Minestrone soup is a family tradition in our house. It’s synonymous with comfort and healing. When I had my first baby, my sweet grandma brought me over a bought of her fabulous Minestrone, and it was so delicious that I learned how to make it myself and have made it ever since. There are so many different varieties out there. This one is hearty, filling and nourishing.
We buy 25 lb sacks of legumes and grains, so I cook all of my beans from scratch, but canned ones work just as well.
Since we raise our own beef, we always have extra bones and meat that I use to make homemade beef stock, but you can also use canned beef broth or even buillon to make yours.
Night-before preparations — soak your dried beans (unless you’re using canned beans), covered with water. Soak 3/4 c. each: kidney, pinto and garbonzo beans. Use twice as much water as beans for soaking, because the beans expand. Also, cook your beef bones (for the stock) in a crockpot filled with water and 2 T. vinegar overnight. Homemade soup stock is much higher in minerals and nutrients than canned broth, but if you’re short on time, go ahead and use store-bought broth. Soak your beans and boil your bones for 15+ hours before assembling your soup.
After the beans have been soaked, boil them until soft, before adding them to the soup. They won’t soften much once they are added to the soup.
- Brown 1 lb. ground beef and 1 lb. ground italian sausage with 1 diced onion and 3 T. minced garlic. Drain excess grease.
- Add 2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes, 1 24 oz can spaghetti sauce, 1 T. dried italian herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add 1 1/2 cups each: kidney beans, pinto beans and garbonzo beans, already soaked, cooked and soft. Or, if you’re using canned beans, add a can each.
- Add 1 quart beef stock. Simmer for at least an hour to blend all the flavors.
- Bring to a boil, then add 2 15 oz. cans cut green beans and 1 16 oz. package of pasta. Once the pasta is al dente, the soup is ready to serve.
This makes a very large pot of soup, at least 16 servings. The pasta will get mushy if refrigerated and reheated, so if you anticipate not being able to use all of the soup, you may want to set aside and freeze the extra soup before adding the pasta.
I also add all kinds of vegetables, usually whatever I have on hand. I like to dehydrate extra garden produce — zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, celery, peppers, onions — and just toss in whatever I have on hand. You can almost never go wrong with minestrone soup!
1 lb. ground beef: $2.99
1 lb. ground italian sausage: $2.49
2 cans diced tomatoes: $1.20
1 can spaghetti sauce: $0.99
dried legumes: $0.99
2 cans green beans: $1.20
16 oz. pasta: $0.99
serves at least 16 people
costs less than 68 cents per serving
Looking for a few more inexpensive, yet nourishing and hearty recipes so you can reduce your grocery budget?
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