Any-Vegetable Minestrone

What looked good at the market? Kale, squash? Great! Use them. Cabbage, chard? Great! Use those instead — or also. As long as the vegetables are good, the soup will be great.

kitchen gear

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife (adult needed)
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large heavy-bottomed pot with lid



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced, with a handful of celery leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 4 cups diced or shredded vegetables (combination of potatoes, cabbage, chard, kale, spinach, squash, and parsnips
  • 1⁄2 cup barley or brown rice (or 1–2 cups cooked, leftover grains or pasta)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups cooked beans (garbanzo, pinto, black, red, or white) or one (15-ounce) can beans, drained
  • Olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnishing



  • Put the pot onto the stove and turn the heat to medium. When the pot is hot, add the oil.
  • Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until they are tender.
  • Add the garlic and remaining vegetables and cook, stirring once, until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the barley or rice, broth, and water, then simmer the soup, covered, until all the vegetables are cooked and the barley or rice is tender, about 45 minutes.
  • Add the beans (and the cooked grains or pasta, if you’re using them), simmer another 15 minutes, then carefully taste the soup. Does it need salt? Add a pinch if it does.
  • Serve garnished with a teaspoonful of olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.


Use frozen corn and/or peas for some of the vegetables, and add them when you add the beans.

We think of celery leaves as a free bonus herb that comes with our bunch of celery! Chop them up and add them to whatever dish you’re using the celery in. They add tons of flavor. 


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