marisa mariella

easy mouthwatering recipes that unite your family and friends

Minestrone Verde

Minestrone verde is my favourite springtime soup. There are many complex tastes and textures in this nourishing soup. It's very uncomplicated to make and I probably change the steps and ingredients every time I make it! Keep it carb-free if you like or add a bit of uncooked rice in the last 20 minutes. While canned beans do the trick, there is something very satisfying with cooking up a bag of dried beans yourself. The bonus is that you can freeze the unused portion of cooked beans for the next time you make this soup! Just a point about the Swiss Chard and escarole. When it is plentiful and inexpensive. Consider blanching it and freezing convenient portions so that you can add to this soup any time in the year. (Please note that this is a large batch soup. The video shows a smaller batch.)
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course dinner, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine Italian
Servings 16 servings


  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks sliced
  • 4 shallots minced
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 3 zucchini chopped
  • 3 large potatoes chopped (I like using Yukon Gold)
  • 3 L water (approx.)
  • 1 5" piece rind of Parmigiano Reggiano rinsed
  • 1 small bunch Swiss chard or head of escarole (about 4 or 5 cups chopped)
  • ½ cup parsley
  • 4 cups cooked beans such as Navy or Cannellini or Northern Pea can use 2 large cans, rinsed
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmigiano Reggiano grated
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling


  • Remove outer leaves of leeks and discard. Trim off dark green leaves and freeze in plastic bag to save for future stock. Slice down the length of leeks and rinse well, opening each layer to reveal the inner parts. Slice thinly. Set aside.
  • Remove outer skins of shallots. Slice thinly. Set aside.
  • Peel garlic and mince. Set aside.
  • Wash and trim celery. Slice thinly. Set aside.
  • Wash, peel, and and quarter potatoes. Then cut into ¼” thick slices. Set aside.
  • If using rind, wash and scrap a thin layer from the outside. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in large soup pot. Add shallots and saute a few minutes. Add leeks and celery and stir for a few minutes. Add garlic and stir. Do not brown garlic. (Add hot pepper flakes if using.) Add potatoes.
  • Add enough water to completely submerge the vegetables by about 6cm. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer.
  • Add rind, if using. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Set lid to cover partially. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  • While soup is simmering, prepare the other vegetables.
  • Trim escarole and place in bowl of cold water to rinse well. Strain and chop in large pieces. Set aside.
  • Wash and remove stem and scar from zucchini. Quarter and slice. Set aside.
  • Wash and chop the parsley. Set aside.
  • After 30 minutes of simmering the soup, add the parsley, escarole, and zucchini, and beans. Stir and simmer for about another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed.
  • Taste for seasonings. (Remove rind, if using. Can be finely chopped and added to soup.) Stir and serve immediately with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.



Many people under salt soup, resulting in a bland soup. This is a delicate soup which gets its flavour from the aromatics and olive oil. Be sure to taste it before serving. 
Consider cooking your own beans instead of purchasing canned. Homecooked beans are more flavourful and have no salt or additives. Check my website for instructions. 
If you are using homecooked beans, add a little  (about 1 cup) of the water in which they simmered. It is full of nutrients and will help flavour and thicken the soup. 
Consider adding rice. Either cook about 1/2 cup in the soup when adding the vegetables in the last 20 minutes or cook the rice separately and add a bit to each bowl before ladling the soup over it. 
This soup is lovely with crostini. Toast slices of a baguette, rub one side with fresh garlic and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over it. 
This soup thickens as it cools. When re-heating, feel free to add a little more water. It also freezes very well. 
Keyword Escarole, leeks, minestra, minestrone, onions, potatoes, shallots, soup, Swiss Chard, zucchini