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Kitchen Sink Minestrone

This minestrone soup is a framework for using up whatever leftovers you have on hand. All manner of vegetables, leftover pasta, chicken broth, beans, Parmesan cheese rinds, and even leftover meat or poultry are all fair game here. Feel free to get creative with this “Everything but the Kitchen Sink” soup.
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 cups raw vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken, beef, or vegetables broth
  • One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Parmesan rind, if you have one
  • 4 to 5 ounces uncooked pasta, such as penne, farfalle, or rotini (see note)
  • Optional: large handful raw spinach, kale, chard, or other leafy greens, stemmed and chopped
  • Optional: 1 to 2 cups leftover chopped poultry, meat, or cooked beans or chickpeas
  • Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium in large pot. Add the onion and saute until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, another minute or 2.
  2. Add 6 cups of chicken broth, tomatoes, and any longer-cooking vegetables (ie potatoes, carrots, winter squash, parsnips, broccoli, bay leaf, a generous pinch of salt, black pepper, and the Parmesan rind (if using). Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat until the broth simmers and cook 10 minutes until the vegetables are nearly tender.
  3. Add the beans, any quicker cooking vegetables (ie zucchini, bell peppers, or asparagus), and the uncooked pasta. Continue to at a high simmer another 15-20 minutes or until the veggies and pasta are cooked through. Add more broth, as needed.
  4. Add the greens and cooked meat/poultry (if using) and cook just until heated through. Taste and add salt and black pepper to taste. Remove the Parmesan rind and bay leaves before serving.
  5. Serve with Parmesan cheese to grate or shave over the top.

Recipe Notes

If you have leftover cooked pasta, feel free to use that in place of the uncooked pasta and add it at the very end of cooking the soup. Figure you'll need about 2 cups of cooked pasta. You can also use leftover rice, barley, or other grains in place of pasta if you happen to have that on hand.