have on hand that’s relatively light in colour (not beets). Even potatoes can be used in a pinch.
If you don’t have red wine, or prefer not to use it, sub two teaspoons of balsamic vinegar in its place. The wine is cooked and shouldn’t include alcohol once the soup is finished.
Thyme or another herb mix – one for pizza, for example – are good substitutes for Herbes de Provence. Think thyme, rosemary, and oregano, if you want to use individual herbs.
Borlotti or pinto beans are good in place of kidney beans if you prefer.
More Warming Soups and Stews
Moroccan Spiced Carrot Chickpea Stew
Potato Leek Soup with Lemon
Lentil and Potato Stew
Winter Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas and Wild Rice
Winter Vegetable Minestrone
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 medium carrots sliced (~300 grams)
- ½ a rutabaga peeled and sliced (~200 grams)
- 60 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 4 cups, 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 a rutabaga
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the wine, canned tomatoes, herbs, salt, and pepper. Stir to mix.60 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, cooked or canned, rinsed
- 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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