Beef Tortellini Minestrone

I love Minestrone! It’s healthy, it’s comforting, it’s hearty, and it’s easy! You can make it so many different ways, with so many different ingredients. It all depends on what you have in your pantry and what your family likes.  This week I’m using beef tortellini as a combined pasta-and-protein ingredient because it was on sale in the flyer and reminded me that it exists and is great in soup.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4-6 people

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of small-diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup small-diced celery
  • 1/2 small onion, small diced
  • 1 14-oz can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 cups garden cocktail
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 3 Tbsp Italian seasonings
  • 1 350g package beef tortellini
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 zucchini, finely diced
  • Red chili flakes
  • Parmesan cheese

Preparation

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, and onions, and cook until onions are lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add in beans, garden cocktail, beef broth, and Italian seasonings. Stir well.
  3. When it comes to a low boil add in the beef tortellini and cook according to package directions, usually 8-10 minutes.
  4. When the tortellini is cooked, stir in the baby spinach and turn the heat down to low.
  5. Ladle the soup into soup bowls and top with the finely diced raw zucchini, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese.  Serve with Garlic Bread on the side.

Tips

  • Topping the soup with the finely diced raw zucchini allows the zucchini to maintain its firm texture and adds a fresh, bright texture to the soup.
  • As always, I use no-sodium or low-sodium products when possible, but the Garden cocktail and the Italian seasonings have salt in them.  Please taste as you cook so you can add salt and pepper as necessary to suit your tastes.
  • Almost any type of beans can be used here, although I would not recommend black beans, which have more of a Mexican than Italian sensibility.
  • If you don’t have tortellini on hand, you can substitute any small-cut pasta (e.g., macaroni, orzo, ditalini, small shells), and an alternate protein, like ground beef, meatballs, or Italian sausage.
  • It’s really easy to make this soup vegetarian or vegan: Switch out the beef stock for vegetable stock, and use plain pasta instead of the tortellini. For vegans, omit the Parmesan cheese topper.

If you give this recipe a try please share your results and post a picture in the comments section.  And let us know if you made it as-is, or if you made any modifications to suit your family’s needs and tastes.

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