Winter Minestrone Soup
Winter Minestrone Soup is a hearty minestrone soup packed with pancetta, sweet potato, kale and farro. Top with parmesan for the perfect bowl of soup!
Clearly I’m overdosing on comfort food lately. Chili last week, soup today…and I’m showing no signs of slowing down (don’t worry). 🙂
It is winter, after all, and we need cozy, soul-warming food. This Winter Minestrone Soup is going to make you forget all about classic minestrone.
It’s that good.
That’s a pretty strong statement, and if you’re a minestrone soup lover, you’re probably wondering what makes this version so special.
I happen to be a minestrone soup lover myself, but I don’t really care for the pasta or russet potato that is typically included in it. That’s because the pasta oftentimes gets mushy, and russet potatoes just aren’t my favorite.
I’ve subbed the pasta with farro, and russet potato with sweet potato in this winter vegetable minestrone soup, and it’s even better.
Being that it’s winter, I had to add kale (like I needed an excuse!), and I also added a large parsnip. If you’re not familiar with parsnips, they basically look like white carrots, and they have an earthy, woody flavor that is truly amazing. They added a nice sweetness to this soup and gave those carrots a run for their money.
Let’s not forget the pancetta, because that’s the biggest flavor booster here. The pancetta just works magic here, and really takes this soup over the top.
I also learned a little trick about tossing a 1″ piece of parmesan cheese rind into the soup while it simmers toward the end that adds even more umami flavor to this soup. A bay leaf and chopped fresh rosemary give this soup some of the herb/spice flavor that makes it minestrone perfection.
Really…who needs pasta or russet potato?
This winter minestrone soup has even more flavor than your used to from the addition of pancetta, parsnip and sweet potato. They give the broth a unique flavor that’s savory with a little sweetness, and the parmesan cheese rind, bay leaf, and fresh rosemary just fill in the gaps to make this the best thing since sliced bread.
And speaking of sliced bread, go ahead and enjoy this soup with some rosemary focaccia bread. With or without bread, this is one cozy bowl of soup. 🙂
More soup recipes you’ll love:
Chicken noodle soup by Taste of Home
Winter Minestrone Soup
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 large carrot peeled and chopped into ½" pieces
- 1 large parsnip peeled and chopped into ½" pieces
- 1 large stalk celery tops removed and chopped into ½" pieces
- 4 ounces chopped pancetta
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 15 ounces diced tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups water*
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
- ½ cup uncooked small shaped pasta or sub with farro or quinoa
- 1 medium sweet potato peeled and chopped into ½" chunks (or sub with regular potato)
- 15 ounces cannelini beans rinsed and drained
- 1" piece of parmesan cheese rind optional
- 3 cups chopped kale or use baby kale or spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, parsnip, celery, and pancetta, and cook until the onions are translucent and the vegetables have softened, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
- Add the tomatoes, stock, water, bay leaf, and rosemary and bring to a boil.
- Add the sweet potato and cook about 10 minutes. Add the pasta, beans and parmesan cheese rind, and simmer about 10-15 more minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.
- Toss the kale in during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking until just wilted. If using baby kale or spinach, add during the last 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and remove the cheese rind and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve garnished with freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!
- Make vegetarian by omitting the pancetta and using vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock.
- Pre-cut kale or baby kale are great options to save time. Add about 2-4 cups depending on the amount of greens you like in your soup!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.