Tamar Adler's Minestrone Soup

A flexible and delicious minestrone from Tamar Adler.


  • 1 cup each diced onion, carrot, celery, leek and/or fennel
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup total of any combination of fresh parsley, basil, thyme or marjoram
  • 2-3 cups total roughly chopped greens kale, collard greens, spinach, watercress, Swiss chard, mustard greens, escarole, cabbage
  • 1/2 cup whole tomatoes, chopped or canned tomatoes drained, but save the juice
  • optional: 1/2 - 1 cup chopped root vegetables
  • 2-6 cups cooked beans
  • a rind of Parmesan
  • 8 cups liquid any combination of bean broth, stock, tomato juice from tomatoes
  • 1 cup small pasta


  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion, carrot, celery, leek, fennel and garlic and cook, stirring, until tender.
  • Stir in the red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute.
  • Add the herbs, greens, tomatoes, root vegetables, beans and cheese rind. Add liquid (bean broth, stock, etc.) and simmer 45-60 minutes, stirring periodically.
  • Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
  • Serve the soup and garnish with grated Parmesan and/or pesto, olive tapenade, a dollop of ricotta or just chopped fresh parsley.