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Summer Fresh Minestrone with Pistou

Make ahead recipe
Summer Fresh Minestrone

I love soup any time of year and for any meal. This one happens to be one of my absolute favorites. Summer Fresh Minestrone is so healthy and so chocked full of vegetables – you will be eating it for lunch and dinner until its gone.

It’s easy to prepare, just a lot of chopping. The base of the soup is onion, garlic, celery, carrots, potato and tomato. After that, the recipe is flexible. I usually add zucchini (green and/or yellow), cabbage, spinach and lacinito kale. I didn’t have any kale but had green beans so I threw them in. Then it is finished off with orzo pasta and a pistou (pesto without the pine nuts and cheese).

If you can have everything chopped ahead of time then you can just layer all of the vegetables according to their cooking time. First, onions, then carrots, celery and garlic, next, cabbage and zucchini, followed by tomatoes, broth, spinach and kale. After that, make the orzo and pistou and you can walk away then come back in 25 minutes.

Minestrone vegetables

Minestrone vegetables

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Summer Fresh Minestrone

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  • Author: Lisa @ My Studio Kitchen
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


A scrumptious bowl filled with summer vegetables, pasta and pistou. A vegan dish without the addition of Parmesan.


  • 1/3 cup olive oil plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 large celery stalks, 1/4 inch dice
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut to 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 medium yellow or red potato
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 head cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 medium zucchini, 1/4 inch dice
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 small bunch of lacinito kale, cored and torn into medium pieces
  • 6 cups vegetable broth or water
  • Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 11/2 cups basil leaves
  • Grated Parmesan for garnish



  1. Heat a large deep soup pan, then add 3 tablespoons olive oil.
  2. Add onions and sauce until translucent (6-7 minutes).
  3. Add carrots, celery, potatoes and garlic and continue cooking for 8 minutes.
  4. Add zucchini and cabbage, cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add water or broth, tomatoes, spinach, kale  and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.
  6. Add parmesan rind if using. This will add additional flavor.
  7. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 25 minutes.


  1. Place basil and garlic into the bowl of a food processor or blender and mix for a few seconds. Then slowly drizzle in the olive oil until emulsified.


  1. Boil a small pot of water with 1 teaspoon salt. When boiling, add 1 cup orzo and cook according to directions.

For serving

  1. Put 1/4-1/2 cup of orzo into the soup bowl, pour soup into bowl, top with a large spoonful of the pistou and grated Parmesan.
  2. Finish with salt and freshly ground pepper.


Feel free to substitute vegetables,  use what you have left over.

You can use other types of pasta, small shells or macaroni or gluten-free or whole grain works too.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

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