This Minestrone Soup is a great way to use summer squash. Plus, it only takes 15 minutes to throw together. Perfect for hot days when you don’t want to heat up the house with a ton of cooking.
Soup in the summer? Definitely! Make the most of fresh, seasonal summer produce, like zucchini and yellow squash, with this quick-cooking version of Italian minestrone that is ready to eat in just 15 minutes.
Italian cuisine is all about cooking with the seasons. This is actually the secret to why Italian cooking is among the most beloved in the world. Italians pride themselves on eating local and seasonal ingredients at the peak of their flavor. That means artichokes in the spring, tomatoes in the summer, and root vegetables in the fall.
Because Italians value eating fruits and vegetables when they are in season, they often have different versions of the same dish for summer and winter. Take, for example, the classic Italian vegetable soup minestrone. Most Italian families have a hearty winter version of this soup that simmers on the stove for hours and a summer version with lighter, quick-cooking vegetables, such as green beans and tomato.
Minestrone With Summer Vegetables
Inspired by this practice of eating and cooking with the seasons, today I bring you a recipe for a quick minestrone starring some of the most popular Italian summer vegetables: zucchini and yellow squash. Zucchini and yellow squash are what is known as summer squashes, meaning that they have a soft, edible exterior – unlike winter squashes, such as butternut or acorn squash, which need to be peeled before eating.
Not only are summer squashes easy to prepare – just chop them up and go! – but they cook quickly. Indeed, in this recipe, the vegetables turn tender and perfectly toothsome after only a few minutes of cooking in the hot soup, meaning that this dish is ready to eat in only 15 minutes!
In addition to zucchini and summer squash, this minestrone recipe includes tomatoes – we use canned for convenience – and Italian cannellini beans which add protein. With the plant-based protein from the beans, this summer minestrone is a satisfying and nutritious meatless meal. To make this soup completely vegetarian, however, be sure to use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Secret To Big Flavor In A Small Time
Lastly, the secret to giving this summer minestrone soup big flavor after only a few minutes of cooking: a generous dollop of pesto. Pesto is a classic Italian spread traditionally made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Just a little bit of pesto can add big flavors to your Italian-inspired dishes. Feel free to use store-bought pesto if you are in a rush. But if your garden basil plants are going crazy during the summer, you can also make a lovely homemade pesto that will keep in the fridge for several weeks.
To make this recipe go especially quickly, chop the summer squashes and mince the garlic while the soup is heating up. Follow the directions in the recipe to avoid wasting any precious time. You will be amazed by how quickly this soup comes together and how rich and flavorful it is after only 15 minutes on the stove. Because, after all, in the summer, the last thing any of us want is to be standing over a hot stove!Print
- 2 cups low or no-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with the juices
- 1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 medium yellow squash
- 2 medium zucchini
- 8 fresh basil leaves
- Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
- 3 Tbsp. pesto, homemade or store-bought
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the broth, tomatoes and beans in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Cover the pot and turn the heat to high.
- Mince the clove of garlic and add it to the pot along with the oregano and chili powder, keeping the pot covered.
- Quarter the zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise. (That is, cut the vegetables in half lengthwise and then cut each piece in half lengthwise again.) Chop the quarters into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Once the soup begins to bubble, add the zucchini and yellow squash. Continue to simmer the soup covered, turning down the heat if necessary, until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, grate approximately 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese and slice the basil leaves into ribbons. Set aside.
- Once the vegetables are tender, remove the soup from the heat and stir in the pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with parmesan and fresh basil. Serve hot.