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Old Feb 14, 2014, 5:26 am   #1
Name: Frank
Central, Michigan USA
Midland Co.
Join Date: Feb 7, 2003
Posts: 8,245

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Like Olive Garden Minestrone Soup?

I'm in love with their minestrone soup. We like the dinners as well, and they aren't afraid to season their food, like most restaurants. I like that.

But what kept me coming back, was their minestrone soup. If it wasn't for that, then I wouldn't suggest going there so often. It's not real expensive, but dinners are pricey all the same. We even bought a gallon of minestrone soup to bring home from time to time. Now THAT is Pricey! But man, it was good!

I've got my own recipe now. Taste very close to theirs, and is much cheaper to make.

Don't be daunted by amount of ingredients or herbs. It's easier than it looks.

Here goes...

My version of "like" Olive Garden's Minstrone Soup.

4 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 1/4 cups minced white, or yellow, Onion (about 2 small to medium onion)

1 to 1 1/2 cup chopped bite sized Zucchini ( 1 medium, or 2 small) Seeded with spoon, if needed.

3/4 to 1 cup, frozen, or fresh, bite sized cut Green Beans

1/3 cup minced Celery (about 1/2 stalk)

5 teaspoons minced garlic (about 5-6 cloves)

1 quart vegetable broth. Swanson boxed broth is good ( *Note: Do not use chicken or beef broth the first time!)

2 (15 ounce) cans Light Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed

2 (15 ounce) cans great northern Beans, drained and rinsed. (I use yellow eyed beans, cooked at home. Very mild)

1 (15 ounce) can diced, or stewed, Tomatoes, drained

1/2 cup Carrot, (Julienned or shredded)

2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh Parsley (if you have it)

2 teaspoons dried Oregano

2 teaspoons Salt

3/4 teaspoon ground Black Pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried Basil

1/3 teaspoon dried Thyme

3 or 4 cups hot Water

5 cups fresh Baby Spinach

1/2 to 3/4 cup small Shell Pasta


1 Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.

2 Saute onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini in the oil for 6-8 minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent.

3 Add vegetable broth to pot, plus drained tomatoes, beans, carrot, hot water, and spices.

4 Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

5 Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

Makes about ten 1 1/2 cup servings, or 5 big bowls for normal folks. LOL
A bowl of this with a sandwich, make a great winter meal! And it is CHEAP! Easy to make and taste wonderful!

You don't have to be exact on ingredients,
other than spices and herbs the first time.
But try to stay close to recipe as you can. After that, you can adjust it to your personal liking. No set rules for minestrone. More tomato taste? Then don't drain then.
You can use beef or chicken stock as well, but it won't be like Olive Gardens version.
I plan to use hen of the woods duxelle next time. That would go well with this.

Try this recipe closely first. Then you can adjust to your liking.

If you like Olive Gardens Minestrone Soup, you'll like this too. It's VERY close to it.

*Note:* I found that we liked it better the second day. Either the dried basil or oregano was not cooked enough after just a few minutes of cooking. Tough, chewy flakes in our teeth. Tasted good, but annoying. Yep, anytime after the first day was best tasting.


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