Vegetarian Minestrone Soup Recipe for a Crowd

There may be nothing more comforting than a big pot of vegetarian minestrone soup. The cooking process itself is quite meditative, and it leaves you with a richly flavored and unimpeachably nutritious meal to share with friends or feed your family for a couple days running. Don't miss this one. Just make sure to use a big pot.

Tip

Don't shy away from letting some brown bits accumulate at the bottom of the pot when cooking the carrot, celery, and onion. That depth of flavor makes for a great soup.

Just shy of nuisance

This morning on the way into the house after yoga, my water bottle ricocheted out of my too-full hand and plummeted into the bushes. I wasn’t even sorry. I’m 39 now, so I laughed heartily at myself, letting my voice reverberate under the porch roof. I left the bottle there for several hours, because it’s my house, and this is America, and if I’m going to have to deal with all the crazy fucks who think guns have more civil rights than women, I at least plan to avail myself of my private property just shy of the point of nuisance.

America has its strong points

Then I scooped up the girls from school at lunchtime and took them to the dentist, which was excellent. They have a kind of fluoride now where you don’t have to wait half an hour before eating. America has its strong points! Afterward we ordered grilled cheeses from the local deli. I let the girls get the bright orange cheez doodles that stain your fingers, and they scarfed it all too fast in the car on the way back to school.

A minestrone soup kind of day

Tonight we’ll have soup. We’ll sit at the dinner table and be together. I can’t guarantee that no one will sigh or roll their eyes. But we’ll survive.

Later, I might even put on a sweater.

Fall is here, and it’s back to real life. I love our holidays and vacations, but real life is my favorite.

Here’s a big pot of savory, warming soup to get you through the week or share with friends. Welcome to fall. Let’s do this.

Vegetarian Minestrone Soup Recipe for a Crowd

Thanks to the few minutes you'll spend accumulating some browned bits on the bottom of the pot, as well as the parmesan rind you'll toss in, this minestrone has a deep, satisfying savoriness. Serve it with some crusty bread and a bottle of wine for a casual cool-weather get-together, or hoard it for your family. It will keep in the fridge for a week and only gets better. I've written the recipe with all the vegetables already chopped, but in reality I often heat the pot and chop and toss in the ingredients as I go. As long as you tend to work quickly, this is a fine way of doing things that evokes Italian grandmothers and may even help with the browning process.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 cups low-salt vegetable stock
  • 26 ounces diced tomatoes*
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 rind of parmesan cheese
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 3 zucchini, diced
  • 16 ounces frozen cut green beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 bunch Lacinato kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 50 fresh basil leaves

Directions

  1. In a very large lidded pot (I used a 9-quart dutch oven), warm the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions, celery and carrots and sprinkle the salt overtop. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to get tender and there’s plenty of nice browning on the bottom of the pot. Don't rush this step, since the browned bits contribute to the soup's deep flavor.
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring a couple of times, for a minute or two, until you can really smell the garlic.
  4. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for a minute or two more.
  5. Pour in the stock and diced tomatoes, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, and parmesan rind. Stir and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. (You won’t be able to see them, but you can feel the difference your spoon.) Bring to a boil over high heat.
  6. Add the potatoes, zucchini, green beans and canned beans. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the kale and cook about 10 minutes more, until all the vegetables are tender.
  8. Off the heat, tear up the basil leaves and stir in.
  9. Ladle into bowls and serve, with grated cheese to pass at the table.

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Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 322 Total Fat:: 4.8g Carbohydrates:: 59.2g Fiber:: 15g Protein:: 14.8g