My father is a very talented chef.  The fact that he was trained in Italy and France should give you a good idea of what the food he cooks tastes like. And yes, because both of my parents cook – and do so quite well – I grew up with a great sense of food — the importance of cooking at home, with food from a garden, and most everything from scratch.  Growing up this way definitely helped instill a desire to cook. And as an adult with a family of my own, I have continued that tradition of cooking and eating whole foods.

Growing up, my Papa’s minestrone was a staple.  What a great way to get a ton of vegetables in, in a way that tasted really good.  I sat with him a few years ago and picked his brain about how to make a good minestrone and I learned a lot. It’s one of the healthiest ways I know to feed your body well. I make it all year long and it is definitely a staple in my meal plan.

The following is how I learned (from the best) how to make a beautiful minestrone soup.  Enjoy!


{I aim to use at least 7-8 different vegetables.  You can make this soup “lighter” by only putting in a 4-5, or thicker, as I like it, by loading it up with vegetable goodness.  The following are what I typically put in my soup. All vegetables are chopped.  I tend to chop them more finely because I like the texture of the soup that way. If you want a “chunkier” soup, chop veggies into bite-size chunks.}

1.5 TBS olive oil

1 onion

5 carrots

3 stalks of celery

1 zuchhini

1 head of cauliflower – grated or finely chopped

1 turnip

1 bag of frozen, chopped organic spinach (I buy this at Trader Joe’s)

1 cup of brussel sprouts

3-4 medium sweet potatos

1 clove garlic and 1 TBS fresh parsley – chopped and put aside

1 TBS tomato paste

12-14 cups water and/or vegetable broth

sea salt to taste


Heat olive oil on low on the stove and saute onions.  Add in celery and carrots and cover for a few minutes.  Add in zuchhini, cauliflower, turnip, sprouts – salt well and cover for a few minutes to let the vegetables cook a bit.

Add in 12 cups of water, about 1 TBS of sea salt, cover and bring to a boil. {I use 8 cups of water and 4 cups of a low sodium vegetable broth that I get at Trader Joe’s.  On an occasion I put in 6 cups of water and 2 cups of chicken bone broth to get the healing benefits of the broth and add to the flavor of the whole soup}

While cooking/coming to a boil, put your peeled and chopped sweet potatoes in the microwave to soften – about 4 minutes. Then “mash” them up.

Add your spinach and mashed sweet potatoes, stir, cover and bring to a boil.  Once boiling lower to simmer for at least 1/2 hour.  Add in your tomato paste and cover.  {My father says the paste is to add color – a little flavor.  I use Amore brand paste. It comes in a tube which makes it easier to measure out what I need without having to store the rest.}

The soup will be “thicker” because of the sweet potato and it adds a nice flavor as well. An uncle in Italy once told my father that a the sign of a good minestrone is it’s thickness.  If the wooden spoon can “stand” up in the pot, you’ve got a good soup!

After simmering on low, add in your chopped parsley/garlic mixture and stir.  I let it simmer a bit longer and taste to see if more salt is needed.  Unlike my father, I am not a chef and don’t like to over salt up front (cause you can’t take it out!). So as this slowly cooks over the course of an hour + I taste, add salt as needed, stir, and repeat until all the flavors have come together well.

I make this soup in as big a pot as I can because I rely on it for leftovers and for freezing for future meals. My best tip for you here would be to cook once, and plan to feed yourself 3x!  If you are going through the effort to chop all of this food, you might as well make enough to feed you and your family for longer than one meal.

Let me know how you go if you make this!  I am positive my Papa will be proud of you for taking your health into your own hands and making this verri good-for-you meal.

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