Warm Up with My Chunky Minestrone

chunky minestrone

What’s better than a steamy hot bowl of soup when the weather starts to cool down? A nice bowl of hot soup never fails to instantly warm me up on a chilly day. I love making a big pot and eating it all week for lunch or even having it for a light dinner. The thing about homemade soup is that there are no rules, you can add to it whatever you have on hand.

For me it always starts out with a heavy dose of vegetables, more variety than amount, one zucchini. a few carrots, a handful of peas, you get the picture, you don’t need a ton of each. I always have canned beans on my pantry shelf along with organic, low sodium chicken stock, as I write this I have seven boxes sitting on my shelf.

Don’t get me wrong I love making homemade chicken soup that has a rich, deep broth created from the bones of a whole chicken simmering on the stove for hours, but this is a quicker pot of soup that is just as comforting and nourishing and it’s chock full of chunky bite size vegetables and beans in a parmesan broth, and if you so desire, you can add in some mini meatballs and pasta, but you don’t have to, it can be strictly all vegetable.

a pot of chunky minestrone

Everything gets put into the pot at the same time, no sauteing anything ahead of time, you can literally throw it all together, quick and easy!

pasta, mini meatballs and cheese for minestrone

Since I make meatballs quite often around here I always roll up some mini ones to tuck away in my freezer during the fall and winter months, which is a good addition if you want to bulk up your soup. If I’m adding pasta, I always make it ahead of time and serve it on the side for those who want some added carbs, I never cook my pasta straight in the soup broth, I don’t like how it looks and tastes when it blows up and gets mushy, I prefer my pasta al dente.

Another thing you will always find in my freezer are parmesan rinds, I always save my own but mostly I pick up a couple of packages every time I go to my Whole Foods, very inexpensive, a couple of dollars for three or four in a package and usually they still have a lot of cheese attached, well worth the money, I use them all the time.

chunky minestrone soup

Please ditch those canned soups that are overly salty with ingredients you can’t identify, always make your own, your family will thank you.

chunky minestrone soup

Healthy and delicious, comfort in a bowl!

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4.8 from 4 reviews
Chunky Minestrone
Chunky good for you glorious vegetable soup with beans and wonderful parmesan broth, mini meatballs and pasta, optional
Recipe type: Soup
  • Each ingredient is roughly 1½ cups each, cut into chunky bite size pieces.
  • broccoli florets
  • cauliflower florets, ( if i had it I would have used it)
  • yellow and green zucchini, a combo of both
  • leek
  • onion
  • carrot
  • peas
  • celery
  • butternut squash
  • brussel sprout leaves, or cabbage, or any greens of your choice
  • potato, ( I opted to double the butternut squash, but you can do both)
  • 15 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 large crushed garlic cloves
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 can of cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ can of butter beans, drained and rinsed ( butter beans are quite larger, if you can't find them do another bean of your choice)
  • a bunch of chopped parsley and some basil, or other seasoning you like
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 parmesan cheese rinds
  • 2 handfuls or so of grated parmesan or romano to toss into the broth when finished after removal of rinds, taste to your liking.
  • broth or stock, enough to cover all the vegetables and then some, you want enough so that when it's stirred it's loose, I used organic, low sodium, chicken stock in a box.
  • mini meatballs, precooked
  • pasta of your choice, precooked
  1. Throw everything into the pot, raw.
  2. Cover with broth, add spices and herbs.
  3. Simmer on low until veggies are cooked through but not mushy
  4. Turn off heat, remove cheese rinds.
  5. Add in grated cheese and stir, tasting for desired amount.
  6. Ladle into your bowl and top with cooked mini meatballs and/or pasta, optional


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  1. My goodness Marie – your photos are just mouth-watering. I’m with you on the parmesan rinds and cooking the pasta. I always cook the pasta in a separate pot for the same reason you do. By the way, nice dishcloth you have there!

  2. This is my favorite kind of soup, Marie! I do the same with the Parmesan rinds and cooking pasta separately. I also like to make my mini meatballs with ground turkey. I like the flavor they add to soups and they stay very soft and tender.

  3. There is nothing that brings memories of my childhood back more than having a pot of soup on the stove. Mamma could extend ingredients to feed four of us over several days. Whether it was chicken, beef — rarely, or something with fagioli the soup had lots of good ingredients in the pot. Your photos are making my mouth water for a good hot bowl a soup with some homemade bread to use as a scarpetta so that nothing is left on the bottom. We also cook our pasta separately and add it to each bowl. We are getting a Whole Foods store to our town — I’ll be keeping a eye out for the parmesan rinds. Oh!! I agree with Linda — nice dishcloth. Have a great weekend.

  4. This looks like the best recipe I’ve seen for Ministone. Looking forward to cold weather so I can make it.

  5. Mille Grazie Marie!
    I will make this soon. Grazie for the “cheese rinds at Whole Foods”. My favorite Farmer’s Market is across the street from Whole Foods.

  6. Joanne Jones says:

    Marie—–I saw the soup this morning on your website and had all the ingredients and made it and had it for lunch. Delicious. I always have mini meatballs in my frig make out of chicken sausage. I’m a big soup maker and try to make a different one every week during the fall and winter. Enjoy your website very much. Keep up the good work. JJ

  7. I love Parmigiana rinds in my soup…this minestrone looks amazing……Henry would be so happy.
    Bookmarking for a chilly night.

  8. There truly is nothing quite like a piping hot bowl of minestrone this time of year, as the evenings turn chilly. And I like the idea of the tiny meatballs. I have to try that next time!