Monday, February 4, 2019

Minestrone Soup for February

Hey, when you've survived a polar vortex, you understand how necessary it is to have a bunch of good soup recipes on hand. There's nothing like homemade soup to warm the heart, fingers, and toes!

This recipe came about after a long thought process. Most minestrone soup that I've had is heavy on the tomatoes, which is great if you love tomatoes. But where are the rest of the flavors? So I went searching through my recipes and on the internet, and came up with a few recipes that I combined and tweaked heavily.

The result? A delicious, creamy, savory minestrone that I just might end up making once a week from now until spring.

This recipe is for the Instant Pot, but you could easily do it on top of the stove. Just remember to give it a few hours to simmer, and don't add the pasta until 15 minutes before you serve it.

Oh, and did I mention? This is a vegetarian recipe!

Minestrone Soup for the Instant Pot
(makes 4 large bowls of soup)

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup finely sliced carrots
1/3 cup finely sliced celery
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup finely diced zucchini
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups vegetable broth
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups cooked great northern beans (or one 15 oz can)
1 1/2 cups cooked small red beans (or one 15 oz can)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 Tablespoon parsley
1 cup medium shell pasta

optional additions:
1/4 cup frozen (or fresh) chopped kale
1 can diced tomatoes

The hardest (i.e. most time consuming) part of this soup is prepping the veggies. But really, it only took about 5 minutes. Chop, chop, chop and you're done!

Set your Instant Pot to saute and add the olive oil. Let it heat up a little, then add the carrots, celery, onion, and zucchini. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 - 5 minutes to soften the veggies. Add the garlic powder (or you can use fresh garlic) and stir for another 20 to 30 seconds.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir.

Cover the pot and seal. Pressure cook for 6 minutes (you can use your "soup" setting)(and don't forget to allow about 10 minutes for the pot to come up to pressure), then use natural pressure release for about 10 minutes. Release the remaining pressure and stir the soup.

It's ready to eat!

You can serve it with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread. Yum!

Like I said, I was trying for a less tomato-ey flavor to this soup, and the 8 oz of tomato sauce I added was perfect for us. If you like more tomatoes, go ahead and add the optional can of diced tomatoes.

The kale was something I thought of after the soup was already done. I'm going to add that next time.

In other news, we had a couple days of respite from winter after the polar vortex moved east. Our temperatures reached 60 degrees on Saturday, so we headed to the Hills. We took advantage of the non-snow-covered roads to head into the wilderness.

And yes, that sign does say "not maintained in winter!"

This road is the back way into Wind Cave National Park, a fabulous place to go, whether you head for the underground (the CAVE!!!), or explore the beautiful prairies and hills of the above ground part of the park.

This southern end of the park is Buffalo Gap, a gap in the Hills that has been the route into the Black Hills for thousands of years. Filled with history. And on this February Saturday, a place of refreshing beauty.

Wind Cave National Park shares its northern border with Custer State Park, a place I've shared with you many times.

As we drove through the park, we saw that the Black Hills car wash was out in full force on this beautiful day, so we took advantage of the service. :-)

The respite from winter weather is over already, though. Another snow storm came through on Sunday, with snow and cold temperatures.

It must be time for another pot of soup! And maybe some homemade bread to go with it. Yum!

Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction. 
You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan


  1. I have never made minestrone soup. What is wrong with me??? :)

    And I am in love with your hills and dales and where the buffalo roam, even if they're bison. You get it. The whole deal makes me smile.

    I need to break out the Instant Pot again. I have to train myself on using it. Make it a habit.

    Or stop eating???? :)

  2. Ack -- I'm a day late but love this recipe. I don't have an instant pot though but I could do it in a regular old crock pot. Definitely hearty soup weather up here for some time to come! (And I'm jealous of your thaws -- when we get them it just means freezing rain and melted snow that turns to treacherous ice when the temps plunge again. )

  3. Jan, I somehow missed this post! Man, I sure wish I'd seen it yesterday. I was searching for soup recipes for the IP! Thanks for sharing!

    I'm laughing once again about the car wash. Laughed out loud at those tongue prints! haha