Add a fresh minestrone to your healthy soup rotation this month

  • Winter Minestrone is a twist on the Italian soup you're probably used to having.

    Winter Minestrone is a twist on the Italian soup you're probably used to having. Photo by Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post

Updated 1/22/2020 7:16 AM

If you've had just one or maybe two minestrones in your life, you might be excused for thinking that they're always the same -- summer vegetables, say, with tomatoes and beans and tiny pasta. But the beauty of this Italian soup is that it is many things to many people, and it varies widely by season and geography. Some versions include rice instead of pasta, peas instead of (or in addition to) beans. In Liguria, they add that region's beloved pesto. No matter where it's made, the soup is inspired by what you've got on hand.

Minestrone is so popular, especially in plant-based-eating circles (and not just in Italy), that the latest one I love comes from two non-Italian sources. In their 2019 book "Vegan Everything" (The Experiment), Nadine Horn and Jrg Mayer apply such nice touches that their Winter Minestrone is just what I want to eat after a few weeks of holiday indulgences.


The vegetables include carrots, Swiss chard (with the ribs, for texture) and cabbage, the beans are cannellini or cranberry (aka borlotti), and the pasta is ditalini, those little tubes named for their thimble shape. But it's the spices -- a small amount of cinnamon and an even smaller pinch of cloves -- that make this cozy enough for any cold night.

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