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Rich & Savory Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup Recipe

Spring may be right around the corner, but I think there’s still plenty of “soup weather” left.

I love making a big pot of soup – no recipe required! It comes out different every time, but its almost always a hit. The only constant is that I start by sautéing plenty of onions and garlic. After that I may add a little meat (or not), lots of vegetables, seasonings according to whim and a couple quarts of homemade broth. Any leftovers in the fridge better watch out. They’ll probably get tossed in the pot too. If I want my soup creamy or a little richer I whisk in a can of coconut milk.

Some soups, though, like this rich and savory Minestrone Soup, do call for a recipe. My mom found the recipe in a Taste of Home magazine over 20 years ago, and its been a family favorite ever since. I pull out the recipe, because . . . who wants to mess up a family favorite, right?

Truth be told, I don’t really follow the recipe! I read it to make sure all the ingredients get on the grocery list and I remember to thaw enough broth. But, when soup-making time rolls around, I don’t measure much. 🙂 Extra carrots – great. Triple the basil – sure. A couple extra garlic cloves – of course. Use up the cabbage – why not? Forgot to buy cabbage – no problem!

Don’t like some of the ingredients on the label of sweet Italian sausage? Neither do I!  Just buy plain ground pork (find a local farmer if you can) and season your own. Ground beef or chicken could also be used. Here’s what I mix in:

Italian Sausage Seasoning

(for 2 pounds ground pork)

  • 2 teaspoons salt (I like Celtic Sea Salt)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons sage
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar (optional)
  • dash or two hot pepper

Mix spices into ground pork and combine well. You’ll probably have to use your hands. If you remember, do this a couple hours before you’re ready to cook the meat to give the meat time to absorb the flavors. If you forget, its okay – I don’t always remember either!

That’s what I usually mix in. However, if you happen to be in my kitchen some day, don’t get upset if I add something else or leave something out. That’s what makes cooking interesting 🙂

The fennel seed is the secret ingredient. You could probably skip the marjoram if you don’t have any, but you should definitely add fennel seeds to your grocery list!

Just like I do with another family favorite, Cheesy Beef and Rice, I usually triple the recipe but only double the meat. A triple batch makes enough to feed our family of seven 2 full meals with enough leftover for a couple lunch portions. Leftovers are even more delicious since all the flavors have had time to meld.

Time to get your grocery list out and prepare to make:

Rich & Savory Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (or season your own meat)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2½ cups broth
  • 2 cups finely diced cabbage
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more if your broth is unsalted)
  • ⅛-1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 14 oz. can great northern, cannellini or navy beans, undrained (if you cook your own beans, use 1½-2 cups with some liquid)
  • chopped fresh parsley, optional
  1. Remove sausage from casings (if necessary), crumble and brown in large dutch oven.
  2. Add onion, garlic, carrots and basil. Stir and cook about 5 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, broth, cabbage, salt and pepper. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer about 1 hour.
  4. Add zucchini and beans and continue to cook about 20 minutes.
  5. Add parsley if desired and serve.


Shared at: Real Food Friday, Savoring Saturday, Modest Monday, Art of Homemaking Monday, Coffee and Conversation, Fellowship Friday, and Women With Intention.


  1. I am excited to make this! Might be tomorrow if it stays rainy! 🙂 Thanks Abi, for sharing at Women With Intention Wednesdays!

  2. I love no-recipe meals too. My chili is that way! Never tastes exactly the same, and that’s OK!

    This recipe looks very good!

    • Yes, ‘no-recipe meals’ are great. Its nice to have the flexibility to use what is available in season or just in the cupboard. 🙂 I do lots (including chili) that way!

  3. I just printed this recipe to make for my Sunday stew. I’m so excited about it because I LOVE minestrone! I found your post at Fellowship Fridays!

  4. Oh this sounds soo good right now! Thanks so much for sharing it at Savoring Saturdays – I’ve pinned it to our group board! 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us! I have still been nervous about cooking with fennel seed! I need to get more courageous with certain herbs. Thanks for the nudge 🙂 Glad to see you linked up with the Art of Home-Making Mondays this week too!

    • I buy them whole and grind them in a small mortar and pestel. You could also try adding it to spaghetti sauce – that’s yummy too. Hope you try it soon, JES.

  6. This sounds wonderful. A healthy hearty meal all in one dish. Great meal for a windy March day. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & twitted.

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