51. Freeze Ahead Minestrone Soup

Minestrone -- the quintessential Italian soup. This is one of the few make-ahead soups that can be considered perfect for all seasons. It's also light (if you use defatted stock) for the health conscious and is perfect for using up fresh produce from your summer gardens. Minestrone tastes best when given a chance for the flavors to blend at least overnight, making this a great make-ahead dish. To keep the veggies fresh and flavorful, they are added just before serving.


1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
5 cups chicken stock
14 oz canned chopped tomatoes (or fresh garden tomatoes, stewed with seeds removed)
16 oz canned red kidney beans
For last minute prep:
1 cup packed, chopped escarole
1/4 cup orzo or ditalini pasta
1/ cup sliced (1/2" pieces) fresh green beans
1/2 cup diced fresh zucchini
Freshly shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

Make Ahead Prep:

In a medium saucepan over mean heat, saute the onions, celery and carrots in the heated olive oil for approx. 5 minutes or until very lightly browned. Add the garlic and continue to cook for approx. 1 minute stirring constantly to ensure that the garlic does not brown.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes (with the juice) and kidney beans. Bring to a boil over high heat and let boil for one minute. Remove from heat and let cool.

When fully cooled, transfer to a freezer-safe container leaving at least 1" of headspace. Cover. Freeze for up to one month.

Last Minute Prep:

The night before serving, transfer soup in its container to the refrigerator to defrost.

Put the soup back into a 3-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add in the escarole and orzo or ditalini pasta. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add in the green beans and zucchini. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the green beans are tender but not soggy.

Serve topped with freshly shredded parmesan or fresh basil leaves. Great with a side salad and slice of crusty, grilled Italian bread.

More soup and stew recipes.


  1. This was super tasty! Both my family and the family I cook for enjoyed it very much. Here's my post about making it:

  2. Hardly vegetarian if it has chicken stock in it.

    1. My apologies. You are absolutely correct and I will change that shortly.