Winter Minestrone with Parsley Pesto

Simultaneously hearty and healthy, this delicious gluten free minestrone soup features winter vegetables and a perky (optional) parsley pesto.

Winter Minestrone with Parsley Pesto

Home-cooked beans and winter vegetables elevate this healthful standby soup, while the optional pesto lends a hit of brightness. You’ll need to soak the beans in water overnight before you cook them, and instead of adding the macaroni to the pot, add it to the bowls at serving time (delicate GF pasta may break down otherwise).
Servings 8 people
Calories 348 kcal


  • 1 cup dried cannellini beans soaked overnight and drained
  • 1⁄2 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄2 onion plus 1 1⁄2 cups small-diced onion
  • 1 celery stalk halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 1-1⁄2 cups cleaned and small-diced leeks
  • 1-1⁄2 cups peeled and small-diced celery root
  • 1-1⁄2 cups peeled and small-diced carrots
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 bunch kale center ribs removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1-1⁄2 cups diced cabbage
  • 1 2 1⁄2 by 3-inch rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
  • 3 cups cooked gluten-free elbow macaroni such as Ancient Harvest quinoa elbows
  • 1 recipe Parsley Pesto see below


  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, combine 6 cups cold water with the beans, 1⁄4 cup of the oil, the onion half, the celery, and bay leaf and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, about 2-1⁄2 hours. When the beans are just about cooked, season with salt to taste. Discard the onion, bay leaf, and celery and set the soup base aside.

  2. In a large heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the remaining 1⁄4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, rosemary, and pepper flakes, stir well, and let cook for 1 minute. Stir in the leeks, celery root, carrots, and diced onion. Let the vegetables sizzle for a moment in the oil, then lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and are slightly translucent, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and juices, the reserved beans and soup base, the kale, cabbage, and cheese rind. Add 8 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for approximately 1 1⁄4 hours, until the flavors have melded and the vegetables are soft.
  3. To serve the soup, place 1⁄3 cup elbow macaroni in each bowl, top with a ladle or two of soup, and garnish with pesto at the table.
Nutrition Facts
Winter Minestrone with Parsley Pesto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 348 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 10g
Sodium 129mg6%
Potassium 901mg26%
Carbohydrates 45g15%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 5160IU103%
Vitamin C 25mg30%
Calcium 139mg14%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Parsley Pesto

This classic soup garnish can also top pasta. Store it covered in the fridge for two weeks.
Servings 1 cups


  • 2 cups packed parsley leaves
  • 2⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic peeled and smashed
  • 1⁄4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Place the parsley, oil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor or blender. Process until a loose paste forms. Stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe: Niki Ford

Photographer Alanna Taylor-Tobin

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