a classic Genoese minestrone

I am about to share with you my favorite soup recipe of all time. This is a fabulous Italian minestrone. My mom has made this for years (*disclaimer: she actually made the batch in these pictures as well) and I continue to look forward to it every time. This is the epitome of comfort food and is the perfect meal this time of year when the temperatures drop. This recipe is quite time consuming, but very simple to make.

serving size is around 8


  • 1/2 head cabbage, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped kale  
  • 1 handful of string beans (around 20), chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 small potatoes
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • rind of a parmesan cheese wedge
  • 2 cans cannellini beans (or any beans of your choice, we used a can of garbanzo beans as well)
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (save half of this for serving) 
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Italian seasonings (basil, marjoram, oregano, whatever you prefer)  to taste
  • 1 lb small pasta*
  • s and p  
  • red pepper, optional

*Whole wheat elbo or orzo are great in here. If you are gluten free, brown rice or quinoa pastas are healthy options.


Put the kale, cabbage, onion, and cheese rind in a large stew pot. Cover with water. Cook this down on a low simmer (takes about 30 minutes) . Add seasonings to taste then cook for another half hour. About an hour before serving, put in the potatoes, cannellini beans, garlic, and a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Cook for another half an hour. Using a potato masher, coarsely crush the potatoes and beans while they are in the soup (this will thicken the broth without adding cream). Now throw in the zucchini, tomatoes, string beans, and pasta. Cook for about another fifteen minutes. Right before serving, put in the pesto and stir it all up. When serving, add a drizzle of olive oil over each bowl. Serve parmesan cheese to go with. 

* you can always add more water at any point if the broth becomes too thick, just make sure to season accordingly. 

*Healthy hint: The more vegetables the better! Add in whatever you have on hand.