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Recipe Stash Busting: Lazy Garden Minestrone

As I was thinking of what to title this post, I wanted something that communicated the versatile nature of this soup. I was thinking about “Mystery Minestrone” but that seemed a little too much like something from the middle school cafeteria. Ick. So I went with “Lazy” instead. Because it kind of is.

When you have less than an hour to get dinner on the table, and you have odd bits of this and that sitting around in the fridge and in the cupboard, and you want to serve something nutritious and delicious, a minestrone recipe is what you should reach for. Serve it with a loaf of crusty bread, perhaps a large salad, and you have yourself a formula for dinner success.

I’m including the recipe that I pulled out of Cooking Light magazine ages ago, but honestly I didn’t follow it that closely. I used many of the same ingredients, but the quantities were dictated by the things I found rolling around in the produce drawer (summer squash, collard greens, carrots, celery, green beans…) and the things I found in the bottom of the freezer (the end of last summer’s tomatoes, a half-used bag of corn, a marked-down package of bacon, a couple of Parmesan cheese rinds, a bag of navy beans…). Thankfully, that’s the magic of minestrone. You throw whatever odds and ends you have at it, cook it for 30 minutes, and it rewards you with a hearty and flavorful dinner.


Print Recipe

Garden Minestrone

Source: Cooking Light

Course: Soup and Chili

Serves: 8


  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 cups chopped yellow squash
  • 3 cups chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels about 2 ears
  • 4 cups chopped tomato divided
  • 3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth divided
  • 1/2 cup uncooked ditalini pasta very short tube-shaped macaroni
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can Great Northern beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
  • Coarsely ground black pepper optional


  1. Heat oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion to pot and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add oregano and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in squash, zucchini, carrot, and corn; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the chopped tomatoes and the broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Add pasta and beans to the pot; cook 10 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in spinach, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Ladle soup into individual bowls; top with cheese. Garnish with coarsely ground black pepper, if desired.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 217
Fat: 6.1g
Cholesterol: 12mg
Sodium: 812mg
Fiber: 7.9g
Protein: 12.6g

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  • Made this the other night and it was a hit with the whole family. Used gluten free pasta and chard instead of spinach. Excellent. Definitely a keeper recipe. Thanks!

    Brooke B May 8, 2013 AT 11:49 am

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