This Minestrone Verde Soup Recipe Is Loaded With Spring Vegetables

Green minestrone

Active time:25 minutes

Total time:45 minutes

Servings:4 to 6 (Makes 11 cups soup and 1/2 cup pesto)

Active time:25 minutes

Total time:45 minutes

Servings:4 to 6 (Makes 11 cups soup and 1/2 cup pesto)

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The idea for a spring green version of minestrone came to me after reading about minestras and pasta e fagioli, and generally about the confusing definitions of soups and stews in Italian and other cuisines.

Working as a recipe developer is fun. It might not seem like it, but because we test and retest (and retest) every recipe, and then have to have each one professionally photographed, we always work far ahead.

I developed this perfect April recipe for Minestrone Verde, a stew of beans, greens and pasta, in January. There were very few asparagus in the markets at the time, and I had to rely on frozen peas and my little jars of tender basil to get through the development process.

But it was a fun way to let me start daydreaming about the green things of spring. I thought a soup full of greens and herbs would be exactly the kind of meal I would want to eat on a cool night in early spring.

So, I went to the market and bought all the green things I could find: There were green onions but no green garlic, asparagus but no spring peas. I bought a box of spinach leaves and looked for some decent basil. I picked up some fresh Italian parsley and also a bunch of dill. I knew I wanted beans in this soup, but instead of a white bean like cannellini, I opted for frozen lima beans – a dense, buttery bean that is pale green, unfortunately much maligned but delicious and easy to find.

The first time I made the soup, I used all the vegetable broth. He tinted the broth brown, so I made a mixed herb pesto to stir into the finished minestrone. After some more testing, I settled on one part vegetable stock and one part water, with a generous amount of pesto to stir in, table side. It makes the broth green like spring grass and gives it a lush, leafy flavor. It’s exactly what I think you might want on a rainy or cool night in early spring.

  • To make this meatless soup >> skip the bacon and salt pork (see VARIATION, below).
  • If you can’t find fresh green onions >> use a small onion instead.
  • You’re out of vegetable broth? >> Use water and possibly a little white wine.
  • I love the lima beans here >> although you can swap them out for a white bean or even more peas.
  • I wouldn’t skip the pesto >> but if you do, drizzle each serving with a little olive oil and top with grated cheese and chopped herbs.

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  • 3 ounces thickly sliced ​​bacon (about 3 slices) or salt pork, diced (optional; see VARIATION)
  • 4 to 6 green onions, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 6 cups of water
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup (3 ounces) frozen or canned lima beans, drained
  • 10 asparagus stalks, preferably thin, woody ends discarded, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 4 ounces) small pasta, such as ditalini, mini farfalle, or orzo
  • 1 cup (2 ounces) green peas, fresh or frozen
  • Fine salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 bunch (1 1/2 ounces) fresh parsley, dill or basil, tender leaves and stems, or a mixture, plus a few extra sprigs for garnish
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, more as needed

Prepare the soup: Place a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid over medium heat and add the bacon or salt pork, if using (see VARIATION). Cook, stirring, until the fat has melted and the pork is browned and crispy around the edges, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, stir in scallions and celery and cook, stirring, until tender and just starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the water, broth and lima beans and cover the pan. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Uncover and add the asparagus and pasta and return the soup to a boil. Cook until pasta and asparagus are al dente, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the peas and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep the soup warm until ready to serve.

Make the pesto: in the bowl of a food processor, preferably a mini one, combine the herbs, parmesan and olive oil and process until smooth, adding a little more olive oil , if necessary.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top each with 1-2 tablespoons pesto. Garnish with the reserved herbs and serve hot.

VARIATION: For a vegetarian version of the soup, in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil until simmering. Add scallions, celery and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Then continue with the rest of the recipe above. (To make the soup vegan, omit the cheese from the pesto.)

Per serving (just 2 cups of soup and 1 heaping tablespoon of pesto), based on 6

Calories: 448; Total fat: 19 g; Saturated fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 16mg; Sodium: 407mg; Carbohydrates: 55g; Dietary fiber: 6g; Sugars: 4 g; Protein: 14g.

This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.

From personal writer G. Daniela Galarza.

Tested by Kara Elder; questions by e-mail to voraciously@washpost.com.

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Check out this week’s Eat Voraciously recipes:

Monday: Penne with Asparagus Pesto and White Beans

Wednesday: Chopped salad from Nancy

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