Vegetarian Minestrone


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Vegetarian Minestrone

© Paden Reich

One afternoon, while enjoying some reheated minestrone I’d made a couple days earlier, I grew curious about this soup’s origins and learned it can be traced back to the Latins, the earliest inhabitants of Rome, when vegetables were the staples of the daily diet. I also pictured my great-grandmother, and her mother before her, making their own versions of minestrone with vegetables they either grew or got from their village markets. This soup has me continuing that tradition. It’s simple, basic, and good, and watching—or rather smelling—it come together is nearly as good as the finished product. With carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, and beans simmering amid garlic cloves, crushed red pepper, onion, salt, pepper, and red wine vinegar, the more that’s added, in fact, the better this gets. Thick and fortifying, this soup can be dinner on a blustery fall night. I like a dash of Sriracha for an extra kick, but I also suggest bringing this ancient victual into the 21st century with a thick grilled cheese sandwich on the side. Then, as I did, reheat the leftovers for lunch.


1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high.

2. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, salt, rosemary, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender, about 8 minutes.

3. Stir in the broth, water, cannellini beans, tomatoes, zucchini, and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium-high; reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the zucchini is just tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the collard greens, and simmer until the greens are tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the orzo.

5. Top with the shredded Parmesan.

Cooking Tip

This freezes well, although I’d perhaps add the collard greens during reheating.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 cups chopped collard greens (stems removed)
2 cups cooked orzo
1/2 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

serving size

4 People as a Main Dish, 10 as an Appetizer

Hands on time

25 Minutes

Total time

45 Minutes


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