How to Make Menestrón, or Minestrone, Soup This Winter


Ready1 hour


  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • ½ cup leek, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup carrot, chopped
  • ½ cup turnip, chopped
  • ½ cup green beans, cut in halves
  • ½ cup frozen baby lima beans
  • ½ cup cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup vegan queso fresco, in cubes (or tofu)
  • Salt and pepper, to tastes
  • ½ cup brown rice short pasta

For the sauce: (or use store-bought pesto)


  • ¼ onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil oil
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • ½ cup spinach
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Cook the vegetables in a saucepan with the stock over high heat. When it boils, turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer until everything is very soft (about 45 minutes). Season with salt and pepper, and add the pasta. Cook for as long as the package says.
  2. To make the sauce: heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
  3. Add onion and garlic, stir, and cook for 5 minutes. Add basil and spinach, season with salt and pepper. Process in the blender with a little water if needed, and pour into the soup.
  4. Cook for 5 more minutes, stirring, and serve immediately.

Minestrone is one of the most flexible soups around. The only standard part of most minestrone recipes is that you are advised to use whatever seasonal vegetables are at hand. The soup can be prepared with or without meat, and have either pasta or rice added to it (I’ve never seen it with rice nor with meat, I have to say). Its origin supposedly dates back to pre-Roman times, but even after the Empire was established and richer and more sophisticated foods were added to the staple diet of the common people, Romans recognized the health benefits of this kind of simple meals prepared with an abundant variety of fresh vegetables. This is perhaps the reason why they continued to prepare them in their homes, and even gave this type of food a name: Cucina Povera which means “poor” or “rustic” cuisine.




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