Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Homemade Minestrone
My dear Mom (of Blessed Memory) did not cook often, and perhaps wasn't crazy about cooking. But she was a proficient cook. When she set out to make something, it turned out the way she intended it. Sometimes I liked that (Chocolate Cake with her Special Homemade Icing!) and sometimes not so much (Meatloaf).

So, when she had a flop, it was memorable. I remember two flops in my entire life. Clean Out the Fridge Soup was one of those. Sauerkraut & Kidney Beans (altho both WERE in the fridge) were NOT a good combination for soup!

I decided as an adult - perhaps because of that memory - that it was best to have a template to work from when cleaning out the fridge to make soup.

This is my Minestrone Soup recipe - specially adapted for cleaning out the fridge. It has many Aromatics that most people keep in their fridge routinely, plus has a variety of options for using up other scraps or using fresh if you don't have a certain leftover lurking in the fridge.

All amounts are flexible - and I never measure on this one - it's just a set of guidelines to adapt to what you have.

As you cook, keep adding a little bit of water at a time - just enough to cover the veggies. The veggies in this soup make their own veggie broth as they simmer. If you need more water at the end, you can always add more- but you can't take it back out if you added too much!

Looking at the list of veggies below, if you have any in a cooked leftover condition, add them at the end (when you add the beans) If fresh, add them at the beginning.

This can easily be an oil-free soup (assuming your Spaghetti Sauce is oil free) - so I don't simmer anything at the beginning - that saves time and effort, and the difference is undetectable.

Toss in a pot adding water as described above. As you finish chopping each item, toss it into the pot - I've listed the from longest cooking to quickest cooking
1 Chopped Onion
4 Ribs Chopped Celery
Optional Carrots
1 Spoon of Minced Garlic (from 1 teaspoon to 1 Tablespoon - depending how fond you are of garlic)
1 Cup Spaghetti Sauce  (if you have none, you can use Tomato Sauce or paste, and increase Garlic & herbs a bit)
2 cups of Shredded Cabbage or Kale
1/2 head Cauliflower or 1 Diced Turnip
1 or 2 diced Potatoes*
Any or all of the following, depending what you have on hand: Green Beans, Italian Style Green Beans, Peas, Zucchini,Carrots, Diced Tomatoes.
Simmer till Celery and/or Carrots are tender.
Then, add
1 can/2 cups White Beans (Cannelini or Great Northern, for example)
2 cups cooked leftover pasta (or 1/2 cup uncooked broken Spaghetti or Orzo or similar size pasta)*
A few Dashes Parsley (Optional)
2 teaspoons Oregano
1 teaspoon Basil
Garlic Salt to taste
Cook till pasta is done (or heated through if leftover) and serve.

*If you plan to freeze this soup, do not add pasta or potatoes until you heat the soup to serve it. Pasta can get mushy with two heatings - and potatoes can turn black and lose their texture in the freezer.

Tip for dining with Omnivores: Serve Parmesan Cheese to top this soup. A little Italian Salami would go nicely along side, or some diced Chicken can be thrown in.


  1. It's wonderful to hear stories of your mom! ♥ I have several recipes that remind me of my family (remembering the overcooked broccoli and veggie lasagna from my grandma, who passed away 10 years ago), too.

  2. Thanks, Martha - Mom was great (and, I'm not biased at all!)

  3. My grandmother was super awesome at making soups and my mom claims that she couldn't even come close to her mother's outcome so she rarely tries BUT I sure wish she kept her recipes I would have loved to try doing vegan versions!

  4. A wonderful soup. I was thinking of minestrone a couple of days ago and thanks for reminding me.


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