Hearty Minestrone Soup

This is a hearty, warming soup, perfect for a cool autumn evening.  You will not be able to stop at one bowl and that’s ok!  It is packed with nutritious beans, vegetables, and herbs that will give your immune system a boost AND it will nourish your body with new energy that was depleted during your busy day.

**Please see the canned/frozen item options to make this recipe when you are short on time. 

The dried herbs in this soup give it a real punch of flavor so don’t skimp on the herbs! They are worth the investment and it’s great to stock up on all these dried herbs as you can use many of them to add flavor to more healthy recipes you find here.

After a long day at work and school, just smelling this recipe makes everyone in our home feel better. We add Easy Spelt Bread (See Recipe Here) as a nutritious side dish. Yum!

 {This recipe was adapted from Lorna Sass’ Complete Vegetarian Kitchen.}


  • 1 C Beans (OPTION: Eden Organic Canned Beans) We use a mix of kidney and pinto beans. If you use dry beans, soak them for at least 4-8 hours.
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 C Chopped onions
  • 2-4 Cloves garlic
  • 6 C water
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 2 large celery ribs, cut into ½-inch slices
  • ½ lb. butternut squash, cut into 1-inch pieces (you can locate frozen squash in the freezer at your local health food store)
  • ½ lb. zucchini, diced
  • ½ lb. chopped spinach, chopped (you can locate frozen spinach in the freezer at your local health food store)
  • 1 28 oz. can organic whole tomatoes (We use Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¾ tsp. fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp. sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Option 1 with Canned Beans/Frozen Vegetables

*Less than 30 minutes prep time.

Step 1:
Drain and rinse the beans and set aside.

Step 2:
Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic for 1 minute and then add all the herbs, except for the bay leaves.  Sauté for another 2-3 minutes.

Step 3:
Add the canned tomatoes and gently break apart. Add the water, beans, carrots, celery, squash, zucchini and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cook for approximately 20 minutes, until squash and zucchini are softened. Stir periodically.  You can place the top on the pan to cook the vegetables faster, but continue to remove lid, check, and stir periodically.

Step 4:
Add the spinach and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and place the top on pan.  Cook approximately 1-2 minutes (longer, if using frozen), just until spinach is incorporated into the soup (or unfrozen and incorporated).

Option 2 with Dry Beans and Fresh Vegetables

Rinse and soak beans at least 4-8 hours. Drain beans before using in recipe. (TIP: water your house plants with the bean water.  Your plants will love it!)

Follow the recipe above, until Step 3.

Step 3:
Add the canned tomatoes and then add the water, beans, carrots, celery  and bay leaves to the onion/garlic/herbs and bring to boil.  Reduce heat, simmer, covered, until beans are tender, about 60-90 minutes.

Step 4:
Add the squash and zucchini and cook just until they are softened (approx. 20 min.)

Step 5:
Add the spinach, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper,and place top back on pan. Cook approximately 1-2 minutes, just until spinach is incorporated into the soup.

(NOTE: We always make a double/triple batch so we have leftovers for school lunches, etc. This soup is even more delicious the next day as the flavors have had time to mix while sitting overnight in the fridge.)