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Thick and Hearty Minestrone

Updated on March 16, 2015

The History and Meaning of Minestrone Soup

Obviously this is an Italian dish. Minestrone actually means "big soup". The word originates from Minestra (this is what some Italians call it) which means "to dish up or serve."

In Italy soup is served as a first course. If it's a bigger heartier soup, it can be served as a light meal in the evening. Italians (unlike us Americans) eat soup even in the summer when it's hot outside. They claim that it really makes you feel cooler.

Going back to 30AD this was a Roman soup made up of faro, chickpeas and fava beans with onions, garlic, lard and greens thrown in. Tomatoes and potatoes were added in American in the 16th century. Minestrone is now knows in Italy as "cucina povera" meaning poor kitchen.

Because of its unique origins, minestrone varies across Italy depending on the region of Italy, which is true of so many of Italian dishes. Each region does things a little different. The same can be said of here in the United States. The south has it's way which is different from the north which differs from the south west, etc.

There is no specific recipe for minestrone, except the fact that it's most vegetarian. Except for the fact that I used chicken broth, it is a vegetarian dish. If you don't want the chicken broth you can use vegetable broth. There is protein from the beans and a lot of vitamin C from the tomatoes and the other vegetables have other vitamins.

A nice chunk of Italian bread to dip in the soup also makes it so good. For adults, a nice glass of red wine is also good.

Hope you enjoy this version of Minestrone. Mangiare Buono "Eat Good"!


  • You can add rice instead of soup noodles, but add it when the broth and tomatoes and water does in and it cooks for 20 minutes.
  • You can also substitute Swiss Chard for Spinach or another green that you like.
  • Also other beans may be used like fava beans or navy beans or lima beans or whatever you like.

Photos of Minestrone in stages

Ready to eat
Ready to eat | Source
1st stage
1st stage | Source
With tomatoes and broth and water added.
With tomatoes and broth and water added. | Source
Ditalini added
Ditalini added | Source
Simmering. | Source

Please Vote

5 stars from 2 ratings of Thick and Hearty Minestrone


No need to add salt because the Chicken broth has salt in it and so does the grating cheese.

But, if you use low salt or unsalted chicken broth then you may want to add salt.

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 25 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: Makes five 1 3/4 cup servings
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 or 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (14 1/2oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 lb. Ditalini noodles
  • 4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 (15oz.) can Cannellini beans, undrained
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • to taste freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In a 4-quart Dutch oven or soup pot heat oil over medium high heat. Cook and stir the onion, carrot and garlic about 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, water and Italian seasoning.
  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered about 20 minutes. Add the zucchini, beans, pepper and Ditalini and cook 6 minutes.
  3. Add the spinach and grating cheese and cook another 5 or 6 minutes or until Ditalini are done the way you like it.


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    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      You're welcome, Alicia, and thank you for your nice comment. I appreciate it.

      Blessings to you

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This sounds and looks like a hearty and delicious soup! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      That you Thelma. That was very sweet of you.

      Blessings to you

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      I love Minestrone. It is very delicious. Thanks for sharing your recipe so I can try it. Enjoy your new week Rachel.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Thank you for the good rating. This recipes goes a long way. I even gave some to my pastor and he loved it. I appreciate your comments.


    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      My hubby and I eat soup year round and love it. I make all kinds of homemade soups and mine often vary according to what I have on hand or what needs to be used up. This one of yours sounds and looks delicious. Will be pinning it to my soup board and will also share if it is working. Gave it a 5 star rating.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Thank you Audrey for the kind comment. It's really appreciated.

      Blessings to you.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Thank you Pat for the wonderful comments. Thank you also for the votes and sharing. The freezing weather up here is making us all think of soups.

      Blessings to you

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      I love soup and this looks wonderful!!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Soup is an all time favorite of mine, summer or winter. Minestrone is so full of flavors and textures....I can almost smell these wonderful goodies as they simmer and make ready to provide a lovely meal.

      Great step by step directions.

      Voted up++++ and shared and pinned

      Angels are winging their way to you this afternoon. ps