Minestrone soup

In most recommended, recipe on January 24, 2011 at 8:17 am

Alice Waters is the undisputed reigning queen of California cuisine (read: fresh, local, and seasonal). In fact, she’s pretty much the face of healthy eating everywhere. I swear I read her name in every article about Ways to Eat Now. Maybe there’s just an Alice Waters robot out there who provides quotes automatically and the real Alice Waters is actually off questing delicious produce.

I have been lucky enough to eat at her Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse (the cafe, though, not downstairs), and what sings through her cooking is that freshness. Everything has a zest to it, even when ingredients are prepared very simply.

For whatever reason, I’ve never really been drawn to her recipes in my own kitchen. Mad has her book The Art of Simple Food, and I’m going to blame the fact that the hardcover copy is just too darn pretty to cook with (I get nervous about pretty cookbooks. How will they look when they’ve had close encounters of the oil kind?!). But during cleanse week, I was looking to branch out, soup-wise, and came across her minestrone recipe.

Wow. Wow wow wow. I didn’t expect that it would be that good, especially when you are used to eating Campbell’s very tomato-y kind. This is a fresh, almost tangy minestrone.

Despite having consciously made a grocery list that same day, I didn’t have some of the ingredients she used, so I’m writing mine up with how I did it.

Minestrone soup
Adapted from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food

  • 1 can cannellini beans*
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsps. salt
  • 3 c. water
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 c. vegetable broth
  • 2 c. baby spinach, washed and chopped
  • Parmesan and olive oil (for garnish)
  1. In large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium flame. Cook onion and carrots for 10 minutes, or until soft and fragrant.
  2. Add garlic, thyme, bay leaf and salt. (Make sure to add as much salt as the recipe calls for! I wouldn’t normally but it really brings out the flavors). Cook another 5 minutes, stirring.
  3. Add water and let boil. Then add celery and tomatoes. Let simmer for another 10-15 minutes, then add broth and spinach. Cook another 5 minutes, until everything is heated.
  4. Fish out the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs. Serve with Parmesan and olive oil drizzled on top, with a nice hearty piece of bread.


*Alice suggests cooking the beans and retaining the bean water. I only had time to use canned beans, so I used veggie broth instead. If you cook your own beans, add the bean water instead of the broth.

  1. This looks both tasty and easy – super recipe, thanks for sharing. Alice is such an inspiration! You might consider shaing it further on hte Decidedly HEalthy or Horridly Decadent blog hop & reach a few more folks http://ceodraiocht.wordpress.com/decidedly-healthy-or-horridly-decadent-blog-hop/
    Thanks for sharing!

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