No one does soup quite like Italy and minestrone has always been one of my favorite soups. When I found out that white minestrone soup was an option I immediately wanted to try it. I have nothing against tomatoes, but this soup sounded so hearty and refreshing at the same time.
So what makes it a “white” minestrone? Instead of a mix of beans there’s only white beans in this soup. There’s also no tomatoes or dark color broths. There is a bit of green color from the celery, green beans, and fennel in the soup, but the base is a creamy color.
The fennel adds a complexity to the soup that makes it taste garden fresh- even though I used frozen green beans. Be sure to save a bit of the fennel fronds for a garnish on top of each bowl. These delicate greens look like dill weed, but taste like fennel and add a lot of zing here.
In addition to the veggies in this soup, the spices also make this a stand out dish. To add to the fresh fennel flavor this recipe calls for ground fennel seeds. I ground mine fresh in the mortar and pestle since that gives the most potent flavor.
If you don’t like fennel I’d double the celery and Italian seasoning and leave out the fresh fennel and fennel seed. Speaking of substitutions I used ditalini pasta for the soup, but you can use any short pasta you like here: stars, spirals, mini penne, shells, the choice is yours.
The basic recipe is vegan friendly, but I like to add some parmesan on top to add even more flavor. You could also use romano or cheddar if you wanted. And as with other Italian soups if you happen to have the rind of some parmesan, romano, or even some manchego you can throw it in the pot to flavor it. Just dig it out before serving.
This soup is hearty enough for dinner, but it also makes a wonderful lunch. If you love soup like I do then having another tasty recipe like this white minestrone soup means more easy, one-pot meals to enjoy.
White Minestrone Soup
20m prep time
30m cook time
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, diced
- 3/4 cup frozen or fresh chopped green beans
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 6 oz pasta shells, ditalini, or other short pasta
- 1 (14 oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- chopped fennel fronds, to taste
- parmesan cheese, for topping
- Heat olive oil in stockpot over medium heat. Add celery, onion, fennel bulb, and green beans. Cook for 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic, fennel seeds, onion powder, and garlic powder and cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute, then add stock, water, pasta, beans, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Bring to low boil and cook for 14 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Use a metal stick blender to pulse the mixture a couple of times to make it creamy and white. Or spoon a few ladles of soup into a heat proof blender or food processor and pulse, then return soup to pot and stir.
- Serve with chopped fennel fronds and parmesan cheese if desired.
Recipe adapted from Ricardo Cuisine.