Sunday, October 27, 2013

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

Let's be honest: the best part about Olive Garden is the breadsticks.  But a very close second best thing is the minestrone soup.  Hearty, healthy, full of vegetables in a salty tomato broth... delicious (especially when you use a breadstick to sop up the last few drops!... okay I need to make the breadsticks next).  Rachael and Alex especially love Olive Garden and go there frequently; Rach rarely asks for specific recipes from me, so when she requested the OG minestrone, I agreed to check it out, especially since I love the soup as well.  I found a copycat recipe from key, which isn't a site I was familiar with, so I was a little nervous.  Luckily, there was no need to worry.  This soup is absolutely delicious.

It's chock full of lots of vegetables, from frozen green beans to zucchini to 2 types of beans to celery to carrots to baby spinach... and that's not all of them.  This is no thin little chicken noodle soup; this thing is a meal in and of itself, and a healthy one at that.  The broth is flavored with fresh parsley and dried basil, oregano, and thyme, so even without all the veggies, it is popping with flavor.  Add pasta shells to the mix and you have a truly excellent soup.

Rachael, queen of the OG, agreed that the soup was delicious and dubbed it the best thing I ever made; she said it was very close indeed to Olive Garden's recipe.  My whole family loved this soup; it makes a pretty big batch (8 1 1/2 cup servings) but we ate it all happily for dinner and brought it for lunches all week long.  I will be making this soup again - soon, if Rachael has any say in the matter!  If you've been looking for a go-to minestrone recipe, you've just found it.


Olive Garden minestrone soup
from Key Ingredient
yield 8  1 1/2 cup servings

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced white onion (about 1 small onion)
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup frozen cut Italian cut green beans
1/4 cup minced celery (about 1/2 stalk)
4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 15-ounce cans red kidney beans, drained
2 15-ounce cans small white beans or great northern beans, drained
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup carrot, shredded
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups hot water
4 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 small shell pasta


1) Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.

2) Saute onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini in the oil for 5 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 20 minutes.

5) Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until desired consistency.
Expect the biscuit recipe up next!

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