This chunky, meal-in-a-bowl soup is the ultimate, satisfying healthy dish. Le Chef’s Wife Minestrone recipe is a staple for freezer meal batch cooking.
1 lb Ground beef ( as lean as possible )
4 Carrots, chopped
1 small box of mushrooms ( button or Cremini), chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 zucchinis, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bag of fresh green beans, chopped with the tips removed
4-5 roma tomatoes, Chopped (cherry tomatoes or hot house tomatoes also work fine, use what you have!)
3 big yukon potatoes, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 14-oz cans of Kidney beans
2 cloves garlic
A big bunch of Basil ( or a few tablespoons of pesto)
12 cups of water
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon Chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
Ground Pepper (3 turns of the pepper mill)
The first thing I do is chop all of my ingredients first. I have adapted the concept of “la mise en place” from my husband’s professional kitchens, it is the best way to reduce the stress out of cooking, especially when you have a little one. I can chop all of the ingredients at my leisure and then I only start cooking over heat when I can just toss the ingredients in.
You will want to keep your chopping style relatively coarse for this soup. I like to see nice juicy chunks of the ingredients in each spoonful, don’t you?
First, Drizzle olive oil in to your big soup pot. Heat over medium- high heat.
Add the chopped garlic and onions and stir them around until they become translucent.
Add in the ground beef and brown, stirring frequently.
Add in the celery and the carrots until they start to sweat and the flavors begin to stick to the bottom of the pot. Pour in 8 cups of water to deglaze the pan.
Now we can add in the chopped potatoes, zucchinis, cauliflower, fresh tomatoes and the canned diced tomatoes as well as the salt, pepper and chili flakes.*
Bring soup up to a boil, add the bouillon cubes, and then turn the heat down to medium.
Allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Check the liquid level in the soup. Add the remaining 4 cups of water. You will want the ingredients to be generously covered with broth, but not too much. Add more water as needed
I like to add in the mushrooms, kidney beans and green beans last so that they do not get mushy. Throw them all into the pot with the chopped basil or pesto and then set the timer for another 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
If you have a rind of parmesan kicking around your fridge, add that in the pot while it is simmering, it will give off a rich flavor.
Once the 30 minutes are up, check that the potatoes and the green beans are cooked the way you like them and then you are ready to serve.
I love to grate aged parmesan over my soup, it feels as satisfying as if you are eating a big bowl of pasta but it is really just stock full of veggies!!
Once the soup has cooled down considerably, I pull out my storage containers. I use a big one to keep a family sized portion of soup in the fridge to be used in the next few days but I also use individual sized containers that are ideal for freezing. I fill up these bowls with just the right ratio of veggie chunks to liquid so that each container makes a perfect bowl of soup. These are labeled and stored in my freezer to be taken out whenever I need a quick meal for just myself, or I can take out a couple if it is for my family.
Baby Led Weaning Notes:
*Since having my daughter I have modified this recipe so that she can eat it too. By not adding the chili flakes and additional pepper or salt during cooking, this soup becomes a great baby led weaning meal for my daughter. I use a slotted spoon to serve her just the veggies and meat (without the extra liquid) in her little bowl. Once it is cooled, she will eat Every.Single.Veggie out of that bowl with her fingers. It is a beautiful thing to see! She loves the ground beef and tomatoes too.
Batch cooking suggestions:
Keywords: soup, soup recipe, minestrone, healthy meal, freezer meal, batch cooking, family meal, vegetable soup