Call me crazy, but I love making soup in the summer. It seems counterintuitive to make a hot soup when we’re having such warm weather but it actually makes a lot of sense. The produce available this time of year is so beautiful, it’s just begging to be put into a flavorful broth. This tasty minestrone is chock full of good-for-you vegetables including green beans, spinach, carrots, and celery. Bacon, fennel, red wine vinegar, and just a pinch of Italian seasoning infuse the soup. The spaghetti rounds out the meal, supplying a welcome bit of carbs, but it can easily be left out, if you prefer. Likewise, vegetarians can skip the bacon and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I hope this hearty minestrone will become a staple meal in your kitchen this summer!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 28 oz. can chopped/diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 oz. green beans
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning (or ¼ teaspoon each of dried basil and oregano)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 oz. broken spaghetti
- 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 5 oz. container spinach
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Fresh basil and Parmesan, to serve
- In a large stockpot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over med-high heat. Add bacon, onion, carrots, celery, fennel, and garlic. Cook for 15 minutes, until vegetables are softened.
- Add the tomatoes, green beans, red wine vinegar, and Italian seasoning. Simmer over medium heat an additional 5 minutes.
- Add the spaghetti and cook for 15 minutes, until pasta is al dente. Add kidney beans and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Test for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if needed. If soup is too thick, add a cup of chicken broth. Serve with fresh basil torn over the soup and parmesan on top.