Make-do Minestrone

We’ve all had those days where you want to make something nice for a meal and you can’t find any of the right ingredients in your kitchen. (“What in God’s name am I supposed to make with nachos and ramen?”) This happened to my Mom and I when we wanted to make minestrone soup for dinner. We ended up substituting a lot.

So, if you don’t have any fancy ingredients, here’s my Mom’s ‘Make-do Ministrone”

It’s based off of Jamie’s recipe and tweaked because we didn’t have as many of the ingredients and I don’t like adding alcohol to food.

You’ll need:

4 tablespoons olive oil (because three wasn’t enough for the amount of carrots we used)
2 onions, chopped
2 cups chopped celery
2 Tbs Italian Seasoning
1 Tbs Garlic Powder
1 Tbs Onion Powder
15 baby carrots, sliced (we didn’t have the full-length variety)
2 cups beef broth
2 cups water
4 cups tomato sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed and chopped up
2 zucchinis quartered and sliced up
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup macaroni noodles (yes, macaroni, we didn’t have anything else)
First, use the olive oil and saute the onions for about three minutes, or until their nearly transparent.



When cooking onions I would recommend wearing goggles or eye protection

Then add the celery and carrots and saute for about five minutes further (I don’t care that the original recipe says to only saute them for two minutes) until the carrots are slightly tender.


Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and water to a boil. This is usually when I add the spices so they have time to mix in nicely. I forgot to do that when I made the mix and ended up adding the spices toward the end. Try not to forget like I did.


Yes, the tomatoes are in there. They all sank to the bottom.

Add the beans and spinach and let that sit for about forty minutes on a boil. Depending on whether your stove is possessed like ours and switches to a higher temp when you aren’t looking, you might wants to check in on it once in a while.


Don’t leave the soup like this, you should stir it.


Make sure the zucchini is tender before you eat it, otherwise you wind up with a weird chunky-veggie broth thing that is neither pleasant or good for leftovers.

Now, get a smaller pot and boil the macaroni for about 3/4 of it’s regular time, then add that and the zucchini to the mix and let it cook for about eight more minutes. Then it’s chow time! This goes really great with garlic bread or bread sticks. It’s also great for making a week ahead and having a ton of leftovers.




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