Better than Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

This copycat minestrone recipe is even better than Olive Garden!

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I absolutely love minestrone soup!  I love the colorful, fresh ingredients and how warm and satisfying it is.  Last week I went to Olive Garden with my husband for a spontaneous mid-week dinner date.   I’ve been craving minestrone soup ever since!  This homemade version turned out even better than the restaurant’s.  I made a huge batch and now I have lunch for the week.  I always cook fresh pasta shells when I re-heat the soup so they’re always al dente and never mushy.

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced white onions
1/4 cup chopped green beans
1/4 cup chopped zucchini
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 cloves minced garlic
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 can red kidney beans
1 can great northern beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 cups roughly chopped baby spinach
Small shell pasta or macaroni, cooked separately

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Chop vegetables so that they are small enough to fit on a spoon.  Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat.  Add onion, green beans, zucchini, celery, and garlic and saute until onion is cooked, 5-10 minutes depending on your pan and size of vegetables.

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Drain beans and rinse well with cold water.

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Add broth, carrots, beans, tomatoes, water, and dried spices and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

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Roughly chop baby spinach.

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Add spinach and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

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During the final 20 minutes of simmering time, cook pasta until it’s al dente.  Only cook enough pasta for the soup you will be eating immediately.

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Taste soup to see if vegetables are soft.

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When the soup is ready, spoon cooked pasta into soup bowl(s). Ladle soup over pasta and mix.

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Split leftover soup into single serving freezer containers to enjoy later.  Cook fresh pasta when you re-heat soup to avoid mushy noodles.

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