¼cupgrated parmesan cheesesprinkled in individual bowls
Instant Pot Method
Turn on Saute and wait 30 seconds for the pressure cooker to get hot. Add olive oil, chopped onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, black pepper, bay leaf and salt. Saute for 2 minutes.
Add celery, carrots, zucchini, drained beans, diced tomatoes and puree and broth. Stir well. Add pasta and water and give it a stir. Cancel saute.
Close the lid in place on sealing mode. Select pressure cook or soup mode for 3 minutes. After the cooking time is up, wait 5 minutes for the pressure to release naturally. Follow the quick release instructions of your cooker model to release remaining pressure. Open the lid when the pressure pin drops.
Pull out the bay leaf and check for seasoning. Stir in baby spinach. Let the pot rest for 4-5 minutes until the spinach wilts down. Serve in bowls and garnish with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Preheat a heavy bottom pot on medium-high heat. Follow the instructions above and once you add all the ingredients for soup, bring it up to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot and cook for 10-12 minutes. Uncover, add spinach and serve warm with grated parmesan cheese.
Substitute Italian seasoning with dried herbs. If you don't have an Italian seasoning blend on hand, use 1 teaspoon dried basil + ½ teaspoon each dried oregano and dried thyme.
Skip the red pepper flakes, if desired. The recipe written has a slight kick of spice. Use half the quantity or omit for mild.
Keep salt content in mind. I use a low-sodium vegetable broth, so 2 teaspoons of salt was the right seasoning for me. If regular vegetable broth is all you have, start with 1 teaspoon of salt and adjust from there. Account for the saltiness from parmesan cheese garnish when adjusting seasoning.
Use two small cans or one large can of diced tomatoes. I like the consistency I get with a mix of one 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes and one 15-ounce can of tomato puree. Feel free to use one 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes instead and puree half of it. You can use it as-is, just note the soup will be slightly thinner.
Use whole grain or regular elbow macaroni. Whole grain adds fiber, nutrition, and a nutty flavor. Regular elbow pasta or any small-shaped pasta (such as ditalini) would work here.
Adjust the water based on your desired consistency. Start with 1 ¼ cups and cook as mentioned. Feel free to add more water near the end of cooking for a thinner consistency. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.
Serve with grated cheese on top and on the side. I always grate extra cheese to have at the table for sprinkling.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The minestrone is great for lunch or dinner. Simply reheat leftovers in a microwave-safe bowl (tented with a paper towel) in 30-second increments in the microwave, stirring in between, until warmed through.
Freeze for up to 3 months. Simply omit pasta, spinach, and parmesan cheese. Cool completely, transfer to an airtight container, label, date, and freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge, reheat over medium heat on the stove, and add cooked pasta. Add the spinach at the end just as you would in the recipe.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.