Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Garden Minestrone

The creators of this recipe claim it's a copy cat of Olive Garden's Minestrone Soup, which is an all-time favorite of mine.

While this soup is excellent, it's not quite a copy cat of my favorite soup.  It actually reminds me a bit of Progresso's Vegetable Soup, which I used to eat frequently before we started making everything from scratch.

Whether you think it aligns with one of these well-known soups or not, this is a fast, easy and healthy soup recipe that we'll certainly be making again.  One bowl serving is under 300 calories and less than 1.5g of fat!

Garden Minestrone - Adapted from Food.Com

1 medium onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, quartered
1 C frozen green beans
1 stalk celery, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 C vegetable broth
1 can Great White Northern Beans, rinsed and drained*
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1/2 C shredded carrot {I used 1 medium carrot, sliced}
1/2 tsp. parsley
1 1/4 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. thyme
~2 C hot water
1/4 C red wine
3 C fresh spinach
1/2 C small shell pasta

*You can add another can of beans if you wish, red kidney is recommended

Begin by tossing the veggies into the bottom of your crockpot.  My crockpot is a 4 quart, and this recipe fills it up!  I'd recommend using a larger crockpot, if you have one.  If not, don't add the water while the dish is cooking.  Add the hot water before serving.

Anyway, back to the recipe.  Combine those veggies.

Pour in the vegetable broth.  

Add in the diced tomatoes.  I love salt free and petite diced.  

Add the tomato paste to the mix as well.  

Next up, add the spices.  Reduce the salt even more if your broth is salty and/or your tomatoes are salted.  No need for extra sodium.  

Pour in the beans.  

Add the minced garlic.  

Stir to mix.   

Add in the red wine.  If your crockpot is large enough, add the hot water at this point too.  Mine was not large enough, so I reserved the water and mixed it upon serving.

Close the lid and call it a day.  Cook the soup on low for 6-10 hours.  30 minutes before serving, turn the crockpot to high and add the pasta and spinach.  

Serve the soup warm, garnished with Parmesan cheese, of course.  That's what they do at Olive Garden.  

I ended up adding ~1/8-1/4 C hot water to everyone's bowl.  The water was a great addition, and I added cold water so that we could eat the soup right away without waiting for it to cool down for 10 minutes.  Those crockpots keep things hot!

Have you ever tried a copy cat recipe?  How did it turn out?


Linked to: What's on Your Plate?  


  1. I love Olive Garden's Minestone soup! And I am loving the looks of your copy cat recipe. I will definitely give this one a try (maybe next week!). Even if it doesn't taste exactly like the restaurant version it still looks like it will taste great. Thanks so much for sharing!

    I just printed a copy cat recipe for Carrabba's chicken soup. I'm looking forward to trying that one (hubby's favorite restaurant soup).

    Have a wonderful day,

  2. How big is your crock pot? It looks the size of mine - I'd probably have to hold off on the water, too. It looks delicious!

  3. I love minestrone (any soup, really, but especially minestrone) and this one looks really good. I love that it has wine in it. Must give it a really nice flavor. Beautiful photos!

  4. A good hearty soup is right up our alley! I'd like to make at least one more pot of soup before the weather starts to warm up :)

  5. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I made it this weekend and used dried beans instead of canned, 8 hours and the beans were perfect even though I forgot to soak them overnight.


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